Daily Podcast: Save Enough Money And…

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast save enough money and

you'll go broke. This was my father's admonition to my mother whenever she returned from the sales, triumphantly proclaiming she'd saved vast quantities of cash. He was right, of course, the spoilsport. Comparing what you would have have spent with what you actually spent might make you feel better, but the real comparison lies between what you spent and what you can afford. My father's words returned to me as I read "Lutz: Astra a Huge Cost Saver" [ Automotive News, sub]. In this erstwhile piece of automotive journalism, GM Car Czar Maximum Bob Lutz claimed that importing the Opel Astra saved Saturn about $900m in development costs. Given that Lutz admits that GM spent $100m Americanizing the Astra (which didn't stretch to additional cupholders or a center armrest), does this mean it costs GM a billion dollars to develop a compact car? (Someone should tell Telsa.) Also, does the money that GM didn't spend on the Astra figure into the calculations that Maximum Bob uses to assert that the Belgium-built hatchback will generate a profit for his employer? We're talking about a product that will sticker stateside for $15,995 to $18,495 (absent discounts and incentives). Automotive News didn't say. Which is why TTAC has a place in this world.

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  • Speedbrakes Speedbrakes on Dec 18, 2007

    With GM's massively bloated infrastructure is really a surprise that the Astra incurred 100M in developement costs? It seems as if GM is competeing with the Pentagon to see who can blow more cash on program oversight. 3 trillion dollar F-22 anyone? How about a V-22 at 80M an aircraft? At least the Astra appears to have some level of chasis dynamics and handling ability. Oversights like the lack of armrests and twelve hour clocks surely will be fixed by 09. The possibility that Mr Lutz did indeed save GM 900M in R&D costs speakes volumes to just how deep the problems may be. Oh boy.

  • BlueBrat BlueBrat on Dec 18, 2007

    Who is Telsa?

  • Blautens Blautens on Dec 18, 2007

    BlueBrat - It's a major city in Oklahoma, I think....

  • Donal Donal on Dec 18, 2007

    Telsa is Tesla - the $90K sports car EV that looks exciting, but isn't available yet.