GM Forms New Hybrid Engineering Team. How Great is That?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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gm forms new hybrid engineering team how great is that

I'm sure plenty of auto bloggers and erstwhile reporters will hail GM's decision to form a new engineering group to "focus on hybrid vehicles, extended-range electric vehicles and battery technology." It's easy enough to see the development (reported by CNNMoney) as proof that GM has, finally, put its chips on the alternative propulsion (alt prop) table. But I'd like to raise the red flag here. GM already has a 500-member team working on the electric – gas hybrid Chevrolet Volt. GM already has another team working on the plug-in Saturn Vue. GM already has vehicle development teams for all its eight U.S. brands, spanning some 49 models. GM already has boffins in Germany working on their products. GM already has a hybrid development team in China. In theory, consolidating all these efforts under one Alt Prop Czar– Robert Kruse, executive director of vehicle engineering for hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries– makes sense. But the fact that GM says it will be "based" in North America, Europe and Asia tells me that this new GM fiefdom will struggle within The General's Byzantine bureaucracy and competition fiefdoms, floundering within a culture known for product paralysis and financial profligacy. Just sayin'…

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Jan 25, 2008

    Ok so nothing really changed? This is just an announcement of a new person for all the minions to have to report to. I thought Bob Lutz was intimately involved in seeing these new hybrids all the way to production. Seems like these guys are going the wrong way, they need to reduce the management bureaucracy not add more people and confusion to make it harder to get these things out.

  • KixStart KixStart on Jan 25, 2008

    I see two possible reasons for this: 1. It's just the Daily Announcement. With each Daily Announcement, GM further increase its lead in alternative propulsion. Or at least increases its lead in talking about alternative propulsion. 2. Maybe - and this is the preferred reason - certain individuals in top management are [s]being shoved out of the way[/s] being realigned in responsibility for the early alternative propulsion projects so the engineers can do their work [s]without having their morale eroded by counter-productive blather from the top[/s] with proper focus, priorities and incentives.

  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Jan 25, 2008

    "Why in 2007/2008 did it officially take GM the effort to create a dedicated hybrid engineering team, when in the early 90’s Honda & Toyota (much smaller companies at that time) developed theirs." In my opinion because back then GM's false sense of pride, made it impossible to acknowledge that they would follow Toyota or Honda's lead which led to them falling yet further behind. Hence the common refrain of hybrids are a fad from GM. They are not and that is why GM is in the predicament that they are in.

  • Jazbo123 Jazbo123 on Jan 25, 2008

    Well what did you expect them to do? This was the only way to add a new layer of GM management.