General Motors: The Road Ahead

Key aspects of the organization as it undergoes a major transformation. The competitive environment is tougher than ever, but the company has the opportunity to maintain its position through improved products, processes, technologies—and managerial positioning and decision-making.

Now you see it...

Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Tachi Lab (http://www.star.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp) have figured out a way to keep a car’s roof pillars from obstructing the driver’s view: they make them disappear.

From NUMMI to MIT to Ford to Hyundai: John Krafcik

The man who helped define “lean” is now helping Hyundai gain ground in the U.S. market by heading up the company’s Corporate Planning Div.

Extroverted and Specialized: Scion's Strategy

Scion's vp Jim Farley talks about the seemingly quirky brand that has made some in the industry who were initially shaking their heads in disbelief to look wide-eyed at the sales that are being racked up.

Easier ERP Implementation?

Historically, enterprise resource planning (ERP) has the reputation of being a project that takes longer to implement than the tenures of those who OK’d the implementation. Then in the face of the year-2000 crisis, ERP implementations became quicker and, dare say, somewhat easier. What happened?

Machining Gets Smarter

Machine tools that think? That’s the goal of an initiative that wants to make a quantum leap in machine intelligence.


Finding the Right Wavelength for Aging Eyes

Though car companies seems to be perennially transfixed by the youth market, there’s a lot more disposable income floating around among those who qualify for AARP membership than those who are paying off student loans.

Legends & Those in the Making

Auto Legends: Classics of Style and Design By Robert CumberfordPhotography by Michel ZumbrunnMerrell Publishers (www.merrellpublishers.com)288 pp.; $49.95The Car Design Yearbook 3: The Definitive Annual Guide to All New Concept and Production Cars WorldwideBy Stephen NewburyMerrell Publishers (www.merrellpublishers.com)288 pp.; $39.95Anyone who is passionate about cars probably surveys much of what is rolling on the roads today with a feeling of dismay giving rise to a dyspeptic sense (“Appliances!

Robotic Deburring for Toyota's F1 Team

The engines rolling out of the Toyota Motorsports shop in Cologne, Germany, for the Formula One racing team are undoubtedly processed with such care that Lexus engine manufacture looks somewhat slapdash by comparison.

Market Like Microsoft

If you accept that the folks at Microsoft probably know a thing or googolplex about marketing, and given that marketing is essential for moving products and even ideas within and without any organization, then it might be worthwhile for you to spend some time with The Marketing Playbook.

The Possible Future of Robots at VW

Robots have considerable potential for application in Volskwagen plants, according to Dr.

A Cellular Approach...to Recycling

“Our plant is set up in cells so that we can look at each load individually and re-arrange our processes to customize them to a specific material feed stream.” If it wasn’t for that last clause about “a specific material feed stream,” then that comment from Scott Johnson, president and CEO of Butler-MacDonald, Inc. (www.butlermacdonald.com; Indianapolis, IN) might sound like someone talking about their cellular manufacturing operation.

Simply Irresistible

Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers By Delivering What Matters MostBy Patrick Barwise and Seán MeehanHarvard Business School Press (www.hbpress.org)240 pp.; $24.95How often have you heard someone in the auto industry say, “Quality is the price of entry”? How many times have you read of still another product recall of hundreds of thousands of vehicles because of some flaw?


Marginal: The Industry

In this issue, we take a look at some aspects of General Motors, the company that is still the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world.

EuroAuto: Considering Diesel Catalysts

In the exhaust after-treatment business, Emitec GmbH (Lohmar, Germany; www.emitec.com) is a relatively small player when compared to the likes of ArvinMeritor and Faurecia, but it nevertheless punches above its weight by being innovative and pushing the technology boundaries.

On the Management Side: Dealing with Rule Breakers

When an employee breaks the rules, what should his or her boss do about it?It’s an important question because the answer can affect the employee’s future behavior, his department’s morale—even a company’s relationship with a union, if one is involved.Every manager, therefore, should review his disciplinary methods periodically to make sure they are producing the most constructive results.

Insight: The Importance of Innovation and New Product Development

As the number of vehicle variants proliferates and the demand for innovative vehicles and components grows, a company’s ability to successfully identify and launch new products has become one of the most important criteria for success.

Dudder: Six Predictions

Two things are guaranteed at the beginning of any year: (1) people make resolutions they promptly break; (2) people make predictions that don’t come to pass.