"Once in a while, when we don't score on the timeline we should have
scored on in terms of developing the car, we stop it. We stop design
and development of car and look at why is the customer telling us
it's good but not great," Mark Reuss, GM's incoming global product
development chief, told reporters at the Detroit auto show.
GM took this unusual step last year when it offered a mildly
restyled version of the Chevrolet Malibu in an effort to reverse the
prior 18 months of disappointing sales since the mid-sized sedan's
previous major redesign in early 2012.
Reuss has led the company's North American operations but this week
will replace incoming Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra as head of
global product development. He added there were "a couple of things
that I think need some help," but declined to identify which
vehicles he was discussing.
Reuss said the company still has plenty of room to cut waste and
cost in its product development operations even after the progress
it has already made.
"It's on the right course, but given more time … you're going to
keep making it better," he said.
There are also a lot of things GM can do to boost product rollouts
in Europe given the problems the automaker has faced in that region,
where it has lost money for 13 straight years including 2013, Reuss
[to top of second column]
While GM's design team is "firing on all cylinders," he said the
company needs to focus on launching vehicles strongly over the next
year. In the United States alone, GM will introduce 32 new or
refreshed vehicles over the next two years.
Two years ago, Barra talked about cutting $1 billion in engineering
costs, and Reuss said while progress had been made in that area
there were still plenty of opportunities to cut further.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit;
editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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