Hole In Roof Key To Mass Production Of Tesla Model 3?

NOV 28 2016 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 91

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, along with the company’s head of vehicle production, Peter Hochholdinger, have made repeated comments regarding Tesla’s ability to produce cars at a rapid rate. In fact, the company intends to make over a half million cars a year, and to eventually trump that of many major legacy automakers. It may all trace back to the design of the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Fremont assembly of Model 3 made easier with more roof access for automationj?

Tesla Fremont assembly of Model 3 made easier/faster (and for less) with more roof access for automation?

This is due to the way in which Tesla intends to handle production. The Fremont factory is surely capable of making a whole lot of cars, as was proven in the past by GM and Toyota. However, it seems that Tesla is talking about numbers much bigger. How will the company achieve record-setting production?

If Tesla wants to continue to prove itself and remain successful, the company really doesn’t have a choice. About 400,000 reservations for the Model 3 are sitting and waiting. Surveys and information show that there is a myriad of interest out there, probably well beyond the reservation holders. But, one of the biggest consumer concerns is the waiting … the timeline. And, of course there are still skeptics that don’t believe Tesla can pull it off.

The company needs to have all of its ducks in a row at the Gigafactory and with the new Model 3 line in Fremont. Assuring that everything is set to move forward, is not only a monumental task, but also extremely expensive. Nonetheless, Elon Musk and company continue to confirm that everything is on track.

Tesla Model S All Glass Roof

Tesla Model S All Glass Roof

“Building the machine that builds the machine” has been a key concept in how Tesla plans to reach its goals. Musk believes that automakers could be producing at 10 to 100 times more than they are today. He explained (via Gas2):

“The factory itself is considered to be a product. The factory is the machine that builds the machine. It actually deserves more attention from creative and problem solving engineers than the product it makes. What we’re seeing, if we take a creative engineer and apply them to designing the machine that makes the machine, they can make 5 times as much headway per hour, than if they work on the product itself.”

Larger openings = potentially more robotics

Larger openings = potentially more robotics

Musk also says that the Gigafactory, and eventually the Fremont factory and others, will work like a giant supercomputer, rather than a traditional manufacturing facility. Currently there are many facets of production that humans can achieve (or access) better than robots. If most of Tesla’s production will be automated, the company must have plans to solve this dilemma. Randy Carlson of Seeking Alpha speculates:

Tesla Model X Huge Panoramic Windshield and Falcon Wing Doors

Tesla Model X’s Huge Panoramic Windshield and Falcon Wing Doors

“…One innovation was a very large rear window extending forward to the ‘”B” pillar, eliminating the structural beam above the heads of rear seat passengers. This innovation increases rear seat headroom and at the same time reduces complexity of the design.

The big Model 3 rear window does something else, too. It creates a great big hole in the Model 3 design. A hole very conveniently located to allow robots an unobstructed reach into the Model 3 interior for installing carpets, wiring harnesses, sensors, seats, and the like.

Removing humans from the assembly line could surely be the answer to substantial production speed increases. Also, as Musk explained, the humans can focus on the machines (robots), rather than building vehicles.

A glass roof option is now available for the Model S, while the Model X already contains an enormous panoramic windshield, and the opening that house the Falcon Wing doors is massive. You can see from the photo (above) that if the windshield and doors were removed, cabin access is substantial. Let’s not forgot that Tesla also now has its own line of glass. Perhaps a signature for all of Tesla’s vehicles will be this type of design, affording the robot easy access.

Hochholdinger, who has had his hands in autos for quite some time, having been in charge of building vehicles for Audi for some 22 years, was thoroughly impressed with Tesla’s production practices. Earlier this year, he shared with the Men’s Journal about Tesla’s forward thinking advantage over other OEMs:

““The cars we build are about seven years beyond everything I’ve seen before, and it’s quite thrilling and exciting to be here and to be part of this car manufacturing group”

Source: SeekingAlpha, Gas2

Categories: Tesla

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91 Comments on "Hole In Roof Key To Mass Production Of Tesla Model 3?"

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Shhh… don’t tell anyone.

Why? Musk *wants* competition. He couldn’t be happier if every other automaker was building EVs the same way, or better than him.

Or even better, if they too were building nothing *but* EVs.

You didn’t get the reference (to the Secret Tesla Master Plan).

https://www.tesla.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-plan-just-between-you-and-me

That is his irony. What he meant was to join all other competitors into EV manufacturing.

Sorry for being slightly off-topic:

Can we request that various inflections of the verb “trump” be temporarily banned from usage for the coming 4-ish years, unless absolutely unavoidable?

Thanks,

Assaf

So much for freedom of speech. It’s always the left that wants to ban constitutional rights. However, I will continue to use Dump to describe the elected a-hole, contraction of Donand trUMP, and also describe what comes out of a-hole.

I prefer to make the ‘T’ silent in recognition of where his nest ides come from i.e. “tRump”
?

His actual family name is Drumpf. Here’s a funny bit on it from John Oliver. Skip to 18:50 for the Drumpf part.

Forgot to mention, you can install the “Drumpfinator” chrome extension here, that will automatically replace all “trumps” with “drumpfs” in your browser.

http://donaldjdrumpf.com/

Well that’s a Donald of a different color.

+1

I prefer to make the ‘T’ silent in recognition of where his best ideas come from i.e. “tRump”
?

I’ll go with Orange Birther Clown.

The only a-hole here is you Sparky, look in the mirror.

If think I’m the only a-hole, you’re delusional just like most Dump supporters. Look in the mirror while bent over; I’m sure you’ll see Dump.

LOL

You can ask all you like, but I think it would be better to resign yourself to the inevitability that this pun is likely to be repeated endlessly for the next four years. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s not eight!

Quick anecdote:
When I was growing up early last century, in what is now South Yorkshire (U.K.), in elementary school vernacular usage; “trump” = “flatulent incident” – or words to that effect.

I would be saddened to see the word go, as it has recently regained powerful meaning for me.

Banning the verb “trump” from usage won’t make InsideEVs great again. We need to stop derailing threads by >gratuitously whining about president-elect Trump. Hillary lost, move on. Complain when Trump actually does something that negatively affects EVs. To quote Hillary: “Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

FWIW, I find it Hillaryous that liberals want to limit our constitutional right to freedom of speech after their candidate for President lost, because it hurts too much to have to read or hear the winner’s name. 😀 It’s like the loser of a Presidential election not giving a concession speech on election night because it hurt too much to say the winner’s name.

But you are not the real “sven,” just an imposter who is trying to make him look stupid, remember?

Perhaps the other manufacturers already have robots that install stuff thru the doors.

Because not having a giant hole in the roof has kept other manufacturers from rolling out hundreds of thousands of cars per year………

I’m really getting sick of Elon’s BS excuses for his stupid design decisions. The model 3 doesn’t have a giant rear window to help improve manufacturing, it has a giant rear window because Elon thought it looked cool and pushed it through.

Same goes for the falcon wing doors, giant front windshield, self presenting front doors, and single post rear seat of the Model X. None of those are things that people asked for, or frankly, wanted. They add cost and minimize practicality. You know what people do want? Arm rests, sun shades, grab handles, and fold flat seats. Why is it that the Model S continues to get stylistic updates but simple / practical features that people want and expect from a $90,000 vehicle haven’t been added?

If Tesla produced ICE powered cars I don’t think Elon’s shenanigans would be tolerated.

I agree. Elon Musk fancies himself a “lead designer”. He should let trained engineers do the designing. Falcon wing doors made the Model X a disaster.

These So Called “trained engineers” could “never” Accomplish such a Design Task & make it work, Hence the reason No-one has Done It Before or after .ALSO…, Let’s Not Ignore the FACT that Musk Is an Accomplished “Rocket Scientist” The 1st to design a Rocket That delivered Several Payloads into Outer Space & Came Back to land on a “Postage Stamp Sized” Barge in the middle of the Ocean..Say what you will But..”MUSK IS NO F00L”

Actually, the more I use the X, the more I love the door designs and there has been no issues. I used to think they are over-complicated and unnecessary as well and still do to a small extent. However, they are convenient and cool so do have value and will likely keep the resale value high due to the uniqueness.

Musk is Stubborn,”HE WON”T GIVE UP” But very Knowlegible of what he’s doing. To Musk the words , “it can’t be done” Do Not Exist In his Vocabulary.((I admire That)) ..That is the REASON he is doing what N0 ONE has done Before Or even will do in the near future…Musk is Dedicated and Very “CAPABLE” And knows what he wants !

I hope we don’t end up at the Homer car.

Wut?

Andrew S said:

“I’m really getting sick of Elon’s BS excuses for his stupid design decisions.”

As jelloslug said: Wut?

Could it be that you’re just a tad envious of Elon over his successes and his wealth? Hmmm?

Elon hasn’t said a single thing about needing or using a large roof opening to allow robots to reach inside the car, let alone offering any “excuse” for it. That the large opening may have a reason for being — not an excuse — which isn’t obvious, is speculation by Seeking Alpha blogger Randy Carlson.

But at least Randy has a rational reason for his suggestion. You might consider following his lead on that.

So you think the Falcon Wing doors, automatic opening front doors, pedestal rear seats, and oversized windshield (with no built in sunshade) are great design decisions? Because as far as I can see you’ve got expensive and overly complex doors, front doors that will open into other cars, rear seats that keep the X from having a truly practical cargo bay, and a front windshield that exposes people to the sun whether they want to be or not.

How do you feel about the lack of overhead sunshade, rear arm rest, cupholders, side bin storage, and grab handles?

None of what I have to say is critical of Tesla’s mission to create a shift away from fossil fuels in the transportation sector. I just want Tesla to produce cars that will be able to compete once traditional manufacturers long range BEVs come online. So far, Elon has proven unable to produce a car with normal creature comfort features.

Exactly…

The only thing I can add is that, the fully optioned TESLA “S” is a nice car – which is why some people spend the money. But the ‘affordable’ under $80,000 ‘S’ is much too plain jane. I know everyone goes gaga over the smartphone on steroids in the car, but the rest of it I couldn’t justify since I wanted a model with few or no options, – I’ve test driven the car 3 times, and it just is not what I’m looking for.

If others swoon over the car, more power to them.

You’ve test driven it 3 times because you know that you want one. Come into the light, Bill…

Andrew Stump said:

“So you think the Falcon Wing doors, automatic opening front doors, pedestal rear seats, and oversized windshield (with no built in sunshade) are great design decisions?”

Is that what I said? No.

Nor was what you originally said in any way a response to anything Elon said about the large rear window in the Model ≡.

You might try actually responding to what someone else said, instead of putting words in their mouth.

Now, your rant wouldn’t have been at all out of place in response to many articles about the Model X. In fact, I agree that at the very least, some of the things you mention should have been options on the Model X, rather than standard equipment.

But your rant was out of place and completely off-topic for this article. Not to mention your rant started by assuming something that isn’t merely factually incorrect, it suggests you didn’t even bother to actually read the article before posting.

Don’t get your panties in bunch Pu-Pu. I think you subconsciously don’t like Andrew, because his last name rhymes with Trump. 😉

I once had a car that had a big roof plate thing like Elon Musk wants to have. The trouble is the thing leaked like crazy no mater how much we tried to fix it. The inside of the car also smelled bad.

I don’t really care about how fast they make the cars but I want a good quality care that won’t leak in the rain.

My first car was an East-German Trabant 601 from the early 60s, that had the plastic roof glued on. There was a small crimp on parts of it. The first of these, a P70 was built in the 50s. Western Germany had similar cars during that period. Nothing new here, Elon.
For the M3 I would rather have an insulated roof than a large window as a roof.

You know, there is a simple solution to your complaint.

Start your own car company, build your cars your way, and let the market decide which is more desirable.

I sent a note to Jay Cole a few weeks ago (November 3) about the Randy Carlson post on Seeking Alpha. Not that I generally recommend reading investor advocacy blog posts, but I found this to be a notable exception. It does seem strange to me if auto assembly robots need more working room than provided by an open door, or the hole for the windshield. But perhaps Randy is correct. And what he said about Tesla speeding up the assembly of its cars by eliminating human workers with faster-working robots does, for the first time, start to make sense of Elon Musk’s apparent nonsense about speeding up the production line, as if assembly was done while the car was moving down the line. Cars are assembled at various stations along the line; they’re not assembled while moving, as they were back in the days of the Ford Model T. A car body, or parts of it, are moved to a station, and they sit still at that station until all the work assigned to that station is done. Then they move to the next station; rinse and repeat until the car is finished. Taken at face value, it seemed… Read more »

“Cars are assembled at various stations along the line; they’re not assembled while moving, as they were back in the days of the Ford Model T. A car body, or parts of it, are moved to a station, and they sit still at that station until all the work assigned to that station is done. Then they move to the next station; rinse and repeat until the car is finished.”

Aaaaand right there is where I stopped reading.

Have you even BEEN in a modern car factory?

If you stop reading anytime you come across a general statement which might have a very few exceptions, then you must stop reading rather frequently.

And good luck finding any evidence that Tesla puts one or more of its assembly stations on extremely slow-moving “slidewalks”.

“All generalizations are false, including this one.” — Mark Twain

It hardly matters. There are multiply kinds of assembly systems. You can use a “glidewalk” as you say, or you can use auto-guided vehicles (little roving pedestals). In one case the car must stop in the other it doesn’t.

You can do it both ways. So the author may be right in the case he observed but wrong in general. Sure it means the author doesn’t know all that much about the auto business, but I kind of figure we all assume that anyway.

There is an average speed including stops as you suggest, but note there is no “average” time spent at a stop really. In a line all the vehicles have to move at the same speed. The line can only move as fast as its slowest station. If you can speed up the slowest station you speed up the whole line. But you can also just break up slow stations into two steps instead to regain the speed. That does add cost, but for a high-volume car it wouldn’t add as much as making roofs out of glass instead of steel would.

unlucky, thank you for your thoughtful post.

“But you can also just break up slow stations into two steps instead to regain the speed.”

Perhaps that is done, but what I’ve read is that increasing throughput is accomplished by adding the twin of a station on the slowest parts of the line.

And that’s another thing that, in my opinion, is wrong with Elon grossly over-simplifying the production process by treating it as a simple physics formula. The goal should be increasing throughput, not necessarily the average speed at which any one particular part or car body moves.

That’s another way to do it. You can split the line out and back together. With something small like a consumer device it’s pretty easy to do. With something like a car it’s harder to have the line split and come back together. So that’s not used as much in final assembly as in other types of production. But if you have the self-guided vehicles (moving pedestals) it becomes easier at least than if you have to reconfigure your line. I agree with you that measuring line by average velocity is weird. Even if you were do do math to compensate for line splits and make it work mathematically then I still think it is flawed. It’s just easier to go by parts (or product) produced per hour. Anyway, as long as Musk’s somewhat odd blue-sky comments about production are on top of also having the production people at the company work in the problem I don’t see a problem with it. It’ll be hard to reach their production goals under that one roof with the amount of in-house work Tesla likes to do. But I’m sure they know this too and are already figuring out the best they can… Read more »
unlucky said: “So that’s not used as much in final assembly as in other types of production.” It looks like you know more about this subject than I do, so I’ll take your word for it. I know that Tesla did split the line in some places but not others, to speed up production. I think that was done last year; was that shortly before the Model X went into production? But just because Tesla did it doesn’t mean it’s normal practice, and I don’t know if that’s still the case at Tesla. “Anyway, as long as Musk’s somewhat odd blue-sky comments about production are on top of also having the production people at the company work in the problem I don’t see a problem with it.” I whole-heartedly hope you’re right! But when Elon starts talking about cramming twice as many production lines into the Gigafactory as they originally planned for, that makes me quite worried, and that among other things is why I have suggested it’s time for him to step back and let someone else be CEO. “It’ll be hard to reach their production goals under that one roof with the amount of in-house work Tesla likes… Read more »

The glass roof is there to increase rear passenger comfort with the batteries still under the floor. Bonus for making it feel spacious with a panoramic roof. Extra bonus if it makes manufacturing process easier. The model s is known for its crappy rear seat, this is a way to make it better and keep a lower roofline.

More pros:
-I Believe glass is a reasonably cheap material (at least compared to aluminum).
-It is a relatively simple thing to assemble onto the car.
-Possibility of adding solar PV cells to it to generate some electricity.

Cons:
-May cause the car to heat up a lot when the sun is out thus causing more AC load.
-Make crack/break on relatively minor collisions.
-Potential leakage if not assembled well & with precision.

One more com: it will make the car very cold in the freezing temperatures. I’ve already thought of making some kind of aerogel headliners for mine. Time will tell, if they will be necessary.

Spray FlexSeal on it and call it done…..lol

And what’s the R value of Flex Seal?

Everyone knows the key to a happy file is pre-conditioning the climate of your vehicle from your phone to the optimal temperature prior to entering the car. I use this feature at least 4 times/day.

That won’t make glass any better of a heat insulator, so keeping the car warm will eat a lot of energy. Also even if the air in the car is warm, the glass will feel cold, if you’re tall enough to have your head any close to it. In my Ampera you need a hat in the backseat because of the glass close to the top of your head when it’s really cold, no matter what the heater setting.

speculawyer said:

“-I Believe glass is a reasonably cheap material (at least compared to aluminum).”

Custom-made large curved safety-glass windows are far from cheap. And the Model ≡ body will be mostly made of steel, not aluminum, to reduce cost.

I’ve read that a glass roof on a car is more expensive than a normal sheet steel roof. So far as I know, that’s true.

Robots are definitely going to be a part of auto production but I don’t think Tesla has discovered anything new. Here is an article from 2012 about how sensors are allowing robots to make any consumer electronic device. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/business/new-wave-of-adept-robots-is-changing-global-industry.html And here is a recent one about how car manufacturers are using “cobots”. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/31/ford-uses-co-bots-and-factory-workers-at-its-cologne-fiesta-plant.html

Most people think that US job losses in manufacturing are due to trade, but the fact is that 90% of those job losses are due to increased productivity in factories. Obviously this is a secular trend not likely to change anytime soon.

Yep. My company designs automation for a few different industries, and every time we put in a system or equipment, usually jobs are displaced.

On the bright side, we have been hiring like crazy. So those people just need to either adjust their skills, or increase their education. Then they can move onto new jobs that aren’t as back-breaking and probably pay more.

I worry that’s a pipe dream.

I was on a 6 person engineering team which wrote software which replaced 10k people.

The job they were doing payed well, and required little education. I don’t think all of them are destined to be software engineers themselves.

I think we need something like basic income to lick this.

Software is a whole different level of obsoleting jobs. What happens when we get sufficient algorithms from deep learning programs using gigantic databases? So many positions in customer service, data entry, etc. will all be obsolete.

At least with automation, we are doing a lot of the mindless, back-breaking work, much of which is in unhealthy environments.

Likewise, tech advancements in construction industry have eliminated skilled craftsman jobs in NYC by outsourcing construction work to lower wage countries. In trendy Williamsburg Brooklyn, Pod Hotel (a micro-room hotel chain) is building a 250-room hotel made of pre-fab room modules built in a factory in Poland and shipped to NYC by boat to be snapped into place like giant Legos.
http://www.fox5ny.com/news/220284368-story

A 32-story pre-fab apartment building is being assembled in downtown Brooklyn, but at least the pre-fab modules are being made locally at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When completed, it will be the tallest modular building in the world.
https://www.fastcoexist.com/3020237/new-yorks-newest-skyscraper-is-32-floors-of-prefab-apartments-that-click-together

Elon recently said that robots and automation will eliminate so many low skill jobs, that the government would have to institute universal welfare . . . err . . . “universal basic income.” Ain’t the future grand for the have nots?

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/18/elon-musk-says-robots-will-push-us-to-a-universal-basic-income-heres-how-it-would-work.html

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/04/elon-musk-robots-will-take-your-jobs-government-will-have-to-pay-your-wage.html

Maybe we’ll end up living in the movie WALL-E

Hey Americans under 30 get an education in STEM if you want employment in vehicle manufacturing. A high school diploma will not cut it anymore.

Tell that To That Jack Ass Bob Lutz….

Bob might want to consider retirement.

Yeah…

Salty Bob

Lately I’m staring to notice that a collage degree is worth less then 20,000 roles of toilet paper.

Now everyone wants a masters degree.

Yea, and an actual college degree isn’t worth much more than one of those collage degrees…

(sorry, I usually reserve correcting spelling errors to when somebody posts “your stupid” in response to one of my posts, but I couldn’t resist!)

Degrees in collage are a cut and paste nightmare.

Not to pile on to the many good comments here – they are constructive criticism. Yeah, Now everything is trump, or trumped instead of Disruptive, or Get Amped. – I think the original loose reference was actually amplify rather than ampere. But back to Mr. Musk: “…What we’re seeing, if we take a creative engineer and apply them to designing the machine that makes the machine, they can make 5 times as much headway per hour, than if they work on the product itself.” He’s got to be kidding – if the Model “X” is his ideal of progress. The first model “X”‘s sold to customers, even the $160,000 ones (and TESLA did indeed cash the check) were of such horrid build quality they would not possibly be accepted by the cheapest < $20,000 econobox. I think even the YUGO's were better than the first ones. Of course, they've had to make some quick changes, but If I had spent so much Cash on a car I'd expect they'd keep it at the factory until it at least met minimal standards… Now "Working on the product itself" is going to be a minor concern? Do not be surprised if the… Read more »

I did have 25 year old GM cars that had their original paint jobs and they still looked good.

I’m starting to think however that Elon Musk might not like humans.

I am a little baffled.

If Mr Hochholdinger is in charge of production, yet by his own admission implied that his previous stint at Audi is somewhat behind Tesla (like 7 years), then how is he going to help Tesla leapfrog to 500,000 annual production?

You don’t hire a coal plant guy to run a nuke plant, do you? Or perhaps in Tesla’s case, there’s nobody else better?

I would suspect Tesla has the DNA to sprout robotic automation and scale the basic manufacturing process. (Particularly after buying Gruhmann.) What Tesla needs is someone who understands what most Joe-average perceive as automotive quality. Look at the fit and finish of all Audi models. Cynically I feel like the next round of buyers aren’t early adopters of a low volume “rockstar” car. Instead they are (among others) the accountants and low level managers of the world who will buy and display what they think makes them look smart and what they believe puts them ahead of their likewise upper middle class neighbours. If the car doesn’t work 100 pct of the time or the panels do not fit perfectly, these people are uninspired enough by technology and their need to appear superior to their peers is so great that they will not accept any faults. The car could then be a commercial failure.

So yeah… perfectness needs to be job #1, hence the new hire. And please do not take offence as an EV entheusiast if you have a Model 3 reservation. I do too, but we have it for the right reasons. 🙂

Hole in the head is more like it.

I am all for the full pano roofs, but it will be interesting to see what they do with Model-Y.

This doesn’t really make sense. Robots can poke in through door and windshield openings just fine. It is possible that having another opening to poke through will allow another robot to peek in, but adding 1 robot to the 4 already possible at a station is only going to make a tiny difference in final assembly. You might get rid of 2 stations total (per line).

That’s not going to make a huge difference in final assembly. And unless your line is length-limited it won’t alter production rate at all. And finally Tesla’s biggest problems with making as many cars as they want to make are not going to be confined to final assembly.

This is a canard.

I don’t know if there really is any problem with space limitations in using robotic arms to install interior components inside a car. However, that aside, I see nothing wrong in theory with Randy Carlson’s hypothesis that Tesla is going to speed up production significantly by using fast-moving robots to replace human assembly line workers. In fact, having just watched a few auto assembly videos on YouTube, I can certainly see that there might be lots of room for improved speed… altho I seriously question Elon’s claim of a 5x improvement. In fact, his first claim along that line was a 5x or 10x improvement, and I think it’s noteworthy that he hasn’t repeated his 10x claim since. As I said, nothing wrong with that theory. But there are bound to be practical limits. When Elon talks about cramming twice as many assembly lines into the interior of the Gigafactory than originally planned, then I think he’s ignoring those practical limits pretty hard. The closer you crowd assembly lines, the harder it becomes to make future improvements. One reason factories become obsolete is because of lack of flexibility. GM’s Saturn assembly plant is a well-known example of that. Cramming things… Read more »

Actually, I think GM went bankrupt because of their banking practices”GMAC”, when the Big Banks took us all down.

We had a food store named U crops in my area that sank when one of the board members tried to get into banking and investments. The store went bankrupt even though it was a very busy store.

It really is shocking just how many businesses, and not just small ones, fail because of mismanagement by upper management. Sometimes people in charge of a company get an idea into their head for an “improvement” that turns out to be a disaster, and refuse to listen to any of their underlings advising them otherwise.

GM actually sold off the majority of GMAC in 2006, long before going bankrupt. In reality, GM was already facing bankruptcy in 2006 when they resorting to selling off a big chunk of GMAC to try and cover losses. GM went bankrupt for a multitude of reasons, and GMAC was only a small part of the problem. 1) They were riding a high on SUV/Pickup/Hummer profits when gas prices went through the roof in the mid-2000’s. They had pretty much abandoned their fuel efficient Chevy cars, and left that to their Saturn sub-brand. Their former cash-cow, Hummer, had to be shutdown due to the Hummer being the poster child for high fuel consumption. 2) Their Saturn sub-brand submarined on quality issues, and no-haggle pricing issues, and having their brand name collapse. People finally figured out that 22% profit margins on small cars (highest in the market sector) with plastic body panels was a rip-off. So sales dropped. Ultimately they had to shutdown Saturn completely. 3) Their luxury brands, Cadillac and Saab couldn’t pull their own weight. Saab couldn’t compete with MB, BMW, and Audi. It lost GM money and had to be shut down. Cadillac was suffering from a reputation… Read more »

Thanks for the informative post.

If the unions have their faults regarding the relative downfall of at least 2 of the big3, the beyond asinine management has a far bigger share of the blame. They should pay back the milluons thwy,ve got to take the seres of imbecile strategic decissions.

Well, all the German and Japanese companies have unions in their domestic factories, so the concept of a union isn’t the problem. Perhaps the things the UAW did though.

Nix does a good job detailing the challenges and chain of events that led GM (which not to long ago was the largest company in the WORLD) to bankruptcy.

However, one of the main structural reasons for GM’s weakened financial condition (that also helped precipitate its downfall) and also applies to all American businesses is the absolute INSANE costs of healthcare in the US compared to all of our economic competitors.

The US on average pays 250% more for the same level of healthcare as the rest of the developed world and these costs for both active workers and retirees is seriously eroding American competitiveness:

https://www.google.com/search?q=us+average+growth+in+healthcare+costs&biw=1920&bih=893&source=lnms&tbm=isch&tbs=qdr:m&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiFgMr79MzQAhWFJiYKHa5PBZgQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=N4gYywR6fKZWnM%3A

Before ObamaCare dramatically slowed the rate of growth in healthcare costs the US averaged about 5% every year:

http://www.factcheck.org/2015/02/slower-premium-growth-under-obama/

Even with this slowing of the rate of growth in costs the average American family spends about $25,000/year for their healthcare which is actually more then most people spend on rent or mortgage!

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/05/24/Cost-Health-Care-Average-American-Family-Now-Exceed-25000-Year

So as long as Americans and American companies have to spend significantly more then our competitors on healthcare we are at a serious economic competitive disadvantage:

http://www.cfr.org/competitiveness/healthcare-costs-us-competitiveness/p13325

Most Americans love sugar, illegal drugs, alcohol, fried foods, meat, and binge eating. Most Americans hate exercise, fruits and vegetables, and drinking water. How do you expect Healthcare costs to be decreased when most Americans will end up becoming obese diabetics?

Easily. A couple of examples: 1. Allow foreign vendors to compete in the American market for drugs — Canadian suppliers are far cheaper, and their quality is just as good. 2. Allow the government to control every single cost associated with health care. This would eliminate the flagrant price gouging that happens in hospitals and elsewhere… such as the price of an EpiPen two-pack going from $100 to over $600 for no reason other than the manufacturer deciding that since he had a monopoly, he would charge all the market will bear. * * * * * Japan’s health care system is much more affordable than our American system. The Japanese generally like it, and they don’t try to kick you out of the hospital until you’re ready to leave. Sure, part of the lower cost there is the fact that Japanese eat a more healthy diet and get more exercise. But a large part of it is that the government controls every price and fee associated with health care. In general, I’m all for capitalism and a competitive market. (Not a “free” market, which can lead to monopolies and price fixing; but a competitive market.) Unfortunately, experience has proven… Read more »

I prefer to eat healthy and exercise today than pay for expensive medications with horrible side effects into old age.

Up until I got a Volt, every car I owed had a sunroof. Then 3 years without one taught me how useless they are, how much heat/cold/glare they bring in, etc. When I turned in my Volt I had no more desire for a sunroof in its replacement and now I can’t see any reason to have one, or a full glass roof for that matter.

Much safer without one.

If you want to open up to the sky, a Convertible is the ticket.

Now I know why people stereotype EV owners and/or Tesla owners and their presumed politics and ideologies.

Very sad that people don’t allow a viewpoint that is different than theirs.

Precisely – only the editor, and a very few other sparse commenters ‘agree to disagree’ to their credit.

Agreed – I drive a Chevy Volt with a Trump bumper sticker. With a Model III on order I came here to read about increases in manufacturing efficiency. I actively supported Donald Trump during the campaign because he supports American manufacturing. I also believe Hillary was a tool of Arab oil. So I am actually perplexed by the bias.

Yeah Warren I too, although not being as much of a supporter as you, reluctantly voted for Mr. Trump. I didn’t want more BUSH/CLINTON crime families.

Unfortunately, Trump is talking nice to traitor Rudy G. and swindler Romney..

Besides going back on 8 of his campaign pledges…

But 2 of them I’m glad about:

1). No more JOHN YOO waterboarding – against the Constitution’s prohibition on “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” – historically Christendom has not done “Ghoulish and Devilish” Punishments.

2). He now accepts the deal with IRAN, seeing as there are too many other countries that want to see Iran get her property back.
A Christian does not condone theft.

It’s at this point that we should consider that the only Model 3s we’ve seen are essentially concept vehicles or VERY early prototypes at best. It will be interesting to see if these large openings remain after crash tests and road testing have been performed.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if large openings like those shown in the photo were practical, you’d see them on more vehicles. If you take metal out there, it will have to be added somewhere else which will further increase the weight of the vehicle above and beyond the obvious weight penalty for using glass instead of aluminum or steel.