UA-8086277

Home » Auto Manufacturer » Recent Articles:

Attending The 2006 General Motors Annual Meeting

December 5, 2011 Auto Manufacturer No Comments
GM Corporate Stockholder Meeting Photograph

GM Corporate Stockholder Meeting Photograph From 2011

GM Annual Corporate Meeting

General Motors Corporation has an Annual Meeting that is open to shareholders, once a year. From 1995 to 2010 the GM Annual Meeting was held in Wilmington, Delaware. Shown above is a GM Corporate photograph from the 2011 Annual Shareholder Meeting. In 2006 I attended the GM Annual Meeting in Wilmington, Delaware.

To Attend the GM Annual Meeting

To attend you have to be a stockholder and register to attend. Here is the sheet with all of the information you need to fill out and submit in advance. Shown in the graphic box is what you receive back. Note that cameras are not permitted.

GM Requirements To Attend Annual Meeting

GM Requirements To Attend Annual Meeting

The Audience

There were about 60 to 70 people in the audience. Maybe 1/3 were reporters. Some people were on the schedule to speak for a few minutes. And the rest in the audience, well we were there to experience something that we had not experienced before.

 GM Representaiton

The GM  Board of Directors was well represented and President Rick Wagnoner did most of the communication. It was all very GM Professional, which means that it was about as good as you expect it to be.

 The Reality

General Motors filed for bankruptcy three years after this annual meeting. Long before coming to the meeting some key ideas continued to run through my assessment of GM:

  • market share loss of approximately 1% per year
  • weak consumer image of product quality and integrity
  • challenge by the Japan 3 (J3) – Toyota, Nissan and Honda
  • challenge by the Koreans – Huyndai and Kia
  • Board Of Directors non-recognition of challenges on the horizon
  • too many brands and not enough great product

    Wards Automotive Production Data

    Wards Automotive Production Data

 

It was interesting to attend the Annual GM Shareholder meeting. Wilmington was probably far enough away from Detroit that only a small and dedicated percentage of shareholders would attend. No real hard questions surfaced associated with product, market share, and huge challenges on the horizon.

A Final Observation

After the meeting just about all of the GM Board got on the same elevator to exit the meeting. This seems symbolic for what was going to happen as I observed them entering the elevator.

GM Today

GM Today is not the same company it was. However, those five challenges identified above are still there today.

 

Millbrook GM European Proving Grounds

October 18, 2011 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

European Proving Grounds

Millbrook is a 700 acre facility about 40 miles north of London with test tracks and testing facilities for aerospace, military, vehicle production, driver training (Aston Martin), and real-time online vehicle tracking. Here is link to the Millbrook website.

Construction began in 1968 for a smaller version of the Milford Michigan proving grounds at Millbrook on the site of a former airfield. The facility replicated many of the most successful features of the Milford site and benefited from the accumulated wisdom of more than 50 years operation at the Milford proving grounds.

An Invitation To Visit

Automobile manufacturer vehicle test facilities are spectacular places to visit. About six months ago I had an invitation to visit the General Motors Proving Grounds and Track at Millbrook England.

Every Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM has very strict procedures for visitors. OEM’s use the test facilities to test cars and trucks before they go into production and OEM’s do not want photographs or other sensitive or proprietary information leaving the property.

You sign in and the security guard puts a special lift-off tape over cell phone cameras. Regular cameras can be left at security to be retrieved on exit. If this procedure sounds extreme, then just remember that it is their facility and you are the person with the invitation to walk through a very exclusive door.

My group was there associated with an advanced vehicle safety technology. We spent time in a number of areas including the crash test facility and the different dynamic test tracks. Millbrook has many driving surfaces, specific testing areas, and a highly professional staff handling many engineering projects for a number of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry.

The 2 Mile Long High Speed, Constant Speed Circuit Is Unique

One unique test track at Millbrook is the two (2) mile long High / Constant Speed Circuit. The banked oval permits the vehicle to go through the full two mile loop at speeds in excess of 150 mph. One remarkable feature are the “Neutral Steer Speed” lanes around the two mile track where, essentially, the car has neutral forces at 40, 50, 60, 75, and 100 mph. Millbrook Test Track, website brochure

Neutral steer speed means that, if the car is handling properly, you can take your hands off the steering wheel and the car will steer itself around the circuit at speeds up to 100 mph. This is a very unique test feature sort of like the banked race track all the way around for two miles.

Neutral steer speed also is very significant for vehicle forces on the engine and chassis of the car. At speed the track angle forces are balanced with the centrifugal forces on the vehicle so that fluids are effectively flat or level in the engine and the differential assembly. Another way to think about the fluids is that as the car tips on the slope gravity would pull the fluids down. Moving through the two mile oval at speed causes the fluids to be thrown outwards so on the high banked track the car can run 100 mph and all of the fluids are effectively flat in the car. This is vitally important for proper long distance testing and there are five constant speed lanes at 40, 50, 60, 75, and 100 mph.

Some of the other handling circuits include steep hill upgrades and downgrades, city handling circuit, steering pad, a precisely level one mile straightaway, driveway ramps, truck slopes, textured pavements, Belgian Blocks, traction control pavement challenge, water troughs, an extreme maneuver area, and off-highway test area.

Millbrook operates 365 days per year and 24 hours per day. The Test Track booklet identifies 49 different testing on-highway and off-highway testing surfaces.

James Bond & Driver Training

With high security and unique features it becomes clear that Millbrook would be a great facility for some movie footage. James Bond has been here.

Aston Martin has a driver traing program that is conducted at the facility. If you get a new car be sure and ask for the invitation to the Millbrook driver training facility.

 

Great Facility and Great Staff

Millbrook is one of Europe’s leading locations for the development and demonstration of every type of land vehicle, from motorcycles and passenger cars to heavy commercial, military and off-road vehicles with their staff of 300.

It was a real pleasure to spend a day at Millbrook.

Auto Battlefront 2011

2012 Ford Focus

Cruze, Focus & Elantra, The 2012 Models

King Kong vs Godzilla vs Smog Monster — An epic battle is in the works for 2011 and it is definitely not some of my favorite from the classic 1950-1960’s sci-fi mega-characters.

Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra are the three 2012 models that are on the front line of the 2011 car market.  They are all great passenger sedans that can get 40 miles per gallon in Standard (Elantra) or Eco versions (Cruze & Focus).

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Something significant is going on with these three cars.  They offer comfort, luxury, perfornce and fuel economy.   They finally represent an opportunity for the American Consumer to get a high quality smaller car that gets very good economy.

40 MPG is the New 30 MPG

With today’s gas prices heading into orbit then lots of MPG sounds good to anyone that reads this column.  How high will the price of gas go?  Well, right now you could pay about $8 per gallon in Europe. 

2012 Hyundai Elantra

Cruze ECO Gets 58 MPG

Reported 0n the Motley Fool web site February 20, 2011 that it was No Magic Hybrid but they got 58 mpg out of a Cruze Eco when driving at a constant 55 mph.  This is significant.  Historical EPA Mileage Ratings and then the 2008 revised EPA Mileage Ratings are said to be very suspect when providing a real mileage number. 

Now the next question is … what sort of mileage do these cars really get?  The Cruze Eco EPA is 42 mpg.

Looking Forward to an Epic Battle

Focus, Cruze and Elantra  will be the most important mainstream cars in 2011.  It will be interesting to watch what happens with the sales and marketing associated with each. 

King Kong, Godzilla and the Smog Monster

More interesting however, will be to watch what happens with the auto press and their comparisons and reviews associated with this epic battle.  If the car business were to be compared to the B-Movies of Sci-Fi it would definitely equal King Kong vs Godzilla and the Smog Monster.

Volt and Leaf Test Drives

January 26, 2011 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

 

Volt and Leaf Automobiles

Simply put, these are two superior cars.  A test drive of both cars reveal that they are both are great drivers with great technology.

Leaf is a pure electric with a 100 mile target range.  Volt can go about 40 miles on electric and then indefinitely on gas.

These are the cars for today and tomorrow.

2009 Tokyo Motor Show

October 22, 2009 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

2009 Tokyo Motor Show

Shown to the left is a press release photograph for the new Prius Plug-In Hybrid courtesy of Toyota on display at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Currently press days for the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show are underway. Doors open to the public on Saturday October 24 through November 4 and there is a great deal of initial press excitement about electric and hybrid vehicles.

Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show -- meida photo compliments of Toyota

Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show -- press photo compliments of Toyota

Announcements indicate that a number of the cars will be brought to the North American International Auto ShowJanuary 11-24, 2010 at Cobo Hall in Detroit.

The Tokyo Show is full of action and you will definitely see a lot of the cars on your TV Automotive shows in the upcoming months. Some of this may even make the nightly news, but this type of important journalism seems restricted to a few minutes on the 11 PM news as a filler or maybe a special on the Speed Channel. Anyway, this year’s Tokyo Show is very significant. There are new technologyies and cars incorporating these on display for the first time.

Attendance at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show

Also, it is important to recognize that this years show in Tokyo is almost entirely Japanese. Sales into Japan is restricted significantly so European, Korean, and North American manufacturers have opted to pretty much stay at home this year.

New Chevrolet Police Car

October 3, 2009 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

New Chevrolet Rear Drive Police Car

Internet rumors are out that  a Chevrolet police car will be based on the Pontiac G8 as reported by Automotive NewsAutomotive Tribune has quickly assembled the G8 Police Car illustration by overlay of a simple light bar and graphic on a GM Media G8 photograph.

AN indicated that Chevrolet will announce plans to provide a new rear-wheel drive police car based on the Australian Holden G8 on Monday in Denver at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference

Given recent news about police vehicles it is certainly reasonable to believe that GM would want to provide a high horsepower, rear wheel drive, four door vehicle to the police market.  Press Release information, expected to be available on  Monday October 5th will certainly be interesting to review.

CarbonCarbon Motors

There has been significant interest in the police market in the past several years.  Carbon Motors has been getting a lot of press with their exclusive police-only product.

Crown VicCrown Victoria

Ford Motor Company has indicated that the Crown Victoria, which has 85% of the police market, would remain in produciton through 2011.  Ford has attempted to interest police departments in the Taurus but since so much specialty equipment is designed to fit the Crown Vic that there has been little interest.

Random Photos From Automotive Tribune Site

rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image

Spin Ball and Click On Key Word for Article

2010 Camaro accident reconstruciton AMC auction automobile bailout bankruptcy Barrett Jackson beach racing Big 3 Bill Heard Chevrolet Bill Lear biomechanics black box BMW board of directors Bob Lutz bondurant brake pads brake rotor brakes Brembo Brock Yates Cadillac Camaro Cannonball Cannonball Run Cape Kennedy Car & Driver car allowance rebate system CARB CARFAX cash for clunkers CATAIR catwalk Charles Erwin Wilson Chevrolet Chrysler Cirrus SR22 collision analysis Copart Crane Cams crash test Csabe Csere CTS-V Daytona Daytona Beach Daytona Beach spring car show Diesel DOT Dr. Robert Zubrin Drive In Christian Church driving Ed Cole EDR electric car Energy Technology Conference Energy Victory EPA EV1 Fiat flight data recorder flood damage flood damage cars flying Ford Forensic Engineering fuel economy fuel mileage Fusion Hybrid gas guzzler GM GM Saturn HID high performance driver training horsepower Hudson Hornet hybrid hybrid vehicles Iacocca IIHS IIHS< Insurance Institute of Highway Safety insurance company Insurance Institute of Highway Safety James May Jeep Commander 2009 jeffrey coats Jon Hall Chevrolet labor legacy cost Maintenance Mercedes Benz Mikronite Corporation Mulally Nano NASA NASCAR new car new truck NHTSA NTSB One Lap of America Ormond Beach P-51 personal watercraft pickup truck Porsche Carrera GT Prius recycle restructure restructuring Richard Kubis Rick Wagoner Robert McElroy Sadisco SAE sales Smart Car Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle Space Shuttle special attraction speedweeks Spruce Creek Fly In Starship Enterprise Star Trek Tata Tata Nano Texas Transportation Institute texting TF1 television theft Top Gear torque total Toyota TTI turkey rod run UAW Ural motorcycle USDOE USDOT VEBA VFR. IFR wagoner Who Killed the Electric Car? Yugo z06 Zastava ZL-1 ZR1

WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Richard Kubis Explains Solar Thermal Hybrid Automobile