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Engineer to reshape GM's product line

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General Motors' new global product development boss Tom Stephens is a different kind of Detroit executive: a car guy who's as enthusiastic talking about the performance of the high-m.p.g. turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that will power the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze as about the 600-horsepower V8 in his restored 1967 Chevrolet Impala.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," the soft-spoken engineer said of reshaping GM's product line as the company sheds brands and cuts its North American models from 50 to 34.

"We can concentrate our resources on fewer products and do them better," he said. "Every vehicle must be a hit. Now that we're down to four brands and 34 nameplates, we don't have room for any boring vehicles."

[more at Freep]


2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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These guys are the lifeblood of GM. The results of their dreams and labors are the most significant highlights of automotive history and innovation for the last 100 years. A few examples:

  • The production performance V8, Cadillac, 1915.
  • The two-plane V8 crankshaft, Cadillac, 1924. Since then, nobody remembers the single-plane crankshaft V8.
  • OHV V8 and inline four, Chevrolet, 1917. Every Chevrolet engine ever produced has been OHV or OHC.
  • Four-wheel hydraulic brakes with automatic stop-lights.
  • Automatic transmission.
  • Seald beam headlights.
  • The OHV hydraulic-lifter V8, Cadillac/Oldsmobile, 1949; Buick, 1954; Chevrolet/Pontiac 1955.
  • The all-aluminum OHV V8, Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac, 1962.
  • OBD, Cadillac, 1981. Predecessors (short two terminals in the "dealer service interface" jack and count the "Check Engine" light flashes) from the 1970's. Now required by the DOT for every automobile sold in the US.
  • Electronic Stability Control, Cadillac, 1997. Under consideration as a DOT requirement for cars sold in the US.

Others have been remarkable, of course, such as the Auto Union (now Audi) supercharged cars of the 1930's -- as well as the Cords of the US, and Infiniti was first to market with the DOHC all-aluminum V8 by a couple of years. We have many groundbreaking famous cars over the years like the aluminum hemi Peugeot, the twin-cam Fiat, the Formula One inspired sports cars from Italy, Germany, and the fabled Cosworth and Conventry area of Great Britian west of London, which still is the source of most successful European racing cars, and the famous Italian sports cars from Ferrari, Maserati, and more recently Lamborghini.

Lately, we have the surreal fact that Cadillac holds the manufacturer's championship in the Trans Am series of GT cars (Porsche 911's, Vipers, Corvettes, Honda NSX, etc.) with a four-door sedan daily driver that is toned down to Trans Am rules from the version anyone can buy at any Cadillac dealership, The CTS-V. Nothing like this has been seen since 1954, when Lincoln won the Mexican Road Race -- using a GM Hydra-Matic transmission because the Ford automatic transmission factory burnt down in 1953 and they bought their transmissions from GM for the 1954 model year. Or 1953, when a Corvette six-cylinder with Powerglide blew away the Jag XK in demonstrations in Britain. Or the Duesenbergs (the Duesies, now pronounced "doozies") in the 1930's. Or the Pierce Arrow. Or...

-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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