Monday, April 19, 2004
Ford and GM are going to work together believe it or not, on a six speed automatic transmission. Six speeds are widely viewed as the wave of the future, and the Big 3 are always criticized for being behind the Japanese in innovations. But not this time.
What do I think of this? I don't like it. Not because I'm a Ford guy, or a GM guy, I live on the west coast, where both companies are at their weakest. I'm concerned that technological innovations are becoming more and more expensive as the years go on. Ford and GM are no longer mammoth companies that can afford to make new designs by themselves, instead they are smaller and less powerful and need each other to compete. It's not a good sign. The Japanese and the Germans seem more capable of creating innovations more cheaply; this is another sign that Ford and GM are not capable of creating something new cheaply and efficiently. And finally, the fact that two big companies need to merge to create a modern transmission, means that companies that can't do this, say, Chrysler and Mercedes, might be starting to be left behind permanently. Chrysler cars are already very dated technologically, now they'll be behind by light years.