GM bean counters didn't understand
Agilency is a management consulting firm. Among its clients are automotive manufacturers and suppliers.
To the Editor:
In his Aug. 13 column, "GM is going from bad to worse," Keith Crain wrote, "GM needs good car people and European finance folks to figure out what Opel needs and then do it." I worked with Saab and Opel in an operational consulting capacity in the 1990s and 2000s and experienced firsthand the major strategic errors made.
I remember well discussions with managers of a Tier 1 diesel systems supplier during which they explained the difference in their working relationships with Volkswagen and Opel. With VW, the main contact was with development engineers to explore new technical ideas and opportunities. With Opel, the main contact was with purchasing representatives to argue over cost-reduction possibilities.
As a leading VW manager stated, "To run a successful automotive company, you need gasoline in your blood."
From my experience with General Motors, their financial managers have never understood that.