DETROIT -- The last time General Motors tried to go global, the horn didn't work.
A decade ago, during the first incarnation of GM's Delta fwd small-car program, the automaker didn't understand the nuances of different regions.
"There was not a good appreciation of what was happening around the world," said Jim Queen, GM's vice president for global engineering.
An example of that came up when GM tried to sell one of its vehicles in China, where drivers blow horns far more often than in the United States.
"Do you know how many horn blasts you get in China?" Queen asked. "Sure as hell, there was a durability issue with horns. The problem is that you have little or no sensitivity to that if you are parked in Warren (Mich.) in this environment."
With Delta, GM wound up with a world car - a vehicle program designed without consideration for each market's needs.
"We got bruised and did not execute and ended up with a world car," Queen said. "And that's a loser."
Delta is used in North America for the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR and Saturn Ion.
But GM's German subsidiary, Adam Opel AG, opted out of Delta when it built its new Astra compact.
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