Peter Drucker wasn't one who feared that all of the good-paying automotive jobs -- the kind that have made the auto industry a great place to work in the United States -- would be sucked abroad.
Two years ago in Fortune magazine, the late management and business guru explained that, yes, some low-skill manufacturing jobs would migrate to places with lower labor costs, such as India and China.
Higher-skilled manufacturing jobs would remain here, he reasoned. And the jobs that were lost would be replaced, generally with better ones.
Not everyone has been reassured by Drucker's vision. (Just ask those whose jobs took flight.) There are plenty of folks who fear that China will devour the best of everything in the global auto industry.
And to those folks I say, here's one more thing to put on the list of endangered items: cold-weather testing.
Ever since automakers and suppliers realized they needed to improve the durability of their products, they've found desolate places with extreme climates to test cars, trucks and components.
Some desert regions of the southwestern United States have been useful places to subject vehicles to extreme heat. And rugged northern outposts such as Kapuskasing, Ontario, and Arvidsjaur, Sweden, have been ideal winter test sites.
Now engineers from two suppliers with operations in China are finding that a region along the northern Sino-Russian border is a dandy place for cold-weather testing of brakes and stability-control equipment -- at about half the cost of Sweden or North America.
I'm not sure Drucker ever took weather into account.
On the other hand, perhaps chefs in China have yet to manufacturer that perfect recipe for reindeer stew.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]