An American Horror Story, part 1.
You could say this nice alloy wheel is kind of a wheel of misfortune. General Motors is still one of the bigger carmakers today, but it is hard to believe how successful it once was. Especially when you consider GM doesn’t even sell any cars anymore in Europe. GM’s demise started in the ‘70s, but the car that turned GM’s fortunes around definitely was this Pontiac Grand Prix. Or rather the program it was part of: GM-10. GM-10 was the biggest new-car program GM ever attempted. The program would sprout four midsized family cars, launched between 1987 and 1990: the Pontiac Grand Prix, Chevrolet Lumina, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and Buick Regal.
GM had once dominated the midsized family car segment, but the immensely successful 1986 Ford Taurus had come in the way. Something needed to be done, not only to fight Ford, but also because these midsized cars were real moneymakers.
Being GM, things were approached big. A plan was made to invest in seven (7!) new factories, that would each assemble 250,000 GM-10 cars. With these volumes, the GM-10 program would make up for 21% of the entire US car market. All by itself. Even GM thought that might be a little too much after all, so the number of factories was limited to four. These were fully equipped with expensive state-of-the-art robot technology. GM’s senior management figured robots would save time, while giving a more consistent build quality. The GM-10 cars were even planned to have the highest quality of any GM car ever built.
GM’s hopes were high. Very high. It wouldn’t take long however, before the GM-10 dream turned into a terrible nightmare. But you’ll have to wait for that until my next post! .
Pontiac Grand Prix LE, 19 November 1992. - 5 days ago