GM restructures engineering division into two distinct units

Article by Christian A., on April 25, 2014

General Motors is splitting vehicle engineering organization into two divisions -- Global Product Integrity and Global Components and Subsystems. The Global Product Integrity unit is led by Ken Morris, currently executive director of chassis engineering at GM. The Global Components and Subsystems division is headed by Ken Kelzer, currently chief of powertrain engineering in Europe.

On the other hand, GM’s vice president of global vehicle engineering John Calabrese is retiring. According to GM product chief Mark Reuss, the restructuring is a direct sprout of the carmaker’s review of the ignition-switch issue.

He, however, noted that Calabrese's retirement "is in no way connected" to GM’s internal probe into its failure to promptly recall the faulty ignition switches in MY 2004-2007 small cars. GM has been receiving criticisms for its handling of the recall that has been tied to 13 deaths.

The carmaker has acknowledged that its engineers reported the issues as early as 2001 but only issued a in February 2014. According to Reuss, new structure will allow GM to spot potential safety issues more quickly. He disclosed that the product integrity division will include a team of GM's "best" engineers to regularly review vehicles for safety compliance as they are being developed.

He said that the carmaker GM has employed the same process for years to enhance steering, ride and handling and other performance attributes. He said GM’s engineers will take a more holistic approach to determining the root cause of problem parts.

He added that the engineers will also take a closer look on how flaws in each component could affect other systems. Reuss remarked that the new structure would have expedited “a whole bunch of things." GM now has tapped 35 "product investigators" who will be in charge of analyzing reports of crashes, customer complaints, lawsuits and other data that may indicate a safety issue.

“A vehicle is a collection of 30,000 individual parts. Fully integrating those parts into cohesive systems with industry-leading quality and safety is key in this customer-driven business,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. [source: General Motors]

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