Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Now that we have officially seen the Solstice and Sky I have started to have some questions on these two cars. From what I have read I believe that their prices will be close for equally equiped cars (within 1 or 2 thousand). If this is the case, will GM be able to sell their 20,000 of each car? I remember reading earlier that this is the magic number for GM. Or, can they do a run of lets say 20,000 chasis and just hang different sheet metal and put in a different interior on the same chasis to meet the 20,000 mark? I like both of these cars and i hope they both sell better than expected, but I remember that the Fiero died because it was designed for a run of 100,000 and they could not hit those numbers. I do not want the solstice and sky to reach the same fate because they cannibalize each others market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Brian; One thing to keep in mine about the Kappa plaform. Before the NAIAS last year the project manager (I think her name is Lori Queen) made the case that the "Kappa" was a new way for GM to make money (read profit) on a low volume platform. She appeared on several automotive programs to sing the praises of this new approach in making cars. She might well have said how many they need to get this done, but I don't recall a specific number. My question is how will they deal with order numbers that exceed their expectations. I guess we will see in time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
Chip said:
My question is how will they deal with order number that exceeds their expectations. I guess we will see in time.
Don't think you have to worry about that too much. Everybody loves roadsters, people like to write about them, look at them, compare them and drive them, but few people actually buy them. Combined annual sales of roadsters in the US is less than 100k. And lets say another Kappa comes along, like lets say... the ultra bad ass Nomad (oh please, oh please), and sales go nuts, the Wilmington plant has a capacity of about 250k I think.

Of coarse the hydroforming process could not keep up with that pace, so they might have to install a conventional stamping process for this golden Kappa, but more likely they'll just keep production at the limit of the hydroform speed, and charge more for the car in demand. Imagine that, GM making a profit on cars!
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
We are not positive 20K units is the magic number for the Sky. GM has not given an estimated volume for that car. We are just surmizing it because that is the figure given for the Solstice.

Personally, I think just 20K Solstices will be a stretch. They probably will do it initially, but 3 years down the road when its no longer the newest car on the block I think it will get tough. Thats where other Kappa vehicles must come in and pick up the slack. The idea is that you can make many distinct models off of one line, and slow sales of one model hopefully can be picked up with strong sales of another. Hopefully, things work out good! GM needs a success to build off of.

As for the Fiero, they really sold it to GM brass as a car that needed to sell 75,000 units a year. It was a surprise even to GM when it hit 100,000 units in its first year (1984). Also, the Fiero MADE money every year. It was never a money loser. They did raise the sticker which hurt sales volume, but it was not in red ink even in the designs 5th model year 1988 when 26K units were sold. Overall, Pontiac built 370K Fieros over 5 years too, which works out to average just under 75K units a year. There are many reasons why the Fiero didn't survive, and declining sales volume didn't help, but it wasn't what really killed it either. Inside GM politics had a lot to do with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Fformula88 said:
We are not positive 20K units is the magic number for the Sky. GM has not given an estimated volume for that car. We are just surmizing it because that is the figure given for the Solstice.
The plant would probably have a tough time building 40,000 Soltices/Skys.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,901 Posts
bigd said:
The plant would probably have a tough time building 40,000 Soltices/Skys.
Supposedly this entire plant is dedicated to Kappa based cars, so I don't see why they couldn't build 40,000+ cars a year if it was equiped and manned to. Don't forget, more then likely the Euro Kappa cars will be built in this plant too.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
bigd said:
The plant would probably have a tough time building 40,000 Soltices/Skys.
Supposedly the Wilmington DE plant will be able to make 100,000 or more Kappa vehicles a year, split between a few different models. The limiting factor on the Solstice at 20,000 a year is the hydroformed panels. It would no longer be cost effective to make more than 20,000 Solstices because of they would need additional hydroformed dyes for the car, and they would need to double production to cover the investment for additional dies. That is where they came up with 20K.

There is NO reason to think the Sky will be any different. They are not going to be mainly hand built cars. They will come down the same line as the Solstice, and just have their specific body panels and interior attached to an identical Kappa Chassis. Since they are also using hydroformed panels, I would assume their set of dyes would be good for 20,000 units a year too (BTW, the limiting factor in the dyes is the time needed to make a panel, and not the dye wearing out). With the line capable of handling more than 100,000 Kappas, there is no reason at all to think they could not make 40,000 roadsters a year easily. In fact, they will eventually need more cars to keep the plant cost effective.

The only thing we don't know is what their expectations are for the Sky. Because they could build 20K doesn't mean that is their sales target. With a price starting a little higher, their break even point for Sky may be lower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Don't know where you got that 100,000 units number from, but I don't see how that is possible. The line rate is less than 10 cars/hour. You do the math.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
how in the world do you know the line rate when full production has yet to begin. Also, could that mystery number be just for the solstices being built there now? and not taking into consideration the sky and other kappas that will eventually be built?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
The equipment used to build the car is designed for a certain rate. That equipment is already in place since you know the plant is building cars. It would not change unless more money was dumped into the plant.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,901 Posts
I think FF might be basing his #'s off of the vehicles that were built in the plant prior to being turned into a Kappa plant. The Saturn L series I believe?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
bigd said:
Don't know where you got that 100,000 units number from, but I don't see how that is possible. The line rate is less than 10 cars/hour. You do the math.
I've seen the 100,000 unit number before too. I believe it was in a press release by GM saying they could build 100,000 Kappa cars a year in the Wilmington plant.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
even with going on the 10 cars an hour pace and assuming 260 work days a year you can get 20,000 cars per shift. If they run shifts around the clock that makes 60,000 a year. While that is not 100,000 it still shows that they can pump out solstices/skys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
brentil said:
I think FF might be basing his #'s off of the vehicles that were built in the plant prior to being turned into a Kappa plant. The Saturn L series I believe?

The Solstice is built using different equipment than that used for the L-Series. Completely different architecture. FWD/unibody vs. RWD/whatever-you-call-it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
My Dad and I where having this discussion last night actually he's worked at GM for 37yrs and was a forman for 10. We figured they are probably going to run only 1 shift and the other 2 shifts will be for preventive maint. this is how most low production or slow moving lines work at GM it actually is pretty effective. My dad knows the person who is setting up the plant for Kappa production so he was going to find out what they where going to run he is really interested in the car and was believed that they said they should be able to run around 40 a hr. Also I guess if they really need to they can run more shifts like a 2nd or 3rd shift if it really takes off well. Well that is most of what I remember what I have been told. They can easily produce more the plant I work at is set to run around 1000 a day. If they can make more money GM will make more and yes the magic mark is 20,000 cause as long as they sell that many they have made a profit that they think is worth it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
I'm pretty sure 40/hr is a bit optimistic. Off the top of my head, I think the old beretta/corsicas used to go at almost 60/hr, but the Malibu and the new L-series that replaced it was closer to 38 jobs/hr. I think the upside line rate for kappas is only 15-20 jobs/hour, maybe tomdoc has some info here. There's plenty of bits and pieces that can change that - bottlenecks, paint ovens, etc. - or they may be changing wilmington over to a niche vehicle plant, in which case heavy investment parts become shared (like paint ovens) and the sub-assembly lines are separate.

at 20/hour, that's a little less than 40K/shift/year. Upside potential, three shifts (20 hours/day actual production) gets you to 100,000/year (standard 250 production days), but that's really humping - kinda like running a car at redline. Lordstown used to run j-cars at crazy rates like that - pumping out almost 300,000 cavaliers and sunfires at peak. Don't expect wilmington to be running those rates - the investment in lordstown is orders of magnitude higher than the investment at wilmington, I'm sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Yeah I about crapped when I was talking to my Dad and he said that almost every other plant gets the weekends off, I work min 6 days a week. They where amazed when he was saying how much overtime he usually puts in, and yes they really are humpin out here if we are down for a few min they are going nuts trying to get stuff back up totally understandable though. Yeah I remeber going to the Corvette plant tour and I was passing cars on the assembly line they moved so slow it was crazy. Out here in Lordstown it looks like chaos but it's all uncontrol we have some awsome supervisors out here and good workers they get stuff done and fast, it's not like alot of the other plants I guess.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
I have been searching a little and cannot find the exact reference. Possibly because it was some time ago. However, I can certainly clarify. 100,000 is definately not L series volume, the plant could have handled up to around 300,000 for that line. That is one reason it was put down, it didn't come close to meeting volume.

The Solstice itself is limited to around 20,000 units a year. This limitation is from the hydroforming process of its body panels. The body panels are hydroformed on special jigs, and delivered to the line to be put on Solstices. However, that is a constraint for only one car.

GM's long term plan for Kappa is to build a lot of different, low volume models at one plant. That is what made it cost effective for GM to design a seperate chassis and dedicate a plant to it.

They can roll 6 figures worth of cars out of the door. However, they must be different cars based on the hydroforming limitations of the body panels.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top