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Improving Efficiency

When the goal is to improve efficiency in capital outlays, a good place to start is with platform (or chassis) and powertrain investments.

Now that each auto maker is designing and building its own engines, transmissions, and related equipment, the amount of duplication within the industry is extraordinary.

This is especially wasteful because consumers rarely buy cars for the platform — instead, they focus on such attributes as styling, quality, and reliability.

Many OEMs, of course, already “repurpose” platforms across brands and models.

However, platform sharing among OEMs is rare.

One of the few examples is Nissan’s deal with Daimler to jointly develop the MFA platform, which is used on Nissan’s Infiniti QX30 model and Mercedes’ CLA and GLA models.

In the U.S., GM and Ford are jointly designing a new 10-speed transmission (their second generation of transmission collaboration). In both cases, the companies expect cost savings, particularly in R&D and materials procurement.

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