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【双语新闻】通用挣脱破产线

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发表于 2019-3-15 02:36:00 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式


General Motors Emerges From Bankruptcy

通用挣脱破产线

When Rick Wagoner, the chairman of General Motors, walked onto the floor of Detroit's Cobo Hall in January 2006,only one question seemed to matter to the assembled throng attending the North American International Auto Show: how soon would the giant American carmaker go bust? A representative of Kirk Kerkorian, an entrepreneur who had just bought a 10% stake, said GM had to wake up or it would run out of cash in three years. Mr Kerkorian has since sold out, but he seems to have galvanised GM. At this year's show the subject of choice was the firm's nascent turnaround.

2006年1月,北美国际车展在底特律柯柏球场拉开帷幕。当通用汽车公司总裁里克·瓦格纳走进展场时,所有人的焦点都集中到一个问题上:这个北美汽车巨头离破产还有多远?曾买了通用10%股份的企业家柯克·科克莱恩的发言人说,通用该醒悟了,否则,不出3年它的流动资金就会入不敷出。尽管科克莱恩已经抛售了所持的全部通用股份,但他之前对通用的支持貌似依旧产生了一些激励作用。在今年的车展上,大家又关注到这家公司开始有了好转的迹象。

A year ago GM was making record losses, closing plants and slashing its workforce. It was struggling to sell cars at rock-bottom prices and faced having to pay out billions of dollars to prop up Delphi, its former parts unit. Meanwhile, its increasingly rampant Japanese rival, Toyota, was making plans to overtake GM as the world's biggest carmaker by 2008.

一年前,通用的亏损额达到历史最高点。为此通用不得不关闭工厂、大幅裁员、艰难地以最低价格处理汽车,还要花上数十亿美元用于支撑前零件供应商——德尔福。与此同时,日本的竞争对手丰田汽车实力则日益壮大,并计划在2008年取代通用成为全球最大汽车制造商。

Many of these problems still haunt GM, but even its most vociferous critics can see signs of a revival. The company began this year's Detroit show with a lavish event attended by Hollywood celebrities. But the real star was the newly redesigned Camaro Convertible, marking a comeback for one of GM's most famous models. Along with the new Chevrolet Malibu, a complete remake of the type of saloon with which GM once dominated the market, it suggests that the firm is regaining its edge in design. Its new Chevrolet Silverado was named pick-up truck of the year, and when its Saturn Aura was chosen as the best car, even the unit's unflappable general manager, Jill Lajdziak, was lost for words.

许多类似问题还困扰着通用,但是就连将通用批评得一无是处的人也不得不承认通用正在开始复苏。在今年底特律车展上,通用邀请了好莱坞的名流,把出场秀弄得异常豪华。但场上真正的明星则是新一代的卡玛洛运动车,它标志着通用最有名的车型的回归。新款的雪佛兰美宜堡完全是对通用曾经用以主导市场的一款车型的改造。种种迹象表明,通用正在找回它在设计上的技术优势。它的新款雪佛兰西尔维拉多被评为年度最佳轻型小货车,而当 “土星”(通用新款中型运动轿车)被宣布夺得年度最佳汽车大奖的那一刻,连这个部门最镇定的总经理吉尔都激动得说不出话来。



The revival of the ailing Saturn division casts light on some of the changes. Saturn has consolidated its vehicle-development efforts with those of GM's European arm, Opel. More broadly, the carmaker's previously autonomous regional operations are now working together coherently, as Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman and "car czar",farms out duties. North America is developing the big pick-up trucks that dominate the local market and Europe will handle mainstream passenger cars. The car unit of South Korea's Daewoo, now a GM subsidiary, will work on entry-level models and Holden, an Australian subsidiary, will develop big saloons. If GM can make this approach work, it will achieve economies of scale that only Toyota can match, says David Cole, of the Centre for Automotive Research, a consultancy.

一直处境艰难的“土星”分部的复苏解释了一些变化。土星将汽车研发工作同通用的欧洲分部——欧宝进行了整合;更广泛的变动是由副总裁人称“汽车沙皇”的鲍勃·卢兹来分配任务,让之前各自为政的地区运营结合起来。北美地区负责研发适合当地市场的大型卡车,欧洲地区负责主流客车。韩国地区的子公司通用大宇则负责人门级车型,澳洲霍顿分部负责大型轿车。汽车研究中心的一位顾问大卫·科尔评论说,如果这种方法行之有效,世界上将只有丰田能与通用将会形成的经济规模相抗衡。

Like Toyota, GM is also standardizing manufacturing practices around the globe. It has eliminated 30,000 jobs and reduced North American production capacity by 30%. According to GM's senior official, all of this has cut costs by the equivalent of about $2,000 a vehicle. Mr. Wagoner says GM reached its target of trimming $9 billion from fixed costs by the end of 2006.

同丰田一样,通用也在将全球的生产流程规范化。目前通用已经削减了3万个职位,并且将北美地区的生产能力降低了30%。通用高层管理人员表示,这些举措减少的费用相当于把每台车的成本降低了2000美元。总裁瓦格纳称,通用在2006年底已经完成了减少90亿固定成本的目标。

Still, problems remain. Toyota unveiled its largest-ever light truck in Detroit, and is thought to be planning several new American factories. So even as Toyota emphasizes the green credentials of its Prius hybrid car,it is attacking the Silverado, one of GM's biggest money-makers. GM's response is to expand its own hybrid offerings, including the new Chevrolet Volt concept car. It is battery-driven and can be recharged from the mains or by an on-board three-cylinder engine that never directly drives the wheels.

还有很多问题有待解决。在底特律车展上,丰田展示了它有史以来最大的轻型卡车,而且业界推测他们正在计划增加在美的工厂。所以尽管丰田主打的是绿色环保的普锐斯混合动力车,他们的轻卡还是对通用最畅销车型西尔维拉多产生了一定的冲击。作为反击,通用扩大了包括雪佛莱沃特概念车在内混合动力车的供应量。沃特车是电池驱动,可以充电使用,也可由车载三缸涡轮引擎进行充电——这个引擎不用于驱动。

GM is still struggling to get its core North American operations into profit. But for the first time in years it is heading in the right direction. There is a long way to go, but at least the threat of bankruptcy is receding in the rear-view mirror.

通用仍在努力使北美核心市场扭亏为盈。不过这些年来,通用这一次总算是走对了路。不过依旧任重道远,但至少,破产的威胁已经渐渐从后视镜中远去了。



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