A few quotes from Jim Vondale, Director of Ford's Safety Office, plucked from an article on MSNBC.com:
"...the short-term cost of redesigning vehicles for the global market would be more than made up by the long-term savings of harmonization.
"We think it's very important to have a single set of requirements that can be enacted globally," he said.AMEN!!
It's no secret that one of the major problems of current auto production is complexity. Much of this complexity is driven by having to pass multiple standards from separate governmental institutions, and from different governments all together (ie: the United States vs. Europe). When an auto maker develops a new platform, some of the existing parts they have in their inventory may not work in the new model (as far as crash testing, EPA standards etc. are concerned), and furthermore, a platform developed for the United States for example may not pass the necessary regulations in European nations.
This lack of global standards also leads to a lack of sustainability. Although large auto manufacturers can retrofit their platforms to pass standards, this leads to a huge increase in expenditures of time, energy and money to develop new systems.
According to the article, Vondale says that 40 countries have signed on to a program 10 years in the making to standardize regulations. No word on if or when it will go into effect, but if it does, when you pair that with LM's mission to address both these issues of complexity and sustainability with the current paradigm, we will be in an already great position, if not a leading position to prosper globally, not just in the United States.