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1996 Fleetwood Brougham
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Automotive titans General Motors and Toyota kicked off their battle for supremacy of the global car market at the opening of the Geneva Motor Show this week.

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz acknowledged before the show opens to the public Thursday that the US group wanted to take a leaf out of Toyota's book, amid an evident sense of respect between the industrial giants.

"We're doing unique cars for Asia, unique cars in Europe, unique cars in Latin America and unique cars in the United States and it makes absolutely no sense at all," Lutz, who is in charge of global product development, explained.

"That model doesn't work anymore, it's one of the reasons we're losing money, it's because we're doing everything four times."

GM management wants to break down barriers between its distinct engineering and design units around the world, allowing them to work together or compete with proposals for cars in another regional market than their own.

"There's no Toyota of America engineering group, there's no Volkswagen or Audi that engineers unique cars for the United States. All we're doing is we're learning how to do what everybody else does," Lutz said.

The Swiss-born executive hinted at internal opposition from "diehard regionalists" in the US-dominated company.
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