GM’s Carbon Fiber Diet

I have a friend who trains and races on several light-weight, high-tech bicycles. He calls them his “carbon fiber diet.” I know golfers who have a similar appetite, and now General Motors seems to have acquired a taste for carbon fiber as well.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “General Motors and Tokyo-based Teijin Ltd. on Thursday disclosed plans to jointly develop lightweight automobile components using an advanced carbon-fiber materials process.”

WSJ reported that GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky admitted that GM’s internal capabilities were limited in the new technology, so it went looking for a new strategic partner. That’s a significant statement coming from GM. Considering its long history of rocky relations with suppliers, this is another sign that GM is recognizing the value of the supplier community in delivering innovation as well as cost savings. We’ve been hearing executives talk the talk in the past, but this is concrete (or should we say carbon fiber) evidence that they have begun to walk the walk. What do you think?

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