G.M. doesn't know what they require, at least when you talk with their SQA's.
Let's look at the basics:
If supplier #1 can give a customer a QS certificate and quote a price of $0.35 per part ... then supplier #2 (not QS registered/certified) gives the customer a price of $0.22 per part, who gets the business?
Bottom line is QS was/is a cost and responsibilty shift through a 'common' customer requirement. Al's post pretty well describes it.
However, you can thank QS for the existence of this site. I started it when QS was young and interpretations were a nightmare. QS made ISO 9K look like a walk-in-the-park comparatively. It's bit more 'stable' after 6 years, but 16949 is going to replace it. This site was and remains a place where people can share experiences and expertise. And now and again abrasive political comments, eh Al?
I can sympathize Al. Last year (June) because of an upcoming audit I missed voting in an election for the first time in my life. Granted it was a local school election. But one of the things that I took great pride in was that since I was first eligible to vote (1972), I had never missed an election of any kind (primaries, local, school, state or national). I still get sick when I think about it.
Fortuanately my kids have all picked up on importance of voting. While attending college (about 120 miles from home) my daughter forgot to pick up her absentee ballot. She obtained permission from her professors to miss class then drove home, voted and drove back to school in time to attend an afternoon class.
Back to your point, the alphabet soup of ISO/QS/TE/Q1/QOS drives us all a little nuts. I guess we would all be less cynical if we thought we were actually adding value by doing some of these things.
IMHO QS is not about improving anything, but feeding the corporate egos at Chrysler, Ford, and GM. There are career SQE's there who have had one promotion in 30 years (i.e. deadwood), but will gladly rant and rave for hours on how suppliers don't have a clue how to make quality parts. These same "experts" have never even worked in a plant. Most would not be able to perform competently at an entry level job at an automotive supplier. (Yes, I know I need assertiveness training)
I agree and disagree with some of your statements.
1: Although the various systems, standards, and specifications can be cumbersome I believe that if we follow the structure it is a benefit to the company. (comply, not certify $$$)
2: I've been through the wars starting before TFE and I ask you to think about it this way:
Maybe the B3 figured that their SQA's and other "quality" personnel were lacking in the required skills to objectively monitor a quality system and decided to outsource the process through the initiation of QS-9000. (pass the buck)
3: I have never heard of, or participated in the B3 actually reviewing (i.e. audit) the systems of a registered company.
4: What I do see is the B3 contracting the work of SQA's and reducing their workforce because of the acceptance of QS-9000 and TS-16949 as the next step.