For the New American Manufacturers, growth once seemed easy. Now -- from quality to competition -- the future is loaded with more challenges than ever.
Trouble on the horizon
For the New American Manufacturers, growth once seemed easy. Now - from quality to competition - the future is loaded with more challenges than ever. For the New American Manufacturers, the good old days are over. At first it seemed easy. For their first two decades, U.S. transplant factories hummed with an efficiency that put the Big 3 to shame. Costs were low. Quality was high. Today, the landscape is shifting.
Nissan stumbles in Canton, vows to fix problems
Nissan North America Inc. is used to wowing the industry. But in April, Nissan got some bad news. In one of the first industry report cards on the project, the marketplace was less than enthusiastic about Nissan's achievements in product quality.
Q&A: Gaudette leads after Nissan's rapid expansion
Dan Gaudette, senior vice president for North American manufacturing and quality assurance at Nissan North America Inc., spoke with Staff Reporter Lindsay Chappell about some of Nissan's changes and challenges.
The transplants' changing faces
Import-brand automakers came to North America in the 1980s and 1990s with a production strategy already in mind. Today, many are operating under a different set of assumptions. Here's a look at the changes.
Japan's carmakers apply restraint in their growth
Employment at home affects N.A. outputJapanese carmakers have grown impressively in North America in the past two decades. In 1985 three plants built 361,190 light vehicles in North America. Last year 17 plants, including three joint ventures, built 3.8 million vehicles.
NAM plant migration: South by southwest
Guessing where the next New American auto plant will locate is a tough sport. Auto plants are won and lost on unpredictable variables. It could come down to whether a state will build an interstate offramp. Download European and Asian assembly plants in North America in PDF format
Lap of luxury
The cachet that imported luxury vehicles enjoyed in the United States used to be just that -- they were imported. The nice vehicles had to be crafted overseas, where better trained workers presumably were more careful when handling wood paneling and leather. Such notions evaporated in 1994.
How Toyota threw out the old to start anew
Launch of U.S. plant showed the flaws in its training systemTakashi Hata was a young human resources manager when he and about 1,000 Japanese employees moved to Kentucky in the 1980s. He was there to launch Toyota Motor Corp.'s Georgetown, Ky., plant.
Presto! Automaker's plant becomes a supplier's plant
Siemens VDO gives Huntsville Electronics an ambitious missionStanding at a product display table inside his newly acquired factory here, Siemens VDO Automotive Corp.'s Helmut Matschi envisions the change coming to the U.S. auto industry.
Siemens VDO hears Alabama's other accent
Huntsville's German history dates to 1950sBeing German won't be a big issue for Siemens VDO Automotive Corp. as it takes control of its newest global operation in Huntsville, Ala. The supplier can thank Wernher von Braun for that.
Q&A: 2 lines in Ala. help Honda meet demand
Masaaki Kato is CEO of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama LLC. Kato joined Honda in 1974 and has held other positions there including head of global quality and director for Honda r&d. He spoke with Staff Reporter Lindsay Chappell in Lincoln, Ala.
Once different Saturn looks more like GM
Division allowed innovations, and GM learned from themSaturn is being merged into parent General Motors' global manufacturing system. In part, that reflects how GM has applied lessons from Saturn. But GM's other great laboratory, the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp., has been more influential.
Picture, if you will, America without the transplants
It's the year 2004, and Honda, Nissan and Toyota never set up shop in the U.S. It is the "Twilight Zone" world of the North American auto industry that would have been without 25 years of Japanese, European and Korean transplant auto manufacturing. It's a barely recognizable world.
Subaru transforms Indiana plant
Company prepares to drive solo as joint output with Isuzu nears endOn a stormy Memorial Day weekend, security cameras at the Subaru assembly plant here taped a tornado tearing up nearby fields. The factory wasn't damaged. But winds of change are blowing through Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc.
Building a plant is no guarantee of success
The European and Japanese transplants may be models of manufacturing efficiency, but history offers a valuable lesson: Sometimes plants fail. For proof, look to Volkswagen AG.
Different makers, different woes
Manufacturing in North America hasn't been a picnic for every Japanese automaker. While Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have made it look relatively effortless, three others -- Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. -- have struggled with mixed results for the past decade.