The European Union is investing E9 million into a research project focusing on the rapid delivery of build-to-order cars.
BMW, DaimlerChrysler and suppliers such as ThyssenKrupp Automotive, Robert Bosch and Siemens VDO Automotive are taking part in the four-year project.
The aim is to discover how automakers can build and deliver a car to a customer within five days.
BMW already produces about
80 percent of its cars to order. The company says customers can change their cars’ specifications up to six days before it is scheduled to be built.
About 70 percent of the cars made by D/C subsidiary Mercedes-Benz are built to order. Customers can adapt paint, upholstery and options up to six days before production.
The aim of the Intelligent Logistics for Innovative Product Technologies (ILIPT) project is to identify barriers to more efficient order-to-delivery processes.
The project will look at how volume automakers such as Ford Motor Co. could build cars to order, said Mickey Howard, an academic involved in the initiative.
“Ford’s 10-day order-to-delivery program appears to have been put on the back burner as it deals with other more immediate problems,” said Howard, a instructor at Bath University in England, one of the academic institutions involved in the initiative.
ThyssenKrupp Automotive is leading the E16.3 million project. About 30 other auto companies and universities are taking part including Lear, Saint-Gobain, Hella and Dresden University in Germany.
Research is divided into three areas: