As transplants get bigger, they learn to think smaller
The transplants are thinking small. Honda Motor Co. and the rest of the international auto industry came here in the 1980s specifically to produce high-volume vehicles. But while they still rely heavily on high-volume vehicles, there has been a shift in strategy. Download U.S. production by transplants and joint ventures graphic in PDF format.
Transplants gear up for smaller runs
Small-volume products have popped onto the agenda at several of the transplants' manufacturing sites.
Boosting M-class quality is Taylor's biggest challenge
Mercedes plant CEO turned to suppliers to help launch better-built SUV in AlabamaBack in 1999, when Mercedes-Benz's new U.S.-made M class scored near the bottom of its segment on J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study, Bill Taylor went to war. Taylor's strategy seemed to be working, until this year.
Normal struggles to be normal
Woes have beset Mitsubishi plant in Illinois from its beginningNormal is trying to become a normal plant. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has no plans to restore a second shift at the company's sole U.S. plant. But the factory in Normal, Ill., is gamely trying to break the cycle of falling volume and other woes that have plagued it for years.
Hyundai focuses on automation
$1.1 billion plant hints at the future of automaking in U.S.Nearly a dozen international automakers faced down the challenge of building cars in the United States before Hyundai Motor Corp. ever set foot in Alabama. But Hyundai had a different challenge.
Quebec mistakes still haunt Hyundai
Bromont was recipe for how not to build cars in North AmericaHyundai Motor Co. has had time to think about its past mistakes in operating an assembly plant in North America. Twelve years, to be exact. Hyundai's new $1.1 billion factory in Montgomery, Ala., is it's second in North America. In 1989, Hyundai built a $400 million plant in Bromont, Quebec.
Revived supplier wants more Nissan work
Five years ago, Calsonic Kansei Corp. faced an uncertain future. Fast-forward to 2005. Calsonic Kansei's sales are up. Its largest customer remains Nissan. Still, Calsonic Kansei's future is not without obstacles.
Q&A: How Nissan made a quick turnaround on Quest quality
Dan Gaudette, Nissan North America Inc.'s senior vice president for North American manufacturing and quality assurance, had been on the job about six weeks when the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study rated the company's Quest minivan low for quality. Gaudette spoke with Staff Reporter Greg Bowens about how the automaker turned things around.
For Toyota, success comes with risks
Sales of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles for the first five months are up 10.2 percent over the year-ago period. Market share is growing. And Toyota is poised to announce plans to build at least one new auto plant here. But being a winner carries a certain degree of risk.
Toyota struggles to keep up with powertrain needs
Toyota Motor Corp. hasn't said where it will build its next North American assembly plant. But one issue that can't wait is engine capacity. Download new paths for powertrain parts map in PDF format.
A new wave of suppliers pursues transplant work
Suppliers know they need some business with a Japanese automaker. And they know that if there were ever a time to snag some, it's now. But making that new business happen any time soon is easier said than done.
Transplants get managers anywhere they can
Contractor one day, auto executive the next. Call it the unpredictable hand of career fate. Career Cinderella stories point to a serious issue: As they grow, the transplant automakers must do whatever they can to find, train and hang onto North American managers.
Some managers come from outside, some are snatched
Where in Detroit did you come from? That used to be a common question for managers of the international automakers in North America. The assumption was that managers all must have earned their stripes at one of the Big 3. That was never truly the case.
As sales grow, so do automaker r&d centers
Import brands are pouring more resources into r&d in the United States. As their market share and sales grow, the number of employees at the transplants' tech centers has grown, too. Here's a rundown.