“Everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back”
-- “Atlantic City,” Bruce Springsteen, 1982
SOLIHULL, ENGLAND -- The transformation of the old Rover plant here in the British Midlands, scene of so much labor strife, turmoil and heartbreak in the 1970s and ’80s, is breathtaking.
No other factory on the planet makes more aluminum-bodied vehicles. That record will hold until next year when Land Rover’s former owner, Ford Motor Co., is cranking out aluminum F-150 pickups in its Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., plants.
A visitor on the walkway above the aluminum body shop here can look down at the 370 robots that glue and rivet the panels on Range Rover bodies and get an impressive glimpse of what could be the future of automaking.
It is an automated mechanical ballet that raises car building to a high art.
Not many years ago, few who follow the auto industry intimately could have imagined that Solihull, a plant built in 1940 to help Britain’s war effort, could undergo such a transformation.