Ford discussed the past, present and future of automotive manufacturing
Ford Motor Co. celebrated the 100th anniversary of the moving assembly line this week at its Wayne Assembly plant by setting new goals for global manufacturing, and promising the next few years will mark the automakers' largest manufacturing expansion in 50 years.
Automotive assembly plants have a reputation of being crusty, grungy places – often in stark contrast to the new cars they're assembling. But the truth is that modern auto plants are surprisingly clinical in their cleanliness. These days, you can almost hear company officials boasting that their assembly lines are almost clean enough to eat off of – so that's just what Rolls-Royce has gone and done.
Yesterday, Saab was met with a slight production hiccup. The Swedish automaker's parent company Spyker Cars confirmed that production briefly ground to a halt at its Trolhättan assembly plant when a number of suppliers stopped the flow of parts due to non-payment of bills.
Thinking of buying a 2011 Saab? If so, you'll soon have the ability to watch it come together before your eyes; Saab is installing cameras in its Trollhättan factory. Customers will receive text messages with photos of their cars as they reach certain points in the assembly line. Eventually, Saab plans to add a real-time video feed of the cars being built. This sounds way more interesting than most reality television shows.
Two weeks from now, General Motors will start running its Fairfax assembly plant continuously on a permanent basis. The unprecedented around-the-clock operation, following on the heels of the temporary third shifts a few months ago, is intended to boost the plant's production from its current 4,500 vehicles per week to 6,300 units over the same period.
Henry Ford's historical standing as the father of mass production has come under fire by a new paper published by Dr. Paul Nieuwenhuis and Dr. Pete Wells of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at the Cardiff Business School. The paper posits that Philadelphian Edward G. Budd (shown at right) first implemented the use of the pressed steel car body and mass production. The doctors don't dispute the fact that Ford was responsible for developing mass production of certain mechanical componen