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The 2006 edition of the Harbour Report - a benchmarking study of U.S. automobile manufacturing - shows Nissan had the industry's most efficient North American manufacturing operation in 2005, followed (in order) by Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Chrysler Group and Ford. On average, Nissan facilities required 28.46 labor hours to produce a vehicle, while Ford clocked in at 35.82 hours. The results show U.S. automakers are closing the gap, but still have room to improve.

These days, with ever-thinning margins and rising production costs, automakers are generally pleased when they can cut the cost of their major systems by a few percent between model cycles. But apparently, for Toyota, that isn't good enough, as they've reportedly cut the cost of building the Camry's V6 engines by a full 50-percent.