Hat/Tip to BFH of IOTWReport.com.
One Date’s Famous Last Words: “Let Me Drive It, I’ll Show You What This Thing Can Do.”
Hat/Tip to BFH of IOTWReport.com.
Ford has a plant in Brazil that ought to be the model for a resurgence in Detroit. Too bad the UAW and Democrat politicians refuse to let this happen.
At Ford Motor Co.’s factory here, a group of Visteon Corp. workers connect the wiring in a dashboard module for a Ford EcoSport. Next to them, Lear Corp. employees are building seats for the same vehicle. A few feet away, Ford’s Diede Silva dos Santos applies trim to a Fiesta subcompact. She’s mastered seven jobs at the plant and is working on an eighth.
“If you do different jobs, it’s more interesting,” said Silva dos Santos, 24. “It gives me a chance to expand my knowledge. (It) makes me a more valuable employee, too, so that I will have a future here.”
This state-of-the-art manufacturing complex in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia is not only the centerpiece of Ford’s Brazilian turnaround plan, it is also one of the most advanced automobile plants in the world. It is more automated than many of Ford’s U.S. factories, and leaner and more flexible than any other Ford facility. It can produce five different vehicle platforms at the same time and on the same line.
Ford isn’t alone in their wish to try out new ideas in manufacturing, either.
Ford sources said it is the sort of plant the company wants in the United States, were it not for the United Auto Workers, which has historically opposed such extensive supplier integration on the factory floor.
Many automakers use South America to try out new manufacturing ideas. Volkswagen AG has suppliers in some of its factories, and General Motors Corp. has a supplier park surrounding its plant in Gravataí, Brazil. But analysts say no automaker has gone as far as Ford.
“South America is kind of the global sandbox for a lot of automakers to try out new methods,” said Michael Robinet, vice president of global vehicle forecasts for CSM Worldwide. “Ford was able to think out of the box, and it’s paying off for them.”
Henry Ford would be proud. The Camacari (pronounced kama-sari) plant is innovating his baby, the production line, which was a revolution in itself.
At Camaçari, more than two dozen suppliers operate right inside the Ford complex, in many cases producing components alongside Ford’s main production line. Having those supplier operations on-site allows Ford to take the concept of just-in-time manufacturing to a whole new level. Inventories are kept to a bare minimum, or dispensed with entirely. Components such as dashboard assemblies flow directly into the main Ford assembly line at the precise point and time they are needed.
“It’s a good arrangement,” said Mauro Ribeiro Leite of Atlas Copco AB, a Swedish company that maintains production at Camaçari. It gives us more flexibility, and we’re better able to understand the customer’s needs.”
The system also helps with quality. If there is a problem with a part, it is a simple matter for Ford engineers to trace it to its source and work with the supplier to correct it.
“It’s a simultaneous supply chain,” said Edson Molina, logistics general manager for Ford South America. “When you have a problem, everybody works together to solve it.”
Along with the new, innovative production line process, the workforce is unique in several aspects, as well.
The entire operation, including suppliers, employs about 9,000 workers. The average age is just 26, and nearly half are women.
Most have no industrial experience when they hire on at Camaçari, so each worker receives about 900 hours of training. Much of that time is spent working on a scaled-down version of the real assembly line that was built just for that purpose.
Unlike many U.S. auto plants, where workers’ responsibilities are strictly limited to specific job classifications, workers like Silva dos Santos are encouraged to learn as many different skills as possible.
Everyone — from senior managers, designers and engineers to rank-and-file line workers and maintenance staff — wears the same uniform here. The only difference is that those working for suppliers have their own corporation’s insignia embroidered on their chest instead of Ford’s Blue Oval.
More than just an egalitarian touch, the uniforms are designed to reinforce the idea that everyone is on the same team, working to achieve common success. In addition, Ford believes the uniforms encourage dialog between workers and management, because it is so hard for people to tell the difference.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the plant’s four cafeterias. Each serves the same fare, and workers are free to choose whichever is the most convenient. They are also encouraged to discuss product and production issues with others at their table.
“People are more open to telling you what they think,” said Hau Thai-Tang, head of product development for Ford in South America. “It fosters an atmosphere of co-dependence. I think we need that elsewhere.”
Thai-Tang knows this because Ford’s South American product development center, with its design studios and engineering offices, is inside the factory complex.
This is the kind of economic boom we could be having here, in America. But first we have to get the government off our backs and out of our way.
The land is not the only thing Ford is improving in Bahia, according to the state’s senator and former governor, César Borges. He estimates that some 50,000 jobs have been created in the area because of the Ford plant and says the state’s GDP has almost doubled since it opened.
Jobs at the plant are highly sought after in this region, known for its rampant unemployment, which officially stands at about 25 percent. The best work most of Ford’s employees hoped for before the plant was built were low wage jobs in Salvador’s tourist industry.
It is no wonder then that Ford employees are often seen wearing their uniforms into town on their days off.
“It’s a great job,” said Claudia Sena, 27, as she grinds metal burrs from the body of a Fiesta.
Borges was the governor of Bahia in 1999 when Brazil’s federal government first began allowing states to offer incentives to attract industry. He jumped at the opportunity to bring good jobs to his region, where the economy had long been based on the production of cacao, the tropical plant that is used to make chocolate.
He offered Ford generous and other incentives to come to the rural state and even threw in a private port — an important asset in a region that lacks road and rail connections with the rest of South America.
The plant cost $1.9 billion. Ford put up $1.2 billion; its suppliers paid for the rest.
Work began immediately, and the plant was completed in October of 2001. The first vehicle rolled off the assembly line six months later.
“We broke a lot of paradigms,” Molina said. “It was not easy, but it’s working.”
Here is a short video about this groundbreaking plant. It reveals so much about how the UAW has hurt the viability of American auto companies. I for one, would be thrilled to see American companies be free to opt for this type of innovation and high quality production. If you think of how many more Americans could be working if this type of plant could be built in America, it is easy to see why we our economy has been in free fall for the last few years.
Make sure you pay attention to the last couple of sentences in this video.
“Sources in Dearborn say privately that this is the sort of facility Ford would love to build in the U.S. If only the UAW, historically adverse to this sort of supplier integration, would allow it.”
Read more here.
For you car nuts out there, and more specifically, the rat rod type, few bodies are as sought after as the “Deuce Coupe.” That is the five window, 1932 Ford two door Model B. They were the most preferred body style for rat rod conversion. With originals dwindling fast, and the market making them ever more costly, Ford is stepping in with a solution. FOX has more…
According to Ford, these ’32 Coupe reproductions are exclusively licensed to United Pacific Industries, which rolled out a flawless 5-Window replica at SEMA 2013. Each shell is stamped from virgin metal, then welded and assembled using modern manufacturing techniques. This, along with supplementary rustproofing, keeps the new Deuces from warping and wearing as the decades roll past—ideal for builders, though we do love a good 5-Window rat rod. Each part comes with an official Blue Oval tag.
Ford doesn’t have its own prices for the ’32 5-Window body up yet, but you can expect to pay around $20,000 for a steel United Pacific Industries shell. Of course, you’ll still need a decent frame to build off of, plus a 327-cid small-block should you want to relive all those John Milner American Graffiti fantasies.
Save your pennies kids, it’ll take a while to save up for that Deuce Coupe!
In the aftermath of the 2012 election, many conservatives are questioning and re-evaluating their spending habits and choices. And out of all things that can be purchased, few are considered carefully as buying a car. Many are asking themselves, “do I want to support companies that conspire with the forces that want to enslave me?” Well, to make a car purchase easier, The Morlock Revolt has created a convenient info-graphic to help you.
-BMW is manufactured in the US in South Carolina. These plants produce the X3, X5, and X6 models
-The Honda Accord, the Accura RDX and CL, and the CRV assembled in Ohio. This may affect your decision because they are made in a Blue state. The Honda Civic is made in Indiana. The Honda Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline are assembled in Alabama
-The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata are assembled in Alabama. The Hyundai Santa Fe is made in Georgia
-The Kia Sorento is manufactured in Georgia
-The Mercedes GL Class, M Class, and R Class are all assembled in Alabama
-Nissan plants are in Tennessee
-Subaru autos are made in Indiana
-The Suzuki Equator is assembled in Tennessee
-The Toyota Avalon, Camry Hybrid, and Venza are made in Kentucky. The Highlander, Sequoia, and Sienna are assembled in Indiana. The Tundra and Tacoma are made in Texas. The Toyota Camry has plants in Indiana and Kentucky.
That is some solid information. I would remind everyone that if you buy a new car or truck, you are going to pay a lot of taxes, that will be used against you. However, if you must buy new, buy from a company that isn’t trying to help fedzilla.
BTW, I’ve added the Morlock Revolt to the blogroll. It is a great site.
I’ve had guessed that Ford’s increased sales after the auto-bailouts were due to people rebelling against government motors. Might this commercial be a confirmation?
I remember visiting a Ford dealership not too long after Ford sales increased. When I asked, a salesman smiled and said that a lot of buyers were saying that the bailouts were why they chose Ford. In a sense, all the steps that Ford took to get new products out, and improve existing ones coincided with this potential rebellions against the bailouts. From their perspective, if it had to happen, the timing was perfect. Ironically, it was Ford that everyone thought would go up in smoke, in the end, it was GM and Chrysler that got hit the hardest.
I haven’t seen this one on TV in my area, but love it all the same. I think it’s great that Ford is playing on this, and I would imagine that they have some consumer data that would suggest that this would be an effective advertisement. It certainly is resonating here at the CH 2.0 Bunker, and Smitty is also considering a Ford in his future.
Well, it’s Sunday again, and here we have the link post. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that I don’t always do the linked posts “justice” with my descriptions. So this time, I’m going to use the actual titles of the posts for the link. Feedback, as always, is welcome.
As for the theme, I haven’t done a car post for a while, and Ford seems to be a make that I haven’t covered as of yet. So, enjoy the cars, and visit the links.
Have a good Sunday! If I left your favorite Ford out, drop the details in the comment section.
As the Summer of Recovery© continues, evidence reveals the overall fail of the Obama economic policies. Recently, housing sales tanked. All this year, the government and their media apologists have been forced to discuss, “unexpected” and “unanticipated” statistics, like increases in unemployment and decreases in economic indicators. For the latest, Hot Air provides us with a link to see how “Government Motors” are doing.
U.S. auto sales in August probably were the slowest for the month in 28 years as model-year closeout deals failed to entice consumers concerned the economy is worsening and they may lose their jobs.
Industrywide deliveries, to be released tomorrow, may have reached an annualized rate of 11.6 million vehicles this month, the average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the slowest August since 1982, according to researcher Ward’s AutoInfoBank. The rate would be 18 percent below last year’s 14.2 million pace, when the U.S. government’s “cash for clunkers” incentive program boosted sales.
“Home sales are way down, the stock market is way down, the unemployment report is very disappointing and consumer confidence is sputtering,” Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at TrueCar.com, said in an interview. “People just don’t want to make big-ticket purchases because they’re uncertain about their jobs and the value of their homes.”
I wonder if this will be another “unexpected” event? The sad thing is this; anyone with half a brain could have predicted this. There is government inflicted economic uncertainty on a massive scale. People don’t know if they’re going to get taxed to death next year. They don’t know if either the taxes, ObamaCare, or environmental regulations will cause them to lose their jobs.
In the end, the government is treating the economy as if it’s some sort of social engineering laboratory, and we rats aren’t playing ball. Their ideas are based on the faulty premise that the government can manage or create demand. It hasn’t worked before, and it isn’t working now.
So dear readers, the question is this; is it stupidity, or Cloward-Piven? Discussion is welcome.
Well, another car brand died today. Ford announced that the Mercury brand will go to that show room in the sky in the fourth quarter of this year. Here’s some coverage from Automobile Magazine.
According to Fields, the decision to cut Mercury was difficult considering the brand’s heritage, but an annual vehicle study put the final nail in the coffin. Mercury’s total market share was shown to be 0.8 percent and most Mercury buyers were cross-shopping – and transitioning to – Ford vehicles.
So, it was poor demand that did it. That’s really no surprise to me. Mercury hadn’t been marketed heavily, and the models showed little distinction from their Ford counterparts. I never really had a connection to the brand, but as a tribute, here are some Mercury models of the past.
Mercury Cougar, cousin of the Mustang.
This short video reveals so much about how the UAW has hurt the viability of American auto companies. I for one, would be thrilled to see American companies be free to opt for this type of innovation and high quality production. If you think of how many more Americans could be working if this type of plant could be built in America, it is easy to see why we are in the economic free fall we are.
Make sure you pay attention to the last couple of sentences in this video.
Hat tip to Pesky Emotional Republican – a fantastic blog that I highly recommend to all our readers and contributors.