By on June 5, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a man with a knack for envisioning new and elaborate ways of accomplishing simple tasks, but his factory in Fremont, California — home to three revolutionary electric car models — could use a dose of the Old World. By that, we mean lessons learned by legacy automakers over many decades of mass production.

That’s the takeaway from a scathing exposé published in The Daily Beast, penned by former TTAC managing editor Edward Niedermeyer. Coming on the heels of a CNBC report on fires at the automaker’s paint shop, The Daily Beast‘s piece brings together testimony from current and former employees to paint a picture of what can happen when Silicon Valley startup culture meets the realities of mass auto production.

Bring your safety goggles. (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2018

2017 Mazda CX-5 Driving, Image: Mazda

There’s 4,000 new jobs coming to Huntsville, Alabama, but there’ll also be 150,000 unnamed Mazda crossovers rolling out to dealers across North America each year — assuming the model’s a success. Our money’s on Mazda giving its new child a name starting with “CX-.”

Mazda and Toyota made their 50-50 joint venture official this week, creating a business entity called Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. and boosting the presence of car manufacturing in the South. Production begins in 2021. For Mazda, it will be the company’s first assembly facility in the U.S., though it’s technically not a wholly-owned, standalone operation. There’ll be just as many Toyota Corollas leaving the factory as Mazdas.

While there are scant clues about the nature of Mazda’s mystery vehicle, the brand’s recent sales, plus a revealing loyalty report, suggest the company could have a hit on its hands. (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2018

2016 Mazda CX9 rear - Image: Mazda

It looks like Alabama has won out over North Carolina in the battle to secure a massive, $1.6 billion joint assembly plant. The factory, a partnership between Toyota and Mazda (which, as of last summer, Toyota owns a 5 percent stake in), is reportedly headed to Huntsville, Alabama, and should give the smaller automaker the American capacity it needs to boost crossover sales.

Sources tell Reuters that company officials and government representatives will make an announcement today at the future factory site. Not only does the new plant herald lots of new jobs, it also means a new model. (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2017

Mahindra KUV100, Image: Mahindra & Mahindra

For the company’s sake, hopefully Mahindra & Mahindra’s second attempt to enter the U.S. market won’t go the same way as the first.

The Indian automaker is reportedly planning a 400,000-square-foot assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, and has scheduled a press conference with government officials for November 20th. As we all know, local representatives and their higher-ups don’t like braving the cold unless there’s a promise of jobs and cameras.

A previous attempt to tap into the U.S. market went nowhere, ending in a lawsuit. If this plan comes to fruition, it would make Mahindra’s auto plant the first built in the Detroit area in decades — and would provide American consumers with some new SUV options. (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - Image: Toyota

The only thing better than two plants producing North America’s hottest-selling midsize pickup is three plants churning them out. That’s a big part of Toyota’s plan to stay ahead of General Motors and future competitors like Ford in the small yet vital segment.

Despite making every effort over the past year to build more Tacomas at its Tijuana, Mexico, and San Antonio, Texas, assembly plants, those facilities are maxed out, leading to Toyota’s August decision to punt Corolla production (initially bound for a planned Guanajuato, Mexico, plant) to a new $1.6 billion U.S. facility in the near future.

On paper, the Guanajuato plant aimed to produce 200,000 Corollas per year. Well, those plans have changed. Toyota now says it will drop its investment in the plant from $1 billion to $700 million, with production capacity dropping by half. That still means 100,000 extra Tacomas for a hungry customer base. (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2016

2016 Jeep® Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is flinging cash at its Midwestern assembly plants as part of its world-conquering plan to boost Jeep production.

Yesterday, the automaker announced $1.05 billion in funding to retool its Belvidere, Illinois and Toledo, Ohio production facilities, and issued a kill date for one of its least popular products. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Prototype on road, Image: Tesla Motors

In a bid to get the Model 3 out the door on time, ideally without the snafus that plagued the Model X, Tesla Motors has hired a longtime Audi executive to serve as vice-president of vehicle production.

The hiring of 22-year Audi veteran Peter Hochholdinger, first reported by Reuters, comes as Tesla ramps up its manufacturing capacity to handle the 400,000 reservations placed on its upcoming $35,000 sedan.

Amid the company’s all-out dash to bring its Fremont, California factory’s production capacity to 500,000 vehicles per year by 2018, a damning report just released by the Bay Area News Group sheds light on the low-cost foreign labor helping to build that capability. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2013

It’s no secret that Infiniti is looking to diversify its manufacturing footprint. As part of a broader Nissan strategy to localize production and escape the yoke of yen fluctuations, Infiniti will soon be setting up shop in China and at Nissan’s Sunderland facility in the UK. Next on the list is another North American site.

(Read More…)

By on July 24, 2012

 

Do you know West Point?

If you ask an automotive assembly plant designer, chances are the West Point he is thinking about won’t have statues of General MacArthur or cadets in full uniform.

It will be this place.

(Read More…)

By on March 13, 2012

Volvo has had a big news day today, with reports of a major celebrity endorsement for China, a new design department head in Sweden and a possible plant for North America.

(Read More…)

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