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2004 Traverse City Coverage Page 3


Global Engines to Save DC $100 Million

Though it is otherwise reducing or severing ties to its Asian partners, DaimlerChrysler expects to save $100 million annually through Global Engine Alliance LLC. The Dundee, Michigan, operation, which will produce a new line of “global” engines, was formed as a joint venture between DCX, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., and Hyundai Motor Co. It will begin three-crew, two-shift, 120-hour-a-week operations in mid-2005, Bruce Coventry, president of the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, announced during the opening session of the Management Briefing Seminars. The project, he declared, is “utilizing the best engineering inputs from Mitsubishi, Hyundai and DaimlerChrysler,” with a goal of “significantly reducing capital and program lead times.” Among several steps taken, the venture purchased three sets of manufacturing equipment in Michigan, South Korea, and Japan. The alliance is outsourcing everything that it doesn’t see as core to engine production. The Dundee factory will produce 1.8-, 2.0-, and 2.4-liter engines. The $100 million figure was derived by comparing the forecast price of producing those four-cylinder engines compared to what it costs at the DCX plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

DC Hopes To Keep Best of Mitsu by Jim Burt (4/26/2004)
But no more money makes the very future of the Japanese company tenuous.

Nissan Sees Silver Lining in Canton Cloud

Things have gotten off to a much rockier start than Nissan expected at its new assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, a $1.4 billion facility that launched five new models in an eight-month blitz. Quality has fallen short of expectations, as has productivity, a sharp setback for a company that has long led the North American pack in terms of efficiency. Despite such start-up problems, Nissan’s senior vice president of manufacturing, Hidetoshi Imazu, sees Canton as a global model. “Overall, in spite of everything else, we did quite well,” he asserted during a speech at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan. The Canton plant has provided a learning lab for a variety of Nissan manufacturing practices. For one thing, 20 different Tier I suppliers have located “on campus” to produce parts, tightly synchronizing their operations with the assembly line. That and other practices will be copied at new Nissan facilities in emerging markets such as China and India, Imazu revealed. In the meantime, the automaker has assigned 200 Japanese engineers to try to fix the problems that have been plaguing the new factory in Mississippi.


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