UA-8086277

Home » Ford » Recent Articles:

A Savage Factory – Inside An Auto Manufacturing Plant

February 6, 2012 Maintenance No Comments

I have been involved in the automotive industry for over 50 years and found A Savage Factory by Robert Dewar to be one of the most important books I have ever come across.

Mr. Dewar was recruited by Ford Motor Company to run the torque converter manufacturing  operation in one of their transmission plants until he was laid off in 1979.

Here is what he has to say about his book in information on his website ASavageFactory.Com:

‘A Savage Factory’ is my memoir of spending six years as a foreman and general foreman in Zone 3 of Ford Motor Company’s Sharonville Transmission Plant. It begins the day I started at Ford and ends the day I left Ford. It puts you in the middle of the never ending war between management and the UAW. It shows you, machine by machine, employee by employee, and component by component, the building of C-4 automatic transmissions that eventually resulted in the largest recall in automotive history. It takes you on a journey to try and change the way auto plants are managed, which put me under the care of a psychiatric hospital. It walks you through the thick jungle of sexual harassment female employees endured before the term “sexual harassment” was coined. It shows you the weak safety rules that destroyed men’s hearing and damaged their lungs. It puts you in my shoes as I attempted to break free of corporate tyranny by working enough overtime to save money to fund my own business. The book ends when American car buyers overwhelmingly choose better built, more reliable foreign imports, as the Big Three fights to avoid having to lay in the bed they spent 30 years making.

He goes on to say that he wanted to write this book to provide a look behind the “dirty gray walls … so they could see … the conditions in the parts plants … and the kind of management that was destroying an industry.”

If you like cars, and especially if you are technically inclined, you should read A Savage Factory. You are guaranteed to get a whole new look on the car businss a few decades back.

 

US Auto Industry – Beyond the US and Beyond Graduate School

Chaos Brings Opportunity — In The Real Graduate Business School

If chaos brings opportunity then current circumstances present a multitude of opportunities in the car business. Undoubtedly, present circumstances represent a set of issues absolutely unforeseen except in a Graduate Business School program. Even there, variables that have brought on the current situation would have represented a set of circumstances that would be almost unimaginable.

An Unimaginable Scenario Even In Business School

government-motorsIf today’s situation were visualized as a raging river that needed to be crossed then the raging waters would include the economy, weak demand, and industry collapse. Players crossing the river represent an intrepid and diverse group and these players are crossng the raging waters right now because either they must or they see opportunity. Some group members chose this pathway and some had no choice but were swept up in the torrent and some did not have any opportunity but to participate or see collapse of a strategic industry in the US, North America and World.

Is It Academic and Historic

Two decades ago the scene was set for a massive business takeoverthat became the story memorialized in  Barbarians at the Gate written by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar describing a massive Wall Street and Industry economic power play.

This masterful work memorialized how financial minds envisioned and executed maneuvers to control huge financial sums and industries and has been called one of the most influential business books of all time — the definitive account of the largest takeover in Wall Street history.   This tomb addressed a facet of business that was totally dominating or crushing depending on which player you study.

Auto Industry Reality Is Not Academic

chrysler-fiatToday’s auto industry reality makes Barbarians seem to be only a prelude to the real business, industry and governmental drama. Reality composed of GM and Chrysler collapse, dealers terminated in a wholesale manner, UAW rethinking just about everything, US Government input to business plans, car lines being shut or sold, key players and groups stepping up to acquire select assets. These circumstances are absolutely beyond Graduate School Business Class 633.

The Real School of Hard Knocks

Current status of the US and World auto manufacturing is absolutely hard ball.  There are massive implications for current Corporate and National priorities around the Globe

Significance of the current situation has implications which go far beyond today’s immediate chaos.  Decisions made in 2009 will very tightly set the course of the Global auto industry tightly for the next five (5) to seven (7) years and set he paradigm for long term future.

Massive changes are going to happen in 2009.  Stating that another way, a hundered years ago was the foundation fr what is in place today.  How far into the future the survivors and new players go remains to be seen.  However, for the next hundred years, or at minimum couple of decades, decisions made in 2009 will play a seminal role in automotive manufacturing dominance.

Fusion & Prius Hybrid Vehicle Road Test

May 2, 2009 Hybrid Cars No Comments

Back-to Back Road Tests

hybrid-logos-combinedToday, I did a back-to-back road test with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2009 Toyota Prius.  In conclusion the Prius gets better gas mileage but the Fusion wins the Tribune vote for the car to drive.

Specific Technical Points

Both cars have electric air conditioning that keeps you cool, whether-or-not the engine is running, but the Fusion system performed better.  When driving, Fusion engine cut-in and cut-out are substantially smoother.  Fusion electro-hydraulic brakes are the finest that I have ever driven! 

Fusion electric power steering provided good roadway feedback and had good ressistance in general driving.  Add a modern interior and good mid-size dimensions and the package is very well thought out.

Escape Based Hybrid

fusion-frontFusion hybrid technology was initially developed for the Escape SUV and introduced to the market in 2004.  This system reportedly took five years for 100 engineers to successfully complete the hybrid powertrain.  These years of experience has helped to refine and improve reliability for the hybrid system in the Fusion. 

4WD Hybrid Fusion Possibility

Having installed the hybrid system initially in the Escape SUV and in a 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) platform provided Ford a great opportunity to observe product abuse that would be somewhat unlikely for a passenger car.  This 4WD experience might even result in a 4WD Fusion Hybrid in the future and 4WD is definitely a feature that appeals to a segment of the automobile buying market.

Fusion Recommendations

fusion-interior

Recommendations to improve the Fusion would include HID or LED headlamps as an option.  Customers who buy technology laden cars expect HID or LED headlamps as an available option. 

My road test assistant reported that the passenger seat was hard and not as comfortable as expected.  The rear seat has good headroom for a 6′ tall passenger.  I’m not too sure that the rear seat would be confortable for any extended period of time, however.

Prius Road Test

prius-side-viewPrius has super technology and this has been addressed for a long time.  Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT is not as smooth as the Fusion. 

When the engine would turn on and turn off it was very noticeable compared to the Fusion which you could still feel, but substantially less.

A Spartan Space Ship

prius-interiorSome of the Prius controls and instrument positions could be considered unique.  All controls work fine, although the Prius seemed a bit more like a Spartan Space Ship rather than the Luxury Sedan of the leather appointed Fusion.

2010 Prius Is Coming

The 2010 Prius will be arriving in dealerships within the next couple of weeks. 

Review of the 2010 product book clearly shows that the 2010 Prius will be substantially better in base form and in fully optioned form.  Tribune readers can look forward to this update.

prius-informationDid I say that the 2010 Prius was about to show up?  Well, reference to the product book would lead me to believe that the 2010 Prius is going to address this Spartan Space Ship situation

LED Headlamps

Of note is that the 2010 Prius will no longer have HID headlamps available.  In review of the product brochure this fact seemed hard to believe. 

However, halogen is the standard headlamp system and top of the line Prius V models will have LED headlamps.  This is very high-tech technology.  All models will have LED taillamps.

When the 2010 Prius shows up there will be two high-mileage impressive cars at the dealerships. 

 The 2010 Prius will be a much more refined product but the Tribune predicts that the Fusion will still win as the the best overall Driver’s Hybrid Car

Each car is a winner and each car has their own unique personality.  If you are looking for fantastic mileage then your selection between these two requires driving each.  At minimum that will be a very educational experience.

Sales Improve

Car Sales Bottom Out and Rebound

Car sales analysts are paid a lot of money to get the numbers right.  Massive investments ride on predictions of economists and mathematicians.  Production decisions must be made months in advance so that suppliers can have the parts and components ready at the assembly line. … Continue Reading

Ford Vision

February 27, 2009 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

Ford is the Premiere North Americford-logoan Automaker

To say these words almost sounds like shock for many who have followed American and World automotive car business.  However, the simple fact that both GM and Chrysler are at the financial edge and recognize cash flow failure and bankruptcy are real possibilities absolutely moves both companies to a file folder with the title of “Reorganize Business Model”.

Automotive history texts will likely say that Ford Motor Company recognized that its Business Model did not work for the 21st Centry in 2004 and that if effective change was not implemented then Ford was going to fail.  Harsh reality for a company incorporated in 1903 but absolutely true based on money in and money out. … Continue Reading

GM & Chrysler Reorganization Opportunity

February 27, 2009 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

gm-logoNow that they are at the brink of collpse, GM and Chrysler have an opportunity to restructure their businseeses to be successful in the 21st century.

For the past 30 years American “Big 3” automakers have seen their market share drop from 75% to 45% or an average annual loss of 1% per year. Loss of market share and today’s crisis economy have effectively put Ford, GM, and Chrysler in peril. Fortunately, Ford recognized several years ago that it had to restructure to survive and today they are the one automaker not seeking Federal assistance. Ford products coming into the market in 2009 show company vitality and provide strong quality and customer value. … Continue Reading

Random Photos From Automotive Tribune Site

rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image

Spin Ball and Click On Key Word for Article

2010 Camaro accident reconstruciton AMC auction automobile bailout bankruptcy Barrett Jackson beach racing Big 3 Bill Heard Chevrolet Bill Lear biomechanics black box BMW board of directors Bob Lutz bondurant brake pads brake rotor brakes Brembo Brock Yates Cadillac Camaro Cannonball Cannonball Run Cape Kennedy Car & Driver car allowance rebate system CARB CARFAX cash for clunkers CATAIR catwalk Charles Erwin Wilson Chevrolet Chrysler Cirrus SR22 collision analysis Copart Crane Cams crash test Csabe Csere CTS-V Daytona Daytona Beach Daytona Beach spring car show Diesel DOT Dr. Robert Zubrin Drive In Christian Church driving Ed Cole EDR electric car Energy Technology Conference Energy Victory EPA EV1 Fiat flight data recorder flood damage flood damage cars flying Ford Forensic Engineering fuel economy fuel mileage Fusion Hybrid gas guzzler GM GM Saturn HID high performance driver training horsepower Hudson Hornet hybrid hybrid vehicles Iacocca IIHS IIHS< Insurance Institute of Highway Safety insurance company Insurance Institute of Highway Safety James May Jeep Commander 2009 jeffrey coats Jon Hall Chevrolet labor legacy cost Maintenance Mercedes Benz Mikronite Corporation Mulally Nano NASA NASCAR new car new truck NHTSA NTSB One Lap of America Ormond Beach P-51 personal watercraft pickup truck Porsche Carrera GT Prius recycle restructure restructuring Richard Kubis Rick Wagoner Robert McElroy Sadisco SAE sales Smart Car Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle Space Shuttle special attraction speedweeks Spruce Creek Fly In Starship Enterprise Star Trek Tata Tata Nano Texas Transportation Institute texting TF1 television theft Top Gear torque total Toyota TTI turkey rod run UAW Ural motorcycle USDOE USDOT VEBA VFR. IFR wagoner Who Killed the Electric Car? Yugo z06 Zastava ZL-1 ZR1

WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Richard Kubis Explains Solar Thermal Hybrid Automobile