If you watched the 2013 North America International Auto Show (NAIAS) here at Detroit, you must have seen the Ford F150 assembly line display that Ford had set up to celebrate 100 years of the moving assembly line. The assembly line demonstrated production of the latest F150 truck at four different stages of manufacturing showing real robots and automation equipment. One thing is certain, this assembly line was nothing close to the assembly line Henry Ford invented 100 years ago. Modern assembly lines are highly automated, flexible and efficient than it was in the past. To learn more about this display you can check this story from WXYZ Detroit.
It was obvious at the auto show that the automotive industry is in a rebound. It was exciting to see all the latest models introduced by different carmakers. According to IHS, global auto production will grow 3.6 percent to reach 85 million in 2014, and will reach 100 million by 2018. To meet this rising demand and do it profitably, I noticed some trends that were discussed by carmakers at the auto show.
Many of them talked about the need to develop global car models. The idea is to build the same car model with subtle variations and sell it across the world. This not only keeps the program cost down for automakers but also helps consumers get the best car no matter where they live. The future cars would be made of advanced materials that are lighter and stronger than what we have seen so far. These cars will be more fuel-efficient with better performance and durability than the older models. In addition, to contain cost of production the assembly lines of the future are designed to maintain a high degree of standardization and flexibility. These objectives can be met if automakers can efficiently manage these growing complexities and accomplish predictable launches for the next generation vehicle programs. This will allow carmakers to meet their quality goals, ramp up production faster and cut cost overruns.