April 5, 2009

How many hours does it take to build a car?

Before I talked about the inflated wage figures we've heard about US auto makers are not true.

Hourly wages are only part of the equation though. You also have to look at the time it takes to build a car since hourly wages x hours = labor cost. So how many hours does it take on average to build a car?

Article from Quality Digest : Are Union Shops More Productive? lists the average time to build a new car for the major auto makers:

Toyota: 19.46 hours
Honda: 20.62 hours
GM: 23.09 hours
Ford: 24.48 hours
DaimlerChrysler: 25.17 hours

The Japanese auto makers are better on average. Toyota is 23% faster than Chrysler.

But the time to make a car varies from plant to plant. Older plants have outdated equipment and designs and are less efficient. The Japanese plants in the US are newer and generally better facilities. The Quality Digest article also lists the most efficient individual auto manufacturing plants.

6 of the top 10 plants in the US are from GM, Ford & Chrysler. The most efficient plant is a GM plant in Canada at 15.85 hours per car.

Note that the article is from 2006 so its a little dated (hence the reference to DaimlerChrysler).

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