In broad outline, the emerging dynamics in the world automotive industry look similar to those in electronics. Three features of the current competitive environment are particularly noteworthy. First, microelectronics are having a powerful impact on production technologies in the industrial countries. Possibilities for labor-saving mass production or flexible custom assembly are expanding rapidly. Secondly, product innovation continues at a rapid pace. Microelectronics and new materials are beginning to have a pronounced impact on automotive products. Some current models incorporate high-strength plastic body components and radically new transmission and steering systems. The next few years will witness replacement of metal by ceramics in major engine components; replacement of traditional wiring by single-cable communications systems linking smart power chips; and the advent of computer mapping and first-generation vehicle guidance systems.
KeywordsUnit Cost Automobile Industry Japanese Firm Auto Industry Toyota Production System
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