June 6, 2005

Harbour Report names Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan, GM and Ford among new benchmarks

Detroit, Michigan – The Harbour Report, a report on auto manufacturing issued by Harbour Consulting, reports new benchmarks in its 2005 report. Among its findings are that Toyota’s consistency differentiates it from the rest of the industry; the Chrysler Group has improved the most among major manufacturers; Nissan slipped slightly but its labour productivity remains strong; GM’s Oshawa, Ontario #1 plant is the most labour productive assembly plant; and GM and Ford have improved despite lower volumes.

The Harbour Report, first published in 1989, measures assembly, stamping and powertrain productivity performances for North American automotive manufacturers. The labour hours per vehicle (HPV) measure calculates the total salary and hourly labour content required to produce one vehicle.

The report states that most North American manufacturers improved their manufacturing operations in 2004, but Toyota’s labour productivity lead equates to a US$350 to US$500 per vehicle cost advantage relative to domestic manufacturers. The company outsources the least of all manufacturers.

The Chrysler Group reached a 9.5 per cent improvement in engine productivity, and since 2001, has gained 19 per cent in productivity across assembly, stamping and powertrain measures.

Among assembly plants, GM’s Oshawa #1 set the benchmark for labour productivity with a measure of 15.85 labour hours per vehicle, overtaking Nissan’s Altima assembly line in Smyrna, Tennessee, which degraded from 15.33 to 16.10 in 2004.

In overall productivity, five of the six companies with total assembly, stamping and powertrain operations in North America – Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota – showed improvement in 2004, led by Toyota’s 5.5 per cent overall gain. Ford finished slightly ahead of Chrysler on assembly productivity and made its most substantial progress in powertrain operations, where engine labour productivity improved seven per cent. Assembly productivity improved in nearly every Ford plant.

General Motors continued to improve its HPV by 2.5 per cent in 2004, factoring in assembly, stamping and powertrain assembly.

Other measurements released in the report included assembly, where NUMMI, the joint venture operation between General Motors and Toyota led the overall company assembly rankings with labour HPV of 21.78, an improvement of 0.6 per cent over 2003; stamping, where Toyota widened its lead in stamping labour hours per vehicle, improving 28.3 per cent; and powertrain, where Toyota led the field at 3.07 hours per engine.

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