The car manufacturing process has developed by leaps and bounds since its introduction. It’s an industry that will continue to change, grow and mature with society. But just how far has it come and where is it heading?
Before the popular mass production of cars, there were independent bespoke car manufacturers. Brothers, Charles and Frank Duryea were founders of the first ever car manufacturing company in the US, initiated in 1893. It wasn’t until 1901 that Ransom E Olds started using a similar method to that of which Henry Ford would later make famous.
One of the many success stories that all ‘petrolheads’ know of is that of Henry Ford’s first Model T and what it did for the manufacturing industry. The Model T was made accessible for the everyday person to afford, which caused one of the first real cases of supply and demand within the automotive industry. With that, this form of production line revolutionised the manufacturing process.
After cars had become more accessible, ideas were sparked in the minds of car creators. Manufacturers began bringing out certain cars for specific practicalities. If you needed a car for off road driving… you got a Land Rover. A compact car… a Fiat or a Volkswagen. There were numerous cars beginning to create a niche market of their own.
This also led to cars being created for the higher-class customers. It didn’t take long for our ancestors to capitalise on materialistic needs of those with the money to spend on high quality automobiles.
Whilst you may be thinking of how obvious this element is when it comes to manufacturing cars, it’s actually a relatively new and fast developing concept. Seat belts were introduced in 1968 when the government started focusing more on health and safety of automobiles.
It also wasn’t until the 1970s when air bags were highlighted as an important addition to the car’s safety features. Even then, it took until the 1990’s for the technology to develop and be widely accepted by major car manufacturers.
Even though Henry Ford’s manufacturing system is iconic, it is now used as more of a blueprint for a lot of major manufacturing companies. One of the latest developments in the manufacturing process is Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing.
JIT was developed to help the bigger companies be eco-friendlier and more cost effective with their stock and factory space. It took the general process where manufacturers would stockpile cars and parts and transformed it into a well-managed system whereby demand and production worked parallel to each other. This ensures that materials, parts, time working, and the amount of waste are kept to a minimum.
We’re in a time where car models are not the only things competing within the manufacturing industry, but technology is too. From electric cars, to connected cars that can act as their own internet hub, giving the passengers the opportunity to have internet access as well as coming with a plethora of other devices within the vehicle! The manufacturing industry is developing and with Industry 4.0, there is much talk of robots taking the humans jobs, but don’t worry, you’ll be better off because of it.
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