Needed a couple things repaired on my Jetta over the years, but nothing that screamed poor assembly quality, just bad parts spec. Who uses a brittle thin plastic tube for the windshield washers anyway?
Honestly... it boils down to people. And mainly leadership, because leadership guides, manages, decides the core values/goals/cultures... be it a relationship with a supplier or the development process or the MFG & ASM process.
And with that in mind... the site of MFR can have an impact when compared to another site, BUT... but only because of HOW the leadership decides to commonize OR differentiate the sites... willingly or unwillingly. While national cultures may have some differentiation... in my experience... workers in general want to do a good job and saboteurs are a great minority/fraction. If a specific MFG/ASM site does have a statistically problematic quality history... it can be root caused to the leadership and what they chose to do different than say a place that has a better history.
Those that hold the reigns guide the results for the most part. And this is common sense as most would probably agree.
These threads often only focus around the superficial issues/causes and not the underlying ones. That's why they can become so heated. It's like politics. Most politicians (and media, because their focus is ad revenue) focus the attention on what is right in front of the voter in order to drive emotion, because IMHO... emotion often times trump intellect in voter decision making.
Last edited by uncleho; 10-05-2012 at 10:36 AM.
VW's decision (or any other profit-oriented company for that matter) is obviously financial... as it should be for them.
Given we believe people are the same the world over (in terms of having pride in their work and just wanting to do somethng well in order to make a good living), if VW (or any other) cannot mimic a good operation across the world... then clearly they are not doing it right.
Not doing it right can be everything from selecting bad leaders to head new facility to trying to penny-pinch in an emerging market, because they want to squeeze that market's perceived advantages of every once of profit possible... all the while ignoring how that can drive the workforce to not be able to achieve what their 'proven' processes are capable of.
Meanwhile, everyone is typing on their Chinese keybords using their Chinese mice and checking messages on their chinese made phones to find out what's for dinner which is being cooked with chinese appliances that are being put on chinese plates using chinese made utensiles being held up by chinese made tables and chairs and in the background, music is playing from a chinese made stereo and then turning it off using a chinese made remote then walking to the washroom and brushing their teeth with a chinese made toothbrush and snuggling in bed in their chinese made comforters.
...and then there are rich people.
Easy like Sunday Morning.
What's wrong with Connecticut?
Mexico and Brasil have been building VW's for over 20 years. What difference does it make that a mexican put it together? I'm sure the Mexican worker will do just as good a job.
Easy like Sunday Morning.
My Mk4 GTI from Brazil has had no reliability issues. I've had exactly one broken pcv hose and no other issues.
Quality control systems for the production lines should be very similar from plant to plant for the same vehicle. So the controls in Germany should be mirrored in Mexico, Brazil, etc. Most Mk4 issues do come from supplier parts and not from build quality issues. Working as a Quality Engineer, a large part of the PPAP process is confirming your controls and validating your production against the manufacturer's engineering standards. Assuming VW has done its due diligence and verified everything at the plant in Mexico, the cars rolling out of there should be no different than the ones coming from Germany.
A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned. -Shepherd Book "Firefly"
I believe all Jettas globally are assembled in Puebla? The listings I've seen show that it's made in Puebla, China, and India (as a Skoda). But I also read something else that said it was assembled as a CKD (completely knockdown kit) in everywhere but Puebla. If that's the case they are already building cars in Mexico and sending them to Europe.
Also, I think the Jetta Sportwagen/Golf Wagon are made exclusively in Puebla.
Last edited by ajd187; 10-05-2012 at 01:50 PM.
I don't think you'd see any quality issues with Puebla. They have been building cars there forever, and it's a state of the art facility.
My 09 Jetta Sportwagen (really a Golf wagon) is built there and seems fine.
Most of the assembly is done by robots anyway. I would guess that a robot in Wolfsburg operated by an Eastern European immigrant is going to work the same as a robot operated by a Mexican in Puebla. After all both robots are probably running software built in Germany by Germans.
This is also the #1 plant in North American auto production, two years running:
BODY SHOP - Robots are generally the realm of the BODY SHOP (i.e. Where the sheet metal comes together to create the unibody via welding/adhesion/fastening processes.). They are used in other places, too, but the majority will be found there. When most people envision robots in car plants, they see robots tooled with resistance spot welders welding various seams/joints/etc... all the while throwing sparks all over. While robots may offer better "hours per unit" metrics to those counting the cost of operators, their prime benefit is the repeatability and accuracy (and not missing a spot) of placing said welds vs. a human. That's important for obvious reasons, but probably especially so today as MFRs push the realm of efficiency not only in operations (the plant), but engineering (the design). If you think about it... the control of the components' adhesion/fastening/union allows for better correlation to what is being designed/simulated/verified on the computer model... be it actual packaging or FEA for the safety cell structure. Even though robots are highly used here, there generally are still machines and/or certain operations that require humans to do preliminary work when robots are deemed impractical and/or not feasible based on the process complexity. And that point should be remembered - COMPLEXITY. Robots are generally used in roles where ergonomics or safety are high and complexity of the job is low (i.e. Mundane roles that may drive repeatability/accuracy issues in a human.
PAINT SHOP - I don't know for sure, but I don't think it was long before robots started welding for us that they started painting for us. The same benefits that hold true for welding holds true for painting. That and robots don't mind breathing the fumes. Well... they do have protective suits, but they don't sweat and piss and moan about it. Repeatability and accuracy... not to mention not missing a spot.
TRIM & FINAL ASSEMBLY - I think different MFRs use different terms, but once the unibody is finished in the Paint Shop, it goes to a line or lines that begin the assembly of all of the component systems. Today several sub assembly lines can build up certain subsystems like chassis systems or interior systems. Or depending on the process philosophy of the MFR... all of those subsystems may be "buy parts" that are shipped directly to the Assembly Plant already assembled and ready to be installed into the body structure. In the old days... most all of these subsystems were done in-house, but as the MFRs decided to focus on "core competencies" (i.e. outsource)... these subsystems became the realm of the tier suppliers (JCI, Lear, Delphi, Magna, etc.). Anyways... robots are not generally used in this area, because the job of installing these subsystems are generally too complex for robots such that any attempt would create frankenstein machines that offer more maintenance headaches than operational value (i.e. Some jobs are better placed in human hands, because of the dexterity, coordination, flexibility, intellect, etc. that we have over robots.). It's not to say they aren't welcomed, because large items like windshields and their sealer/adhesive application are often done by robots for the same reason the robots are used in BODY & PAINT. Operators installing an IP sub assembly basically just need to guide the assemblage into the car, align to the locating features, seat the assemblage, get some fasteners, and run-down the fasteners. I don't know of the feedback controls for assuring fastening today in the world of General Assembly (vehicle assembly), but if it is like powertrain, it is as "easy" as monitoring proper torque and/or angle is met and then counting how many fastening cycles were done per unit (unit = vehicle).
ROBOTS AREN'T SMART - Even though BODY & PAINT use robots, there can still be issues. Afterall... robots will only do what they are programmed. If something in the stampings are not right... the robot will not know any better. If their spot welding tools are not maintained well... it won't know any better (the controller for the welder will, though). Automation has its benefits for sure, but it is not the answer for everything "quality" related.
MAN'S ROLE - At the end of the day... humans make the decisions, program the equipment, monitor the lines, maintain the operations, and even operate the machines. How well humans do that is the realm of the leadership/management who runs the operation and nurtures a MFG culture that motivates. And let's not forget those who design the products! MFG is a variable in the "quality" of a product for sure, but a lot of what MFG can or cannot do well is derived from the design. That's where principles like DFM/DFA came about. And then imagine all of this broken down to other levels... or tiers. The suppliers who sell the subsystems face the same challenges.
MORE THAN ONE VARIABLE - There are TONS of variables that affect whether you like your purchase or not and while the origin may have an influence... it is but one tiny facet in a universe of potential influences! Heck... even the design of the automation/equipment cannot always be assumed to be good... or capable. Afterall... humans designed and built and program the machines. That's where procedures generally related to PROCESS CAPABILITY comes in. If said automation was not properly validated/verified/tested for proper functionality... you will have a problem. But then... how well it performs depends on each MFR's expectations as there is no one rule of thumb or standard.
I'm now rambling. The point I'm trying to make is there are a lot of influences and any belief that any one variable is some how the most important is silly. Well... actually... there is one that I mentioned in an earlier post. The leadership is the key variable. In a perfect world... everyone would be equally responsible, but unfortunately modern business revolves around "leaders" making the critical decisions that drive/influence nearly everything that happens. That doesn't mean the grunts are free of accountability. No way! We swim together or sink separately.
Last edited by uncleho; 10-06-2012 at 12:23 PM.