Business historian Michael A. Cusumano details the spectacular developments in Japanese productivity, quality, and process flexibility that have occurred over the past thirty years.
Share For decades, through the boom and bust years of the 20th century, the American automotive industry had an immense impact on the domestic economy.
The number of new cars sold annually was a reliable indicator of the nation's economic health. In early Februaryhowever, news reports showed the multi-billion dollar U.
Big profits were posted again.
American auto making companies reigned worldwide in as the biggest and most profitable. Few could have foreseen the industry colossus which rose from its inauspicious origins more than a century earlier.
Growth With the invention of the automobile and the mass production techniques of Henry Ford, which made the machine affordable, the American economy has been transformed by this key element in its prosperity. Tens of thousands of jobs were created as the industry grew.
Workers were required for the assembly lines on which they were constructed. Part by part, Ford's model Ts became the first most popular, affordable, mass produced cars.
The steel industry and machine tool makers also flourished as the automotive industry required ever-increasing supplies and components for the engines, chassis and other metal fixtures of the cars. Beyond these basics, every car needed a battery, head lights, interior upholstery and paint.
Entirely new businesses, or subsidiaries of existing business, were created to meet the needs of the automobile industry as it grew incrementally year after year. Other unexpected economic effects rippled outward into numerous additional industries as more people bought and operated automobiles and eventually became an essential mode of transportation and commerce.
Creation Cars required insurance coveragewhich accounted for hundreds of millions in revenue for insurance companies. Nationwide advertising campaigns for cars added millions to ad agencies and print and broadcast media.
The maintenance and repair of cars became a major business. One of the biggest winners of all was the petroleum industry which sold gasoline for the ever-expanding numbers of cars on the road.
When World War II began, the automotive industry geared up for military production. The Jeep, a highly maneuverable, overland vehicle first built by the Willys Company, was manufactured in large numbers for military use. Chrysler retooled to build tanks. In the immediate years after World War II, pent up demand for new cars gave the industry a boost in profits.
Under the Eisenhower administration in the early s, a national network of interstate highways was built. When the system was completed, a driver could cross the country on the four-lane roads from New York to Los Angeles without encountering a single red light.
Suburbia As Americans became more mobile, millions moved into the developing and evolving suburbs just beyond the metropolitan limits of the country's large cities.
Suburban housing construction boomed to serve the lodging requirements of families leaving cramped cities for relatively spacious ranch homes on a sizable plot of land.
Countless returning veterans were among the new suburbanites, encouraged and enabled to purchase homes by the generous terms of government insured loans for people who had served in the military.
Further adding to the economic boom were the furnishings, household appliances and hundreds of additional incidental items needed for each new home. The trucking industry also enjoyed a sustained period of economic growthbeginning in the Interstate Highway era, as more goods were shipped via truck, and through a so-called "piggy-back" system through which trucks were transported by train to key locations and then unloaded from the railroads and sent to their destinations via roads.
The impact on the American economy of these industries and their commercial enterprises and accomplishments was immense. In some years, 10 million new cars were sold.
For many years afterwards, American auto manufacturers dominated the world market. But after a period of complacency, major auto makers encountered the formidable competition of foreign auto makers, principally the Japanese and Germans. Market share was lost by American cars to these new foreign brands, which provided better gas mileage, affordability and attractive design features.
The Early Years In there were only four cars officially registered in the U.Mar 13, · Is Japan losing its competitiveness?
13 March Author: Richard Katz, The Oriental Economist. Although Japan’s merchandise trade deficit in — the first since — is a product of the natural disasters of , it is a harbinger of things to come.
Sometime within this decade, Japan is likely to start running chronic trade deficits. The U.S. economy was booming, especially the automobile industry. In some years, 10 million new cars were sold. For many years afterwards, American auto manufacturers dominated the world market.
The automotive industry is also an important source of employment for Japan: million employees (over 10 percent of the million total labor force) are either directly or . Today, the modern global automotive industry encompasses the principal manufacturers, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, and DaimlerChrylser, all of which operate in a global competitive marketplace.
It is suggested that the globalization of the automotive industry, has greatly. Japan’s Manufacturing Competitiveness Strategy vii Opportunities highlighted by Japanese companies, officials, and academies, as well as U.S. companies in Japan, include the following: • Early collaborations between U.S.
and Japanese university professors, engineers, . Looking for the reasons Japanese companies have managed this problem so well, many authors cite the contributions of Japanese workers and Japanese culture.
However, the performance of Japanese firms in auto production depends not on the employment of Japanese workers but on Japanese innovations in technology and management.