labor and manufacturing process for autos

Does anyone know where I can find out about the manufacturing process of each of the automakers? I want to learn, from start to finish, how a car or truck is made by each of the companies. Right now, I'm thinking of visiting several plants, if that is even doable. The reason is I'm doing research for a series I plan on doing for Economic Populist. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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MIT study 20 years ago

First, you need to read the MIT study that became a best selling book two decades ago, [The Machine That Changed the World]. It was the largest and most thorough study ever undertaken of any industry -- MIT's five-year, fourteen-country International Motor Vehicle Program -- this book describes the entire managerial system of lean production. It was just released again in March of last year. Not sure if it was updated.

Track down the authors - one or more of them went to a sort of think tank that focuses entirely on the auto industry.

Brock Yates, who has been writing about cars since I was a kid 40 years ago, wrote a book in 1996, [The Critical Path: Inventing an Automobile and Reinventing a Corporation] that provides the details of how the second generation minivan was designed, prototyped, tested, and put into production.

The 1994 book [Comeback: The Fall & Rise of the American Automobile Industry] by Paul Ingrassia and Joseph B. White is also good.

Former Ford CEO Donald Peterson wrote a book about ten years ago. I mention this because Jon. Larson, author of Elegant Technology (an excellent book itself!), wrote that Peterson was one of the last U.S. auto CEOs who not only did not come from a financial predators background, but actually understood industrial production.

The most recent book on auto I would recommend is expensive, [High Noon in the Automotive Industry] was written in 2006 by Dr. Helmut Becker who was Chief Economist at BMW.

For the most current info, track down the authors of [The Machine That Changed the World].

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