Saturn Orbits Car Making into the Twenty-First Century. A Case Study
INDUSTRIAL COLL OF THE ARMED FORCES WASHINGTON DC
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This case study focuses on the development and production of General Motors Saturn automobile and its impact on GMs declining competitive position in the industry. By implementing a management philosophy that relies on consensus decision-making, a manufacturing approach blending new technologies with a highly motivated work force, and a unique sales and distribution system, Saturn plans to meet its competition head-on, capturing 80 percent of its market from non-GM owners. In production since 1990, Saturn has been rated by automobile industry analysts to be one of the best in the compact car category in quality and styling at a highly favorable price. It ranked third in customer satisfaction behind the prestigious Lexus and Infiniti by one industry survey. Yet Saturn has not been profitable in its early years of production and still has not met its planned production capacity. The issues addressed in this case include an analysis of the pros and cons of GMs strategy to invest 3 billion in Saturn, a contrast of mass production to Saturns lean production techniques, a comparison of Saturns development to the defense acquisition process, and an assessment of the survivability of the U.S. automobile industry.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Surface Transportation and Equipment
- Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems