Rate of Auto Production Leads to Poorer Vehicle Quality

Written by Automotive News

The recent surge in U.S. auto production is hurting vehicle quality because automotive parts suppliers have less time to fix problems that emerge on the line, Ford Motor Co.’s new global purchasing chief told reporters for Automotive News.

Hau Thai-Tang, who led the overhaul of Ford’s Mustang sports car in 2005, also said the No. 2 U.S. automaker is exploring a cost-cutting strategy that requires Ford to tweak the design of its global models for specific regions.

Auto parts suppliers, which closed scores of factories during the financial crisis, are operating around-the-clock to meet consumer demand for cars and trucks that is marching toward pre-recession levels.

“Everyone is running flat out and it’s contributing to some of the quality challenges that we’ve seen,” said Thai-Tang, who oversees Ford’s $100 billion global budget for everything from raw materials to marketing to paper towels.

U.S. auto sales are on pace to reach 15.6 million units this year, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Many analysts expect auto sales to exceed 16 million vehicles in 2014, possibly topping the 16.1 million vehicles sold in 2007...

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