That’s my reading of this year’s Harbour Report, which was just released. The annual report from Harbour Consulting measures manufacturing productivity at North American plants.
But General Motors won three of the report’s four Best Plant awards (Honda took the fourth).
More broadly, the gap among the six major North American automakers continues to narrow.
For example, the difference between the most and least productive in total manufacturing productivity was 5.17 hours, or about $300, per vehicle. However, that is down from 7.33 hours per vehicle in 2005, and less than one-third of the gap in 1998.
Profitability is still a huge problem for
A Harbour news release says this reflects “a variety of factors, including the large difference in health care and pension costs, lower average revenue, as well as higher costs of rebates and low-interest rate financing required to trim inventories.”
The release credits the automotive unions for working harder in 2006 to create for flexible labor agreements, but says they “must go further to overcome their persistent health care and pension cost disadvantage vs. Honda, Nissan and
However, the improvement in productivity is still significant.
'Improving productivity in the face of lower production is a huge accomplishment, but none of the domestic manufacturers can afford to let up,' said
Will the Detroit Three every make it back to profitability? What do you think?