While carmakers as well as companies don’t welcome rivals into their home turfs to share some of their production processes, Jaguar Land Rover is doing so. In fact, the British carmaker has been inviting manufacturing executives from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ford and others to visit its Solihull assembly site in England to take a look at its assembly of aluminum-bodied cars.
Why? It is because by doing so, it might save costs in the long run – when the industry adopts standards for raw materials and tools for assembling aluminum vehicles. These standards would reduce production costs, but would not get adopted unless bigger players in the auto industry take part.
According to Mark White, Jaguar Land Rover's chief technical specialist for aluminum, carmakers building vehicles with aluminum like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Ford have their own manufacturing system that employs various grades of aluminum and different rivets, glue, robots and measuring systems.
White disclosed Mercedes-Benz visited Jaguar Land Rover four months ago, and the British carmaker will have a chance to look at the German marque’s S class on a return visit. He said that Mercedes executives were impressed with what they saw at Jaguar Land Rover and even “took a lot of things we do away.”
He also disclosed that Audi has been at Jaguar Land Rover twice so far, and the UK group is “doing some work with them.” He added that he will take a look and the Audi A8 and has an open invitation to see the Q7. He added that Ford's aluminum manufacturing executives also paid a visit at Jaguar Land Rover.
White remarked that they could lower the cost of the aluminum production technology by getting into mass production. White noted that if a carmaker patents everything, everyone else will either find another way to do it or will not do it at all."
Ford agrees in principle with Jaguar Land Rover. Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said that the carmaker believes that certain industry standards can result to great benefits in terms of cost, quality, efficiency and innovation. [source: automotive news - sub. required]