Advancing Sustainable Economic Systems
Most accept the notion that Ford was the first to mass produce cars. However, the car he mass produced was an ‘Edwardian’ car, based on a modular approach to car making. Ford took the car as it was understood in his day, added some incremental improvements and adapted it to be mass produced. Modern mass produced cars are not made like this. They use all-steel ‘monocoque’, or ‘unibody’ construction. This technology was made possible by Budd and Ledwinka’s invention, of the all-steel welded body. While Fordism was possible without Budd, Toyotism refined Fordism within Budd technology by enhancing its responsiveness to market demand: the ‘pull-through’ concept. Like Ford’s mass production of mechanical components - notably engines - Budd’s steel body technology requires very high initial investments, but once made, these allow low unit costs at high production volumes. Budd’s innovations constitute the basis for the economics of car making, notably its economies of scale.
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