Elon Musk Calls Toyota's Auto Factories Slower Than "Grandma With A Walker"
“The car industry thinks they're really good at manufacturing and actually they are quite good at manufacturing.
"Which is the Toyota Production System," replied Johnson.
So when he told investment analysts the next day that his Silicon Valley company would out-Toyota Toyota when it comes to lean manufacturing, he no doubt believes it will happen.
Brushing aside production problems that have delayed by at least six months the launch of Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market car, Musk confidently predicted: “The competitive strength of Tesla long-term is not going to be the car; it's going to be the factory.” By simplifying car design to make them easier to manufacture, installing more robots and packing cars more densely on the assembly line, Musk is convinced Tesla can build as many as one million vehicles a year in a single factory -- four times the output of a typical auto plant and greater than even the world's busiest factory, Volkswagen's flagship plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
It's all about staying flexible and responsive to changes in the marketplace, which, according to Toyota, saves money in the long run.
Elon Musk, the visionary entrepreneur who launched a Tesla convertible into outer space on Feb. 6, is nothing if not audacious.
He might be the only one who thinks so.
"Yeah, we don't think so," countered Musk.
But ask most lean manufacturing experts and they'll say Musk’s vision of a fully automated factory cranking out a million cars a year is a wasteful folly that will gobble up billions of dollars in capital and ultimately fail.
It's way more than they think,” said Musk, calling the pace of today's auto factories slower than "grandma with a walker....Why shouldn't it at least be jogging speed?"
Musk implausibly aims to build one million copies of his next car, the Model Y crossover, at a yet-to-be-announced factory.
Difficult tasks are minimized, making it easier to operate and maintain the plant.
"It's treating it as more of an engineering and a technical problem as well," added Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel.
Ultimately, however, Liker believes that disaster will be averted “because smart people around him will discover (his ideas) don’t work."
The system, built a level below the assembly line, carries parts from a warehouse to the point of assembly and is likely aimed at eliminating the mounds of half-filled cardboard boxes crowding the aisles alongside the assembly line that FORBES observed on a 2016 visit to Fremont.
“I'm hopeful that people think that if we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we could probably solve Model 3 production.”
"The most fundamental difference is thinking about the factory really as a product, as a quite vertically integrated product," said Musk.
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