Delineating comparative flexibility in car assembly: The problem of 'wide selection'

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Coffey, D.


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 5, Number 1, p.18-30 (2005)



Car assemblers often accommodate situations where the number of model specifications in a range significantly exceeds the expected lifetime volume of sales. This paper re-appraises the implications of this fact for the delineation of 'flexibility' in assembly, broached from the viewpoint of relationships that might exist between total number of model specifications, finished product stocks, and customer lead times. The paper notes that a persistent and growing gap separates some Japanese firms from their Western competitors in terms of the width of selection permitted customers. There is a need for greater attention to detailed marketing strategy when studying differences in manufacturing capabilities. Formal parts of the analysis are developed in an appendix, and illustrative material is employed throughout. Copyright © 2005 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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