Is China’s Chery Lean?
So Chrysler is going the route of importing inexpensive cars from China. The deal was signed, in China, on the 4th of July, which is a curious date for finalizing such an agreement.
Chrysler chairman Tom LaSorda announced that the two firms would be exporting cars built by Chery to Latin America and Western Europe within a year and to Europe and North America by 2010. “We will combine Chrysler's research and technology and global reach with Chery's lean manufacturing,” he said.
Interesting. By “lean” does LaSorda (who knows what true “Lean manufacturing” is all about) mean “cheap” or “low labor cost?” I'd have to presume he means Lean as in the Toyota Production System.
Chery is only about a 10-year old company. According to the Wikipedia Page, about the company:
In its relentless pursuit of quality, Chery hired a Japanese engineer from Mitsubishi to head Chery's Lean/Six Sigma production systems, which were first applied to their cars in 2003.
A lean and six sigma double threat! Can Chery, who has been at this for three or four years, be better at Lean than Chrysler, who has probably been working on Lean, to some extent, for 20 years? Is it about being “lean” or is this deal all about cheap labor?
What do you think? I'm asking because I honestly don't know the answers here…