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Ford adopts Toyota's manufacturing system

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"What this means is instead of making sure every Focus around the world is built exactly the same way using exactly the same parts, the build sequence - from how the major components are brought together, to the points in space in the bodyshop where parts are welded - is identical.

"Common process means products can be tailored to different market requirements while retaining the high degree of basic component commonality that helps cut costs and speed the development process. And it's not just about being able to build different body styles; even wheelbases and widths can be changed. Common process is what Toyota has been doing for a couple of decades, and what GM is now starting to do.

"A key part of the Ford plan is centralized development of basic vehicle architectures. Example: The next-generation Focus architecture will be developed in Dearborn with Japanese and European engineers to ensure cost is kept low enough to make a version of the car viable for North American buyers, while giving Europeans the ability to deliver the unique body styles and features their markets demand."

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