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Old 08-23-2018, 01:30 PM   #41
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bikendan's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Camano Island, Washington
Posts: 23,357
Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
Toyota or similar could make RVs in their US plants using production processes perfected in Japan. Quite feasible. But.....

Japanese cars (or any other product) weren't all that great when they first started in the US. Japanese Junk was the byword for something made in Japan in the late 50s through much of the 60s. However, by the end of the 60s, process improvement, led by Americans like Deming, had brought huge improvements in quality to Japanese production. Especially in automobiles (and motorcycles). Japanese quality knocked Britain out of the US auto and motorcycle markets.

Starting in the 70s, Toyota, Honda, and Datsun (now Nissan) began designing specifically for the US market instead of strictly for Japanese. The combination of very good quality along with US-friendly design was an incredible winner. Production of US type vehicles was generally moved to the US in the 80s to avoid tariff wars, and negative publicity from nearly driving the Big 3 under.

The question is whether or not a Japanese (or Korean) company would have the stomach for the investment and the likely initial losses in setting up a US plant producing RVs using home country production processes.

The same could be done by a US company but there is so much tradition and inertia in the current systems to overcome (see Ford). The current dealer model would not work, as the quality model requires investment in training and technical skills at all levels - not just at the manufacturer. Standardization of repair technicians and sales (including pricing) would be needed (is there any real difference from one Toyota dealer to the next?). Either new suppliers would be needed, or Lippert, Dometic, and other key parts suppliers would need to be dragged into the quality world. So there is a huge investment needed outside of just the manufacturing plant to get automotive quality.

just my thoughts and experiences
Fred W
Well said!
Dan-Retired California Firefighter/EMT
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