Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This American Life: "NUMMI"

This week's This American Life focuses on the Fremont NUMMI plant, which closes operations today.

NUMMI was the first joint automotive venture in the United States (between GM and Toyota). GM was hoping to learn how to output small cars successfully and learn from Toyota's lean manufacturing methods; Toyota wanted to start manufacturing automobiles in the United States, but needed a partner to do so. When GM declared bankruptcy last year, they pulled out of NUMMI immediately. Toyota decided to do the same two months later (but gave the workers seven months' notice and contributed to the severance package).

Here's a news report from the 1980s highlighting the original NUMMI experiment; the venture seemed so hopeful then. It parallels parts of the THL episode.

Part 1:

Part 2:

1 comment:

Whit said...

The This American Life episode on NUMMI is well done and it will be interesting for anyone who thinks it's important for us to manufacture products here in the US.