How is just-in-time production affecting the auto industry?

The idea of “just-in-time” production, a wildly popular system for the auto industry that involves the rapid production of last-minute assembly lines, is coming under more scrutiny as manufacturers try to mitigate costs and…

How is just-in-time production affecting the auto industry?

The idea of “just-in-time” production, a wildly popular system for the auto industry that involves the rapid production of last-minute assembly lines, is coming under more scrutiny as manufacturers try to mitigate costs and logistical challenges.

Just-in-time production has allowed automobile manufacturers to satisfy the demands of each consumer individually, without having to assemble a factory in their homes or have someone make a shipment all over the world. But over the last decade, it has become a large part of their business model, with hundreds of millions of vehicles manufactured, each using it at least in part.

Prices and inventories for used cars have also risen dramatically. Moreover, the reports of mass layoffs have become much more common, creating huge logistical demands.

Last week, Fiat Chrysler said that its Flex line of trucks would stop production this August and that it would no longer build its Dodge Durango in July. The plants that make the fleet do not have enough buyers to keep them going, David Cole, the founder of the Center for Automotive Research, told USA Today.

“It is not a satisfactory situation,” Mr. Cole said. “The question is, ‘Where does this leave FCA?’ ” Mr. Cole added that it could open the door for other automakers to follow suit.

This week, the Pentagon said it was evaluating whether to release all of its surplus automatic weapons, such as “bump stocks,” to the U.S. Tactical Firearms Association, which is not licensed by the Department of Defense.

The Consumer Technology Association, meanwhile, told Fortune magazine that it supported the idea of banning bump stocks and deploying national standards for gun retailing.

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