Honda Marysville Plant Tops Harbour Reports’ Stamping Productivity List


Among the five largest automakers in North America composed of the Honda Motor Co., the Toyota Motor Corp. and the Detroit Big Three, which participated in the latest Harbour Report, Toyota led the pack with the best overall manufacturing productivity. Additionally, the Honda of America Manufacturing Inc.’s Marysville assembly plant has received top stamping productivity commendation from an auto researcher.

Honda’s Marysville plant, where the company produces the Accord sedan and coupe and Acura TL sedan, topped the list for stamping productivity. According to the Harbour Report, an annual study closely watched by Wall Street and industry analysts, the Japanese automaker also landed in first place for overall assembly performance in North America. The report divulged that each vehicle takes 21.1 hours to assemble.

Marysville-based Honda of America runs plants in Marysville, Russells Point, Anna and East Liberty and a research-and-development center in Raymond. The company makes the Honda Accord, Civic, Element and CR-V models and Acura TL and the RDX vehicles at its Central Ohio plants. About 13,700 workers in the area work on the improvement of its Honda body parts and product lines.

In 2006, General Motors and Honda posted the largest productivity gains among North American automakers, narrowing the gap with industry leader Toyota. GM also had a first with the most efficient plants in three of four categories measured in the study.

Toyota reclaimed the top spot from the Nissan Motor Co. in the Harbour Report. This was despite a two percent rise in the number of labor hours it took Toyota to build a vehicle. GM was fourth overall and highest among domestic manufacturers.

Toyota required 29.93 hours to build a vehicle last year, including stamping body parts, building the engine and transmission, and assembly. Nissan did not participate in this year’s study, but Harbour estimated it needed 29.97 hours – 1.5 more than in 2005 – based on the number of workers versus output.

Honda increased by 2.7 percent to 31.63 hours, and GM 2.5 percent to 32.36. DaimlerChrysler improved 2.4 percent, to 32.9 hours, and Ford 1.9 percent, to 35.1. The domestic automakers, meanwhile, continued to narrow the gap with the Japanese automakers. In 2002, GM needed nearly eight more hours than Toyota to build a vehicle, and now it is less than 2.5. GM has knocked nearly 16 hours off the time it takes to build a vehicle since 1997, and Toyota has trimmed less than two.

Ron Harbour, the president of Harbour Consulting of Troy, Mich., predicted that massive job cuts this year at the three domestics would lead to additional productivity gains because fewer workers will build nearly the same number of vehicles. Harbour noted that several UAW locals have adopted such agreements, which also will be an issue this summer in contract talks.

GM was able to improve more because it had further to go, Harbour said. “When you get down to Toyota’s level, you’re not going to make double-digit improvements,” he said. “It’s really started to pay off.”

Dan Sieger, a spokesman for the Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, would not comment on its productivity slip but said: “We look at a lot of different metrics, including our own studies, and we are always looking for ways to improve.”

Toyota has expanded rapidly in North America and elsewhere and produced more vehicles than GM in the first quarter for the first time. Some analysts wonder whether Toyota is stretched too thin, but Sieger said, “There’s no doubt our growth is a big challenge, but by all metrics our quality is still good and getting better.”


Source by Katie Jones

Intermodal Transport and Land Bridges


While most people are unaware of it, intermodal freight transport has been around for quite some time, going all the way back to the 1780s in England. The method of moving a container holding freight from one vehicle to another without having to handle the freight itself has grown from ships and rail to include trucks and barges as technology has evolved. The use of standardized containers, or ISO containers, has allowed shipping across country and nations to flourish, thanks to the time and money saved by crossing land bridges.

Land bridge is a reference to an intermodal freight shipment that starts on a ship then crosses a body of land for a significant part of the trip en route to its final destination. The land portion of the trip is referred to as the land bridge, with rail typically being the method of transport while crossing. There are, of course, different types of bridges – standard bridges, mini bridges, and micro bridges.

Land Bridge

A standard bridge is when an intermodal container shipped by ocean vessel from point A to point B crosses over an entire country before reaching its final destination. For example, a container is being shipped from Japan to England is loaded onto a ship in Japan which then docks in Los Angeles where the container is transferred to a train and taken to New York where it is put on another ship and completes its journey to England.

Mini Bridge

A mini bridge is when a container is similar to a standard land bridge with a minor change. Whereas a standard bridge involves the container starting and ending its voyage on a ship, only crossing over a country in an effort to get to another ship, a mini bridge takes the second ship out of the equation. Using our example from above, a mini land bridge would be if the containers final destination was in New York instead of England.

Micro Bridge

A micro bridge is close in definition to a mini land bridge, with the exception being that, still using our example from above, that whereas a mini bridge would extend to New York, a micro bridge would see the container end up somewhere like Chicago or Denver, an interior land destination.

Global Shipping

Thanks to intermodal shipping and land bridges, moving freight that once would have had to make large detours to avoid land masses is now possible via the most direct route. This allows companies to save time and money which can then be passed on to their customers.


Source by Steve Falco

Common Sizes For Double Carports


If you are planning to build a double carport, you will of course need to figure out how much space you need in order to build your structure. I have done some research into the common sizes for a double carport for those of you needing to store more than one vehicle.

In order to house two vehicles comfortably, you first need to decide whether you require a building which is over sized, so that you can accommodate larger vehicles such as pickups, vans or even a motor home, or whether you require a building on the smaller end of the scale, to accommodate small economy cars or ATVs and motorbikes.

Let’s start with the standard size for a single carport – 10×20 or 12×24 feet are the two most common sizes for single carports. The larger size is convenient if you have wide swinging doors, or tend to drive larger vehicles like vans or pickup trucks. Some people have said that the smaller size really is too small – there is very little extra front to back room, and it is too tight for cars with long doors.

So a double carport standard size is about double the width of a single carport. 24×24′ makes a nice size carport, although you could get away with a bit narrower, since you probably won’t be opening both vehicle doors at the same time.

If you drive larger vehicles, or are planning to store even larger equipment, such as a boat and an RV, a double-width carport will still suit your purposes, but you will need to increase the size of your carport appropriately so that the larger vehicles can be properly stowed with enough clearance room around each vehicle to make getting in and getting out convenient.

The height of your double carport will also be dependent on the type of vehicles you need to store. Typical carport height is either 8 or 10 feet, although if you own trucks, vans or motor-homes you will probably want to go with a 12′ ceiling (remember that is the inside height, your peak will be higher). If you are storing an RV, remember to add extra height for any roof appliances, such as fans, satellite TV receivers or air conditioning units.


Source by Adam Pink

Benefits of a Roadside Assistance Company


When someone purchases a new or used vehicle, they are given the opportunity to also secure a roadside assistance plan. Although this is an additional cost, it is a service that is highly recommended to everyone; and can actually save a person money in the long run. These companies work from all areas of the city and provide a wide variety of advantages and emergency services. Continue reading to learn the top three benefits of outsourcing a roadside assistance service for your car or truck.

Flat Tire Service and Repair

Let’s say a person is driving down the interstate, on their way to work, when all of a sudden a piece of fallen debris from another truck has rapidly blown the tire out. This person flips their hazard lights on and makes their way to the side of the road. Now what? In most cases, they would have to call a friend or family member to come pick them up, then they would have to contact a towing or auto repair company to pick up the vehicle and take it in for repair. Not only will this person have to pay for tire replacement and service, they will also accrue the cost of the towing service. In top of all this, they have made a friend or family member take time out of their day to pick them up and take them to the auto repair shop. All this and more could have been avoided if this person had a roadside assistance plan.

In this case, the person pays a monthly fee that allows them to call the company for help any time. Once the vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road, they would simply need to place a phone call to the pertaining roadside company and wait for a technician to come. The technician would be dispatched immediately and arrive in minutes. They will change and replace the tire for free, so the person can be back to their day within 30 minutes or less. This is a wonderful advantage of a roadside assistance service contract.

Fuel Assistance

Have you ever run out of gas on the road? This is a silly mistake made by thousands of drivers everyday. It has happened to almost everyone at one point in time. When this happens to a person without a roadside assistance plan, they are forced to wither walk to the nearest gas station, fill up a jug of fuel, and haul it back to the stalled vehicle and refill; or they can call a friend or family member to pick them up or bring them fuel.

With a roadside assistance plan, a person simply needs to contact their corresponding roadside service company and a technician will be there within minutes to refill their tank enough to make it to the nearest gas station; for free! This is a fantastic benefit to have; especially for long road trips, adolescent drivers, and senior citizens.

Dead Battery Assistance

If a person’s vehicle gives out because the battery has died, they will need to take whatever resources they have available to get their car battery recharged. This would entail calling a friend or family member, waving down a stranger for help, or calling an automotive repair company for pick up and repair service. All these options are tedious and costly. If a person has a roadside assistance plan, they could simply call their company and wait only minutes for a friendly and professional technician to come and charge the car battery backup. For most roadside assistance companies, these services are all-inclusive with the monthly payment, not obligating clients to pay on the spot for every service they need or request.

These are just a few of the most commonly used services of a roadside assistance company. Their services do not stop here. Most companies also provide lockout services, towing, radiator services, pickup and drop off services, and much more. It is highly recommended to outsource a roadside assistance company for emergencies on the road. These plans are especially helpful for teenage drivers and elderly drivers, as mentioned before.


Source by Sarahbeth Kluzinski

Porsche History 101


You will be glad you did. Porsche is a classic car brand which has a rich history since the company was started in the late 1800’s. The cars got its names after the founder Ferdinand Porsche. He was born in 1875 and was from Austria. Ferdinand Porsche not only created the first Porsche cars, but also created the Volkswagen beetle.

In 1937, he was awarded the German National Prize for Art and Science by none other than Hitler himself. The award was a very rare, and that just goes to show how talented he actually was. In 1901, Ferdinand Porsche made the very first gas/battery hybrid car. Part of his biggest achievements is the fact that their cars are some of the fastest in the world.

It was no different even when the first Porsche cars were still around. Now these were not really cars such as the ones we have today, they were buggies. They were basically horseless carriages with tires like a bicycle: tall and skinny. Ferdinand Porsche’s hybrid car broke many speed records of the time and even won the Exelberg Rally in 1901. Ferdinand Porsche was the actual driver of the car during that rally.

The speed records were not set very high at the time for a motorized vehicle. The hybrid Porsche had a max speed of just 35 miles per hour: it may not sound like a lot, but the only other way to get around at the time was a horse and a horse can’t sustain 35 miles per hour for very long if at all. Now also consider that this is a horseless buggy and that suspensions and a soft ride were probably not a part of the equation. If you were to turn too fast on a curve and being that the buggy sat up so high, you could easily tip it over: so 35 miles per hour would be quite fast for an old Porsche classic car such as the hybrid buggy.

Mr. Porsche first worked for the Austro-Diamler company. He was their chief designer and helped make some good cars, but still not under his own name. He later quit Austro-Diamler because they did not agree with the direction towards which cars headed. It was not until 1931 that Ferdinand Porsche founded his own firm. It was titled and still is today, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.

In 1934, Hitler wanted to make it so that every German had a car or tractor. Porsche was to build 3 prototypes from designs he had already made. The car he made for Hitler was the Volkswagen beetle which we know today. Some people today refer to a Porsche as being a supped up Volkswagen. Today, Porsche owns a large stake in the Volkswagen company, and if you look at the headlights on the beetle and the turbo 911, they look very similar. Volkswagen means “the people’s car”, and the very first one was the Volkswagen beetle.

The very first car to carry the Porsche name was the model 356. This first Porsche car was made in an old saw mill and they built 49 cars all by hand. This Porsche classic car is definitely worth a lot today. It was not until 1953 that the famous Porsche emblem or badge was placed on the cars. The 356 was made for 17 years and in 1965, the last classic Porsche 356 model left the production line.

One of the most famous models of Porsche was introduced by “Butzi” Porsche on September 12, 1963. It was just a prototype at the time, but it would become a classic long running car. The prototype was called the 901 or what we call the 911 today.

It was not until August 1964 that the first 901 could be sold to a customer. The 901 number had to be changed because of a patent on 3 numbers with a zero in the middle, so it was changed to 911. The 911 turbo is an amazing car today: one of the fastest around, but just look at its history. It would be hard to find a classic Porsche car nowadays. You can find classic Porsche cars if you search carefully enough, but the price people would want for them is not for those with a small budget. If you were to find a classic Porsche 356, one of the first ones, they are pretty much priceless. If the owner knew what they had, then it would be very hard and very expensive to get the owner to sell the car in question.


Source by Manuel Merz

History Of Wakeboarding


Many a time I have asked myself this question after reflecting on a great day on the water, “where did this great sport of wakeboarding come from and who was the mastermind who invented the sport?”

The answer to this question is that the sport of wakeboarding evolved from a group of different sports including surfing, snowboarding, and waterskiing. For years surfing was all the rage amongst those that lived at the beach, and being the freeststyle sport that surfing is, new adaptions and variations branched off. One of these different variations was to be towed by a ski rope on a surf board either by boat or truck when the swell wasn’t up. From this adaption, a San Diego surfer named Tony Finn in 1985 developed ‘the skurfer’ which was a hybrid of a water ski and a surfboard. The board was shorter in size than the standard surfboard and was towed by a boat however the same carve style techniques were performed as when surfing. Basically it was surfing behind a boat on a mini surfboard. Although not as popular as it once was, ‘skurfing’ is still out there today.

The creation of this board soon led to new innovations and it wasn’t long before different shapes and technology took hold of the primitive prototype. The major breakthrough was the additions of foot straps which held the riders feet in place whilst on the board. There were two players that took part in the addition which were Tony Finn and Jimmy Redmon of Austin, Texas (who added straps to his Redline design water ski board, which was again a smaller version of a surfboard). The fascinating part of this innovation is that both men developed at the same time without knowing what each other was doing! With these new footstraps riders were able to get big air and start performing airborne tricks. This is probably the first true resembalences to wakeboarding and led away from surfing and more toward snowboarding and water skiing.

Skurfing soon transformed into skiboarding which Tony Finn was a strong advocate for and the first skurfer championships were televised on ESPN in 1990. However even with its claim to fame the sport was struggling with a stagnant patch in technology and innovation. The skurf board was still very primitive in comparison to the modern wakeboard in the fact that because they were very narrow and very buoyant, they required a lot of energy to get them planing and leaving only experienced riders cabable of preforming deep water starts. The skiboard on the other hand was designed for performance, however could not withstand the punishment of constant poundings dished to it by the sport.

One name changed all of this, Herb Obrien. Obrien was a successful businessman in water sports and the owner of H.O sports. With an idea of revelovtionalising the sport, he began experimenting with boards and developed the first compression-molded neutral-buoyancy wakeboard, known as the hyperlite. The advantages of a neutral buoyancy board allowed ease in deep water starts which opened the door for the sport to boom in all demographic age groups and skill levels. This was the beginning of the sport as we know it today.

Obrien did not stop there, he soon incorporated a thinner profile to allow the board to carve like a salom ski, phasers or dimples on the bottom of the board which broke up water contact and produced a looser feel on the water and softer landings. All of these refinerys made possible by the compression molding process founded by Obrien. Seeing H.O sports success in the wakeboarding industry sparked other companies to follow in it’s foot steps, putting more boards on the market and growing the sport further.

The Redmon “Twin Tip” wakeboard soon followed this boom in the industry and is still the standard shape of modern wakeboards. The twin tip had a symmetrical shape with a fin on each end, allowing for omidirectional tricks and adding a new dimension to the sport. This shape of board shied away from the “conventional” wakeboard at the time which still resembled a mini surfboard.

1992 was the year that pro wakeboarding events took hold of the public with World Sports & Marketing, (a Florida-based sports promoter and event organizer) staging wakeboarding events (known as the pro wakeboard tour). This gave wakeboarders a opportunity to compete and gave them exposure to ESPN and ESPN2. Wakeboarding Mag was soon produced in 1993 to cope with the growing of the demand of the industry giving the public a chance to follow what was happening in wakeboarding and keeping them up to date on comps and leaderboards.

With the ever expanding popularity of the sport and number competing athletes the Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding and the Wakeboard World Cup series were created in 1998. These are still today the majors titles up for grabs by pro international wakeboarders. In 2000 the sport diversified adding rails, sliders and kickers to the course giving opportunity for different style riders to gain reckonition for their riding.

As far as wakeboarding has come in its short history there are are still new innovations being added to the sport today. From better technology to new additions, the innovators of the sport will never cease to amaze me. With growing popularity and financial backing it is just a question how far this sport will go and how big will it get.


Source by Harley Chirgwin