It sits there, gleaming in the sun, paint clean and chrome shining. It’s a car, a new car, and it sure looks enticing. Go ahead: get behind the wheel and take her for a test drive. But before you do, there’s a few things you might want to know about how that car came to be. In fact, there are volumes of important information about how a car goes from idea…to wheels on the ground. It’s a long (though getting shorter) and expensive process that starts with that one idea that gets executives thinking about headlines, sales or survival. Indeed, the process of actually building a car has become an immense game of connecting dots and modules from around the world. As we dive more deeply into how cars are built, we’ll focus on three core areas: the Idea, Building Your Ride and Buying Your Ride. For now, we’ll start with the basics of each, but stay tuned for an expanded series of articles about how cars are built, and why.
Delta Township Assembly
We toured the new assembly plant that builds the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook crossovers for General Motors and came away impressed. According to GM, they plan to save more than $1 million in energy and water costs for the plant every year. Steps taken include a white polymer roof that keeps the plant cooler and reduced and strategic lighting throughout the facility. Other highlights include a 75-acre wildlife habitat and recycling initiatives such as using rain water for toilets. All told, 25 percent of the construction materials used to build the plant were composed of recycled content. In a way, the Delta Township plant replaces Lansing’s old Car Assembly plant, which opened for business in 1902 and closed its doors in 2004. The old plant was home to many cars in the GM lineup, including Oldsmobile and Pontiac.