YOKOHAMA, Japan — Aiming to get an edge in a competitive industry, Japanese automaker Nissan is attempting to foster a corporate culture that will produce manufacturing innovations in leaps and bounds instead of steady increments.
Its discussion of that effort is partly a swipe at bigger competitor Toyota Motor Corp. which has favored the concept of “kaizen” or fine-tuning and bit-by-bit progress.
Kaizen has earned Japanese automakers good marks for reliability and quality and Toyota practically defined it as its “way.” But Nissan Motor Co. says it is implementing novel manufacturing methods and has dozens of ideas.
One reduced the thickness of the metal liner of a cylinder block of an engine. Another finished a surface to a mirror polish to reduce friction. A triple coating was reduced to a single coating.