German quality control

Reporters on the Job: In 1974, I worked at a GM Chevrolet factory, so it’s always nostalgic for me to visit an auto plant. At the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga last week (read the Monitor's report here), I reminisced to the director, a serious German chap, about how sometimes the assembly line just moved too fast – and a stripped bolt or some other defect would just sail on down the line. Often the mechanics who handled final quality control never caught those things.

The director was visibly shocked. He showed me the final, very thorough checks they do on VWs nowadays. It’s all computer diagnostics, and everything gets tested and retested before it leaves the plant. German engineering, plus computerized quality control, might even overcome Russian work habits in the long run and make “made in Russia” a decent label for a car to have.

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