Originally Posted by jamesh
I respectfully disagree with the production location theory. While many people mention that robots do the majority of the assembly of vehicles, you'd be surprised how many parts are still screwed in/attached by human labor.
In addition, I believe cultural work ethics play an important role in quality control. When I worked at BMW, it was a known fact that the Rosslyn plant had more vehicles that needed to go into rework than the German-produced e90s. One element that I was able to notice at dealerships was the plastic rocker panel piece found below the side doors. On the German assembled cars, the pieces were tightly snapped in. The Rosslyn cars had many soft spots. These parts are put in by hand, and it's in these small details where you can tell where cultural work ethics come into play.
The concern with Chinese suppliers is that these companies are well trained to cheat the quality control checks. The corporate model in china is not mature, and oftentimes the people that work in factories are notified in advance of quality checks. While BMW does its best to monitor the quality of their supplies, it would simply be impossible to comb through each individual part that comes in from the supplier. Here is where it is important to rely on regions whose cultural work ethics are higher to ensure quality. Germany and Japan thus come to mind. We can try to be as politically correct as possible, but there are certain realities that just cannot be ignored.
That being said, I had my concerns when bmw switched to Fuyao for the side glass on the f30, and I'm afraid these thigs are confirming my suspicions.
There's no "assembly" or human intervention when pouring glass. Sure they could potentially try to cheat the formula. But it's glass. Silica and soda primarily. There's not a whole lot of opportunity to cheat. Not to mention it's a highly regulated safety component. If one were to fail a regulatory check there would be SERIOUS problems for all involved.
I don't disagree that there's certainly plenty of crap that comes out of China, but moreso in retail products that are not regulated very tightly. It's not advisable to paint with such broad strokes. There's plenty of crap produced elsewhere around the world as well. It's more of function of the party commissioning the product than it is the manufacturer.