I did visit this plant, in 1980. Then it was making the Nissan Leopard for the Japanese market, the company's cars were sold in the US under the Datsun brand, and they used Kanbans, which they called "workplates" to avoid borrowing the vocabulary of archrival "Company T from Aichi Prefecture."
Times have changed. No one then could imagine that Nissan would ever fall under the control of a "second-rate" company like Renault, and even less that this odd couple would actually work. And the Oppama plant soldiers on.
In this three-minute video of an 8-hour process, you catch glimpses of stamping, welding, painting, and assembly. The first thing that struck me was to see the superintendent, who was guiding the video tour, wearing a suit and tie. Perhaps it was for the camera but, in other Japanese plants I have been in, it would have been a faux-pas, as executives make a point of not standing out from shop floor operators by what they wear.
The little we see of the operations is as expected, frome the body welding robots to the "pirate-ship" carts of parts that move along with the line in final assembly and the different types of engines lifted into the car bodies.
The plant has a densely-packed, lived-in appearance. It has been around for a while, and it has the look of a place where people make cars. By contrast, some of the newer plants in Germany like Porsche in Leipzig or Volkswagen in Dresden, look like showrooms.
And a hat tip to Dumontis for calling it Oppama Style.
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