Instead of conveyors and hangers, cars are moved by underground tracks
This system allows for quick changes to accommodate different body styles and powertrains
Gasoline and electric powertrains can be built on the same line at the same time
The automotive industry is experiencing major changes with the introduction of electric vehicles and the changing customer preferences. These changes create many production headaches for automakers and add costs to the manufacturing process.
Mazda found a solution to reduce the costs and complexity involved in manufacturing multiple different vehicles and powertrains on the same production line.
Since Mazda is a smaller automaker, it doesn’t have the resources to dedicate factories for every powertrain or models it needs to make.
In order to allow for easier reconfiguring of its assembly lines, Mazda rethought the entire way in which it is laid out. Instead of the habitual conveyors and overhead hangers, the vehicles and the parts are moved throughout the factory by tracks sunk below the floor surface.
This method allows for the transport of multiple body styles without requiring any reconfiguration, meaning a sedan, a hatchback and an SUV can all be built one after the other on the same line.
In addition, this factory can be expanded by adding more sections of track in only a few days in order to meet an increased demand.
The new assembly line is also made to accommodate different powertrains, such as transverse and longitudinal engines, as well as hybrid and fully electric drive units.
This means Mazda will be able to introduce new models of new powertrain options without having to undertake massive changes to its production facilities that require months of construction and huge amounts of money.