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Chrysler & Bmw Essay

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Chrysler and BMW: Tritec Engine Joint Venture
Product engineers are generally not upset with having to change a design. We recognize that is part of engineering. But this was different. I shared my experience with a BMW engineer. He told me, “At BMW, manufacturing would not question the design for two reasons. First, they would respect the engineers and have confidence in their design and the reasons for it. Second, they would accept the challenge and find a way to manufacture it. They would never say, ‘We cannot do it.’” He continued, “Those problems are unheard of for a BMW engineer.” — Chrysler Engine Block SE Team Member In early September 1997, Jack Smith was trying to decide how to resolve an impasse between the product design engineers and advanced manufacturing engineers. Ten months earlier, Smith had become the project leader for Chrysler’s joint venture with BMW. The joint venture, known as Tritec, was responsible for developing a new 1.6-liter family of engines. Tritec was a high profile development project with a projected $525+ million investment. The deadlock involved the selection of an engine block sealing design. Product engineers had originally designed a lower tie bar for the cylinder block, a design never before used at Chrysler on a small engine. They believed their elegant design would not only entail lower capital investment, but also provide a superior seal that would reduce the risk of oil leaks. This design had already been incorporated in 23 prototypes built as part of the early design phase. Advanced manufacturing engineers, however, who joined the team after the early designs had been completed, subsequently pointed out that the design was not appropriate for high-volume production. Without a robust design, in terms of manufacturability, they argued, the project could not achieve its quality targets. The product engineers proposed alternative seal designs, including a bedplate design used in Chrysler’s 2.0-liter Neon engine and a rear...

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