General Motors Corp. beat Ford Motor Co. in productivity for the first time in recent history; U.S. vehicle assembly continued to move southward and “flexibility” was the buzzword of the year in 2002 as just about every auto maker in North America vowed to increase the variety of vehicles each of its assembly plants could build. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp. already were miles ahead in this area – and they continued to improve – but 2002 was the year Detroit’s Big Three ...

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