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Most often execution not engineering...

as in quality control (or the utter lack of it) which plagued the British auto industry for many years. We won't go into why since this isn't a forum for political and social debate. The engineering that went into the design of their vehicles was generally on a par with competitors and in some cases the best especially when price considered. I will only say that while you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, you've got to have some quality control to make a silk purse that's as good as the sow's ear.
 

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Re: Execution... Social Commentary

>cannot seem to mass produce anything well, but

>they have all kinds of specialty shops whose work

>is impeccable

Ironically that was once-upon-a-time the perfect description of *Japanese* manufacturing --until after WWII the U.S. taught them manufacturing techniques that it's *own* industries have often NOT been able to implement very well since WWII due to exactly the thing you described, "an antagonistic labor/ management culture." With the current Asian economy some signs of it are starting to appear in Japan, so it will be interesting to see how their reputation for quality fares in the next few years. But many old veterans of the Pacific theatre will tell you the Japanese would have killed a lot more GIs if they'd had guns that fired as reliably as ours!
 
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