To understand the car manufacturing process, you have to understand the underlying supply chain that drives domestic vehicle assembly. Today’s cars are primarily “sourced out” to produce various sub-assemblies in over 4,000 disparate locations as far away as China. This means a car’s “production” plant is an active assembly point, where skilled workers and robotic systems bring together all of the necessary loose components to create a final product on a “just-in-time” basis.
The chassis of the car is the baseline component. All other parts are integrated on, or within the chassis. This is typically a welded frame that’s initially attached to a conveyor that moves along a production line. As the frame progresses, the car is literally “built from the frame up” to create a final product. Parts that are sequentially applied to the chassis include the engine, front and rear suspension, gas tank, rear-end and half-shafts, transmission, drive shaft, gear box, steering box, wheel drums and the brake system.