The new $1.3-billion Cadillac factory on the outskirts of Shanghai is a shrine to modern manufacturing, the kind of facility that automakers all over the world dream of building but can seldom afford.
Hundreds of robots bend, arch and twist to assemble the body of Cadillac's new flagship CT6. Lasers seal the car's lightweight aluminum exterior using techniques that the carmaker, General Motors (GM), has only just introduced in the United States. Yard-long, bright yellow robots like mechanical Alaskan huskies tow five-foot-tall carts of auto parts to the assembly line.
"It's more along the lines of aircraft technology than traditional, spot-welded steel bodies," said Paul Buetow, GM's head of manufacturing in China, as he strode along the assembly line.
The factory is par