Profitable smaller factory

This is a fairly small but efficient factory that began with the $1.3 million starting capital. After making expensive and luxury cars for the first few days I then gutted the factory, retired all the models, and retooled to make only budget and mid-range vehicles (except no budget sportscars and no mid-range offroad vehicles).

All vehicles now get a hybrid powertrain (common), and I don’t build any powertrains in-house (you can’t build hybrid from what I understand). I also don’t build fuel tanks in house. Almost everything else is built in-house. For the stuff you can manufacture in-house, you’re getting anywhere from a 50-75% discount, so it really makes a difference for your ability to sell into the budget market, where you have to sell at about a -20% markup given the end-game common and universal features you need to include in order to keep them in that market segment.

Obviously I could fit it into a smaller footprint if I really tried, but since I can’t un-rent a space I figured it’s not a big deal.

The factory can produce just under 30 cars per hour.

Some things I learned:

  • Even though the first axle takt time is supposedly 2 min 02 sec (fully upgraded) and the second axle takt time is 1 min 50 sec, the second station is your bottleneck. It’s something to do with the second station having to wait for the next vehicle to move into the station, where the first axle station can start running as soon as the finished vehicle starts to leave. This means you want the rest of your line to be designed with no more than 1 min 50 sec of runtime, so if you have a later slot with 1 min 54 sec of runtime, you probably need to parallel that up.
  • Pay special attention to the number of resources consumed in a slot per vehicle. The Fit Windows slot is crazy when you have the power windows option because some vehicles need 5 windows plus 4 servos so on spec you can’t stock two vehicles worth of resources in there. However, some vehicles only require 3 windows (and 4 servos, haha) like the compact car. Therefore, if you alternate compact cars with other cars in the production schedule then the Fit Windows slot has a better chance of keeping up. A lot of it is about what the average car consumes in that slot.
  • Similarly models with different options take different amounts of time to produce, but with a bit of queuing between slots, it’s the average time that matters.
  • If you have models that get different options, like for a while all my budget models had a regular powertrain and the mid-range models had a hybrid powertrain, then use a Smart Junction to route all the budget cars to one Fit Powertrain slot and the mid-range to a different Fit Powertrain slot. The first will only stock regular powertrains (don’t even have to upgrade it) and the second will only stock hybrid powertrains. Sending them randomly can cause problems if you, e.g., get a string of budgets through one, and it’ll stop stocking hybrid powertrains, and then pause the line when the next mid-range comes down. This is way more important on slots like Fit Lights that has so many different options and you need many resources per vehicle (like 4 or 5). In this case use Smart Junctions and route them by the options they get. Also, if you use this method then you want your production schedule to alternate the models with different options or else you’ll send several in a row to one slot and starve the others.
  • Better to have a bottleneck at the beginning of your line than at the end. That keeps your factory relatively empty. You want to keep as little capital tied up in work-in-process inventory as possible. Also, with more cars sitting on conveyors waiting, when you make a model change it takes a lot longer for the new model to start coming off the line.
  • You don’t need a supply depot if the slot only puts one thing on each car (like exhaust or radiator) no matter how long the resource lines are because you almost certainly can’t run out of resources. However, if you have a slot that uses 4 or more resources per vehicle, you almost certainly need a nearby supply depot.
  • Only stock stuff in the supply depot you actually need. (Don’t just blindly copy the slot).