This suggestion touches on several aspects of the game so bear with me. I’ll list several bullet points first and then fill in with text at the end.
- All points of production have a chance of a manufacturing error for every car that passes through it.
- Quality control stations can be inserted anywhere in the production line. The QC points can be assigned to QC certain amounts of the production line.
- Cars that are sold and have manufacturing defects will eventually need to be repaired. A special export station used to bring in warranty work, conveyance to a repair slot (new production station) and then being exported again is needed to repair the warranty work.
- Manufacturing errors that are found in production would be taken out of the general line, sent to a repair station and then reinserted into the general production line. The alternate is the car needing repair is sent back several production steps and made to repeat those production steps (and then QC’d again).
- Cars that require less warranty work are perceived as having higher quality and can be charged more on the open market.
So the trade offs are: If you have lots and lots of QC points, more errors are caught before getting out into the field, but you have to pay for all the QC.
Improving QC at stations is additional research. Improving QC at each station costs a bit and slows down the production point.
So this gives the player the option to get off the ground by slamming out pancakes as fast as they can produce them or they can produce a limited number of cars that have had extensive amounts of QC and rarely have repair problems.
This gives impetus to having different production lines with varying levels of quality control. The mass produced econo-boxes get minimum QC (and lots of warranty work, but they’re cheap) while the luxury cars are QC’d left right and sideways.