Postponing Customization of the Prius to the NJ port

An article in the New York Times (Sept 23, 2011) describes customization of the Toyota Prius, manufactured in Japan, at the Newark port. Cars are tailored to customer requirements such bluetooth, accessories, quality touchup, satellite radios, alloy wheels etc.  This assembly postponement enables vehicles to be built standard in Japan yet cater to customer tastes in dealerships. Why is it optimal to customize at the port rather than at the dealer – is the supply chain better off this way or is it an attempt by Toyota to prevent dealers from installing generic options ? How far can this customization go before it impacts quality ? Given the fluctuating demand for hybrid cars – does this postponement enable pooling of demand uncertainty across regions ?

About aviyer2010

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