TROY, MICH. — Longtime automotive industry veteran James Harbour, who created the Harbour Report, died Saturday at the age of 86 at Troy Beaumont Hospital.
Harbour, who lived in Berkley, Mich., created the Harbour Report in 1980, which studied and rated the auto industry's manufacturing productivity.
Harbour began at Chrysler Group LLC's Jefferson assembly plant as a teenager in 1946, before joining the U.S. Navy. He returned to Chrysler in 1957.
He spent 30 years at Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. before leaving in 1980 to form Harbour and Associates Inc. After studying Toyota Motor Corp. plants in Japan, the Harbour Report revealed that the automaker could sell its cars in the U.S. at as much as $1,700 cheaper than its Detroit counterpart.
The impact of the Harbour Report was immediate and led to manufacturing increases at Detroit Three plants across the world.
"Jim Harbour was a visionary when it came to manufacturing productivity," said General Motors CEO Mary Barra in a statement Sunday. "He drove all of us to new heights of efficiency. Jim's knowledge and passion for the manufacturing arena made the entire industry better, and by so doing, brought higher levels of product safety and quality to customers worldwide."
Harbour authored the book "Factory Man" in 2009, which recounted his efforts to improve U.S. manufacturing.
He retired from Harbour and Associates in 1999 and continued to serve on the board of his daughter's company, Royal Oak-based Harbour Results Inc.
Harbour is survived by seven children, Kenneth, Denise Fisher, Ronald, Carol, Karen, Diane and Laurie. A son, Timothy, preceded him in death. He also is survived by 10 grandchildren. His wife of 60 years, Delores, died in 2012.
Visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 2600 Crooks Road, Troy. A funeral mass will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, preceeded by visitation at 9:30 a.m. at the church.