The state of California gave the Warren Buffet backed Chinese car company B.Y.D. almost $2 million in tax subsidies in 2010 to locate its North American headquarters in Los Angeles. Since then, the company has gotten contracts worth more than $40 million to build electric city buses for Los Angeles and Long Beach and it has said that it will be creating dozens of new jobs at a manufacturing plant in suburban LA. However, more than three years along, B.Y.D. is employing fewer than 40 workers in California and the company has now been fined almost $100,000 by the state for violating its minimum wage law for how it is paying the Chinese nationals it employs. According to the state, the car company employs at least 5 Chinese nationals here on temporary worker visas, and it apparently has been paying them not in dollars but rather in Chinese yuan and at a rate far below California’s $8.00 an hour minimum wage, the equivalent of $1.50/hr. Read More >
Back in April, the revived-after-eight-decades Detroit Electric brand held a big event for the press and local dignitaries in the lobby of Detroit’s magnificent Fisher Building. They announced that the company would be doing final assembly on their battery powered Lotus-based sports car, the SP:01, in a Detroit area facility and that their headquarters would be in the historic building that Albert Kahn designed for the Fisher brothers, of car body making fame. They said that an assembly facility location would be chosen in Wayne County, that initial production would begin by the end of the summer and that they hoped to have their headquarters offices set up as soon as the Fisher Bldg suite was renovated. Joining politicians and Detroit Electric executives at the press conference was one of the building owners. Now come news that the company has not finalized a lease or purchase agreement on its chosen manufacturing site in Plymouth and a visit by TTAC to the 18th floor of the Fisher Building revealed empty offices with no sign of renovations or any activity at all since April. Read More >
The fact that GM creates 6,000 jobs in China and will invest $11 billion in China until 2016 (and $16 billion in America) gets all the headlines. What falls under the table is the fact that someone else invests $76 billion each year straight into more than a million Americans. It’s the Japanese auto industry. Read More >
Ford is adding a week of production at most of its North American factories this year for an additional 40,000 vehicles, Reuters says. Plants will be idled for just one week this summer instead of the traditional two. Read More >
Rumors started flying when South Korea’s Financial News said that Kia is talking to Georgia state officials about constructing a new plant. These rumors were denied. Last week, Chung rekindled the flames by saying that Hyundai “will look into whether there are opportunities” to expand production overseas.
Chung is expected to visit Hyundai and Kia’s U.S. plants in Alabama and Georgia during his visit, which coincides with South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s U.S. trip.
The mantra before, during, and after the bailout was (and still is) that without the bailout, gadzillions of jobs would have vanished, the American car industry would have been wiped out, wheels would have come off the arsenal of democracy, and the sky would have fallen into Lake St. Clair. Of course, that’s nonsense. There are more than enough other carmakers in America. They would have received the sales, and added the jobs. They would have been mostly non-union jobs though.
The truth is, without the bailout, the UAW would have vanished, and with it millions of Democratic votes. Read More >
Chevrolet’s Celta, Prisma and Onix models will be in short supply when workers General Motors’ Gravataí plant in southern Brazil go on strike for higher pay and shorter hours. Workers of the plant’s first and third shifts already approved the strike, Reuters says, the second shift is expected to follow suit today. Read More >
Unions reached a last minute deal with Opel: Plant closures and layoffs are off the table through 2016. This according to information given by works council chief Walter Einenkel to the usually reliable Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. Read More >
Down to the wire, and nothing: German unions had set Opel a deadline until today to come to an agreement about the future of Opel. The unions had offered to forgo a 4.3 percent pay hike and waive future pay raises if Opel extends a moratorium on plant closures through 2016. Today’s deadline passed without an agreement, Reuters says. Read More >
Ford is expected to announce the closure of its van factory in Southampton, England, Reuters says. British shop stewards have been summoned to an emergency meeting at Ford’s European headquarters in Basildon, Essex, today. Read More >
Europe’s car crisis found 4,300 new victims: As expected, union representatives at Ford’s Genk plant in Belgium were told this morning that the plant will be closed. 4,300 workers will be out of a job. Read More >