Category: Production

By on January 4, 2017

tesla-model-s-

2016 wasn’t just a disappointing year for celebrities.

After stating that it would place between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles in the hands of adoring customers before year’s end, Tesla failed to clear the delivery bar it had set for itself. While production numbers crossed the threshold, 2016 deliveries fell short, numbering only 76,230.

Still, the electric automaker — which has set much loftier production goals for the near future — doesn’t seem too concerned. Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

Mark-Fields (Image: Ford)

Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields didn’t completely walk back the company’s long-range production plans today, but the automaker pull a hard U-turn on one goal.

In a speech at the automaker’s Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant this morning, Fields said he was “encouraged” by President-elect Donald Trump’s “pro-growth policies.” Because of this, the Blue Oval’s planned $1.6 billion small car plant in Mexico is now off the table. Instead, the automaker will expand and modernize Flat Rock as it brings a slew of promised hybrid and electric vehicles to production. Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Updated with statement from General Motors.

It’s not just Ford’s Mexican assembly plants that has President-elect steaming on Twitter.

Donald Trump’s latest online automotive salvo wasn’t directed at the Blue Oval, which was a favorite corporate punching bag during the election campaign. Rather, it was General Motors’ turn to be blasted. Read More >

By on December 30, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited red

Amid all the hand wringing and social media sobbing over the celebrities we’ve lost in 2016, no one thought to mention the Jeep Compass and Patriot — strong-selling, affordable yet archaic vehicles that were loathed by the automotive press.

Well, the decade-old twins are dead. Gone. Finito. Pushing up daisies. The Toledo Blade reports that the Patriot and Compass ceased production on December 23, paving the way for a much-improved second-generation global Compass.

While the new, larger Compass prepares for its launch, the next-generation of the Jeepiest of all Jeeps — the 2018 Wrangler — remains heavily shrouded. We’ve seen details leaked about its appearance and drivetrain, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles remains silent on a production timeline. Well, always count on a union representative to spill some beans. Read More >

By on December 28, 2016

alternator

Car manufacturers have achieved significant fuel economy gains in recent years, but the improvements largely come down to upgraded drivetrain efficiency. Vehicles still weigh substantially more today than they did in the early 1980s, when the previous decade’s demand for fuel economy improvements forced the issue.

Since then, automobiles have gradually packed on the pounds — negatively offsetting the technology encouraging fuel frugality. Modern safety concerns, improved build quality, sound dampening, and consumer demand for bigness have all helped to keep the typical family transport oinking around a two-ton curb weight.

If companies could effectively slim down those autos, without sacrificing structural rigidity, safety, or consumer comfort, the efficiency gains would become all the more significant. However, with few consumers ready to dive back into noisy, frail hatchbacks, weight savings will likely need to be done on the molecular level. In a new study, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor investigated the materials going into 44 separate 2015 model year cars and asked automakers what would they use if they suddenly needed to reduce weight from essential items.  Read More >

By on December 19, 2016

Camaro Cash On Hood

(Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information.)

Not since the dark days of the recession has General Motors had so many vehicles clogging its inventory.

Bursting at the seams with unsold cars (but not trucks or SUVs), the automaker will temporarily turn out the lights at five assembly plants and kill off three shifts in order to bring things back into balance. For thousands of workers, that means the kind of extended Christmas holiday you don’t want. Read More >

By on December 9, 2016

Normal, Illinois (Ross Griff/Flickr)

An abandoned assembly plant in Normal, Illinois, could once again become a beehive of car-building activity.

Opened in 1988 as a collaborative effort between Chrysler and Mitsubishi, the plant served as headquarters for a great 1980s corporate relic — Diamond-Star Motors. In its heyday, the facility dutifully cranked out Plymouth Lasers, Mitsubishi Eclipses, and Eagle Talons, before Chrysler lost interest in the 50-50 deal.

Turned over to Mitsubishi in 1995, the plant soldiered on after Diamond-Star Motors bit the dust. What followed was a parade of forgettable nameplates — Mitsubishi Mirage, Eagle Summit, even the Dodge Stratus Coupe — before a final shutdown earlier this year eliminated the last of 1,250 jobs and production of the Outlander Sport.

Now, the 2.4 million square foot plant could soon be home to a shadowy new tenant. Read More >

By on December 2, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 R/T exterior badging, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Don’t you hate it when you’ve bragged to your friends for months about the brawny V8 engine in your Ram 1500, only to check the oil one day and discover it’s a V6?

That’s the joke Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accidentally played after a badging mix-up at the assembly plant. Also in the news this week is a Canadian town that tortures drunk drivers with godawful Nickelback tunes, as well as an Australian suspect who stopped for gas a number of times during a high-speed police pursuit.

Read More >

By on November 26, 2016

C1937 Cord 812 (Jane Nealing/Flickr)

Amelia Earhart owned one, and likely would have seen more sunsets had she chosen it as her ride of choice, instead of a Lockheed Electra.

It was one of the great American automobiles of the interwar era, and a favorite of matinee stars — a nameplate steeped in style, class and technological innovation. But, ultimately, short-lived.

Or was it? If one Texan has his way, we could soon see a small-scale revival of the Cord brand. Read More >

By on November 22, 2016

VW logo

Disgraced automaker Volkswagen AG is trying to smooth things over in the United States by promising to increase its commitment to North America. The company has stated that its core brand’s lineup will swell to include new electric vehicles slated for U.S. production in 2021.

The task of building those vehicles comes with a mountain of challenges.

Read More >

By on November 19, 2016

The enduring popularity of the Chevrolet Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossoverÕs assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM runs a shuttle system that takes Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ont., for painting and final production, Image: General Motors Canada

After a long-fought public relations campaign by General Motors Canada and Unifor, and a collective agreement that sees Unifor-GM temporary workers converted to full-time employment, Oshawa Assembly is on the up as pickup truck final assembly will run alongside Cadillac XTS production in the future.

However, that truck production can’t sustain Oshawa Assembly in the long-term, and sources within the company are saying more product is on the way for the beleaguered plant.

According to two General Motors representatives, one on each side of the border, Oshawa will produce vehicles in addition to the still unannounced pickup final assembly and Cadillac XTS.

Read More >

By on November 18, 2016

2015LincolnMKC_01

Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant will continue to crank out Lincoln MKC crossovers, rather than head down south for a Mexican vacation.

The news, which Ford confirmed after an enthusiastic President-elect Donald Trump tweeted it, means the automaker will need to look elsewhere for more Escapes. It doesn’t, however, mean a factory closing was averted. Read More >

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