Category: Production

By on March 8, 2017

2017 Buick LaCrosse - Image: Buick

In 2016, as General Motors launched an all-new Buick LaCrosse for the 2017 model year, sales of the LaCrosse fell to an all-time annual low.

But wait a second. Transition years are difficult for any model. Clearance of the outgoing model ends, production of the new model is ramping up, availability at dealers is limited, and the product mix is often skewed toward less affordable models.

Nevertheless, cognizant of the fact that 2016 wasn’t likely to be a great year for the Buick LaCrosse, it’s still easy to declare that 2016 was an awful year for the Buick LaCrosse. Sales were 70-percent lower last year than in 2005, when U.S. LaCrosse sales peaked. Even compared with 2014, U.S. LaCrosse sales were nearly chopped in half in 2016.

And at the current pace, 2017 will be much, much, much worse. Read More >

By on March 6, 2017

General Motors HQ

General Motors has said it will discharge 1,100 employees at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan in May. Last year, America’s largest automaker announced an additional 800 jobs at its Spring Hill plant in Tennessee to aid in production of the updated GMC Acadia. However, those positions seemed to have come at the expense of its Michigan workforce.

The cuts come after GM’s promise to invest another $1 billion into U.S. factories earlier this year. President Trump has insisted that American car builders manufacture more product within the country while condemning any ventures in Mexico. While General Motors may be shifting production south, it’s not so far south as to garner any presidential ire. The automaker has claimed that the billion dollar investment would maintain or create 1,500 U.S. jobs. Still, the net employment loss in this instance does not seem to reflect that.  Read More >

By on March 3, 2017

2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept Vehicle, Image: FCA

With the possible exception of the upcoming Ford Bronco, no automotive product has more Americans feeling giddy with anticipation than the pickup version of Jeep’s beloved Wrangler.

Dreamed of by wistful Jeep aficionados for years, the go-ahead given to the Holy Grail of Jeepdom seemed to signal that yes, your dreams really can come true. Unfortunately, this seems to be a case of “all good things come to those who wait,” because wait you will. Two and a half years, to be exact.

Some of that time will be spent figuring out a name that doesn’t offend people. Read More >

By on March 1, 2017

oldsmobile-ciera-coupe

A bill for the assembly of two decades-old models — one from a defunct marque — will come due on April 1. And unlike much of the debts written off during General Motors’ bankruptcy, a major subsidiary now has to pay this chunk back.

The money, $220 million in all, was handed to GM Canada back in 1987 to save the Montreal-area Sainte-Thérèse Assembly plant. GM Canada used that bankroll to build the stunningly sexy Chevrolet Celebrity and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. It later cranked out the last Pontiac Firebirds and fourth-generation Chevrolet Camaros.

The thing about 30-year interest-free loans is that someone eventually comes to collect. Read More >

By on February 28, 2017

GM Adds Third Shift, 750 Jobs at Wentzville Assembly

In the international poker game of NAFTA re-negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump should not assume his Mexican opponent will be playing with a losing hand, an auto industry expert says.

“I’m going to be surprised if we see a heck of a lot changed,” said John Holmes, researcher at the Automotive Policy Research Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. “The industry now is so highly integrated.” Read More >

By on February 15, 2017

Buick Grille Logo Emblem, Image: General Motors

As politicians and labor unions in Europe reel from yesterday’s revelation of high-level talks between General Motors and Peugeot over a possible sale of Opel, GM’s most European-infused brand on this side of the Atlantic is operating business as usual.

Buick, which is GM’s second-largest brand globally by volume behind Chevrolet, has product in the wings, including the largely rumored but unconfirmed Buick Regal, based on the recently revealed Opel Insignia.

Buick sees no problem with that.

Read More >

By on February 11, 2017

Franka Emika Robot Arm, Image: Franka

We’ll always need humans to manufacture robots for automated manufacturing, or at least that’s been the prevailing wisdom for years.

But what if that wasn’t the case?

Robot arms, such as the Franka Emika pictured above, might change all that, as they now have the ability to clone themselves.

Read More >

By on February 9, 2017

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

Tesla is planning to halt vehicle production for one week in February to prepare for Model 3 pre-production, which the company says will begin February 20.

According to Reuters, the short-term shutdown of its Fremont, California assembly plant will give Tesla time to add capacity to its paint shop as it plans for full-scale production of the Model 3.

Read More >

By on February 8, 2017

Volvo Emblem logo badge

After surviving a very rough patch that could have easily sunk it for good, Volvo is feeling confident enough to be boastful, albeit in a restrained, Scandinavian way.

The Swedish automaker is riding high after posting record worldwide sales last year, and its CEO claims the groundwork is in place to have that trend continue in 2017 and beyond. Part of that optimism lies in a South Carolina plant expected to come online in 2018.

While the Berkeley County plant will be home to the next-generation S60 sedan, a second promised model is no clearer now than when shovels broke ground in 2015. Read More >

By on February 6, 2017

Automakers are waiting with bated breath to see where the pieces land once President Donald Trump complete’s the country’s trade revamp. One proposal would see a border tax of 20 percent placed on goods imported from other countries — a move that would impact the cost of manufacturing vehicles, and buying them.

Not every automaker would see a similar financial hit. Domestic manufacturers that use a high degree of parts built in the U.S., especially those that build few models in Mexico for delivery in the States, wouldn’t see much on an impact. For those that import most or all of their U.S. fleet from foreign factories, the cost per vehicle could be enormous. Customers, of course, would need to make up the difference.

While the tax proposal might come to nothing, a recent study shows what consumers could expect to see on window stickers if the idea becomes policy. Read More >

By on February 2, 2017

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

There’s no hurt feelings like a city council’s hurt feelings.

Oshawa, Ontario, home to TTAC’s managing editor and General Motors Canada headquarters, is feeling a little invisible after an invite delivered last June to GM CEO Mary Barra failed to result in a visit.

The invite came at the onset of tense Detroit Three labor contract negotiations, when it seemed like Oshawa’s assembly plant was living on very borrowed time. Ultimately, the plant was granted a reprieve, though the city remains nervous about the long-term viability of the plant and GM’s commitment to it.

After seven months of being the wallflower at the dance, city councilors want some up close and personal face time. Read More >

By on February 1, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Front 3/4

The compact Chevrolet Cruze will get more time off this year, which isn’t something the people who build it want to hear.

According to The Detroit News, General Motors is planning to add “several weeks” of downtime at its Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant as the once hot-selling passenger car market takes an ice water bath. The plant saw a third production shift cut last month, impacting 1,200 line workers.

This latest news comes at an ominous time for builders of traditional cars. Read More >

By on January 31, 2017

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

There might be more than a few empty chairs at the Chevrolet Spark EV’s funeral, as the diminutive electric didn’t exactly inflame the passions of the buying public.

The Detroit News reports that production of the electrified model ended this past summer, though General Motors only saw fit to mention it last week. Apparently, the fatal shot was fired by the Chevrolet Bolt, which began production in the fall. Two’s a crowd in the GM EV garage, it seems. Read More >

By on January 27, 2017

Vicente Fox (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

When Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada left office in 2006 after a six-year stint, he didn’t go quietly into political retirement.

With the advent of social media, the outspoken Fox gained the ability to launch barbs with ease and generally treat politicians like a well-used piñata. His latest target? Take a guess.

Following President Trump’s recent declarations — including a promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and a threat to impose a 20 percent border tax on Mexican goods — Fox spoke his mind on the issue, trolling Trump on Twitter and making statements on the U.S. auto industry that won’t get him invited to many parties in Detroit. Read More >

By on January 27, 2017

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

Workers at General Motors’ CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are reeling after the automaker announced the loss of more than 600 jobs.

The unexpected move comes after the facility recently gave up production of the next-generation GMC Terrain to focus solely on the Chevrolet Equinox. The 2018 Terrain’s new home? Mexico.

As expected, the autoworkers’ union is livid, having been told nothing about job losses during the changeover. Read More >

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