By on November 30, 2015


Ford will pay only 1.5-percent more in labor costs each year under a new contract with the United Auto Workers, the automaker reported Monday.

Ford announced it would take a $600 million charge this year to pay out the $10,000 ratification bonuses to their workers as part of the new deal.

The new deal allows the automaker to hire more low-cost workers who will either be temporary or entry-level employees, shift production of some of its cars overseas and continue using controversial “alternative work schedules” that favor fewer, longer shifts instead of traditional work days.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015


Detroit automakers may be betting high-profit SUVs and trucks are a better fit for their domestic plants as those automakers shift production away from cars to make room for larger, high-margin vehicles.

Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will largely shift production of their cars to Mexico and bring more trucks and SUVs to North American facilities, according to their contracts with the United Auto Workers,  Automotive News reported.

The report consolidates production planning schedules included in UAW contracts with domestic automakers, which shows automakers’ plans to move some of their cars to Mexico or overseas. Of the Big Three, General Motors will sell the most domestically produced cars in North America, including the Malibu, Impala, Sonic, Bolt and Volt, although the small-car plant recently announced a slowing production schedule. Ford will still produce the Mustang and Fusion at its Flat Rock plant in Michigan.  (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2015


Rank-and-file Ford workers may get their first glimpses Monday at a newly proposed contract between the automaker and the United Auto Workers union, the Detroit News reported.

According to the report, Ford workers may be offered a $10,000 signing bonus to approve the contract; a $1,750 annual bonus payout, similar to one in the proposed General Motors contract; a $70,000 early retirement buyout for senior workers; a $9 billion investment plan for Ford factories; and, pay increases for veteran Tier 1 and newer Tier 2 workers.  (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2015

Rodney SlaterThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration selected former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater as an independent monitor over Fiat Chrysler Automobiles safety compliance, the automaker announced Friday.

Slater was transportation secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. After his federal post, Slater has held a slew of automobile safety-related posts including his recent appointment as special counsel to Takata.

Slater was the first black director for the Federal Highway Administration and the second black transportation secretary.

(Read More…)

By on October 22, 2015

mopar girl pic courtesy

United Auto Workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plants voted to overwhelmingly approve a contract with the automaker three weeks after turning back its first proposal, the union reported.

According to a statement posted on the UAW’s website, 77 percent of hourly production, 72 percent of skilled trades and 87 percent of salaried bargaining unit workers approved the contract.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2015

Conner Avenue

Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Dodge will end production of its supercar Viper in 2017 when the current generation has finished its run, Allpar reported.

(OK, so the Viper wasn’t exactly perfect.)

The website reported that United Auto Workers proposed contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t include a product at the Viper’s Conner Avenue plant when Viper finishes in 2017. Viper has languished since its introduction in 2013, suffering from a high price and increased competition from the Chevrolet Corvette. Last year, Dodge sold 760 coupes, which was the best year for the current generation so far, but far from the nameplate’s zenith in 2003 when it sold 2,103 examples.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2015

UAW Member Assembling Corvette in Bowling Green Circa 2015

A United Auto Worker retiree medical fund created to reduce healthcare costs and increase services for more than 700,000 people reported a $20.7 billion difference between assets and future liabilities, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (via Automotive News). The shortfall increased by more than $16 billion over the last report.

A similar system proposed for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles workers in the union’s first proposed contract — which was rejected by workers nearly 2-to-1 — was scrapped in the second contract.

Accounting for future inflation and longer average lifespan are to blame for the increased shortfall, according to the report. (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2015

2013 Jeep Wrangler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may double the amount of temporary workers it uses under a new deal negotiated with the United Auto Workers, Bloomberg reported (via Automotive News).

The negotiated terms include a provision for the automaker to use the workers any day of the week, instead of the previously allowed Monday, Friday and weekend shifts.

According to the report, the terms may have been negotiated as a way to keep labor costs lower and offer more workers raises. Temp workers are hired at rates lower than any of the tiered-pay scales. Temp workers can be terminated at any time by the automaker.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2015

2016 Nissan Titan XD

The Texas Auto Writers Association said Tuesday that the new, diesel-powered Nissan Titan XD was the 2015 Texas Truck of the Year and the Ford F-Series won Truck Line of Texas, alongside 22 other awards in a bi-annual affair held on non-consecutive Sundays until an eventual winner is crowned after a round-robin, double-elimination playoff.

The award for the Titan XD is the first for the truck, which will go on sale in December. Texas auto writers awarded the Ram 2500 with best heavy-duty pickup, Ram 1500 Rebel as the best full-size pickup and the new Toyota Tacoma as the best mid-size pickup. (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2015

Marchionne - Picture courtesy

Like Al Pacino in “The Godfather 2,” Sergio Marchionne’s move to insulate himself further and tap future successors has claimed another victim. On Monday, former Fiat North American chief Jason Stoicevich resigned from the automaker, days after he was replaced as head of Fiat by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis.

Stoicevich was a longtime FCA employee, heading up the automaker’s California sales office and former head of Jeep operations before that.

His departure is the latest in a company-wide shakeup to consolidate most North American brands between fewer brand chiefs.

(Read More…)

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