By on September 1, 2015

sergio-marchionne

Farmers are the ultimate craftsman when it comes to small-scale production. The level of management needed to stay competitive and above the high water line is, simply put, astounding. Consolidation in certain areas of agriculture has lead to factory farming, the widespread adoption of automation and genetically modified seeds that keep seed producers competitive. Private farmers are constantly at war with the market and their own budgets.

The agriculture industry has wholly transformed itself over the last 100 years. The automotive industry, which has only really existed for that same period of time, has seen similar levels of change. We are now building more cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, trikes and quadracycles than ever before, just like we are growing more food than we’ve ever seen in human history.

But, there’s one major stumbling block ahead — and Sergio Marchionne sees it.

(Read More…)

By on August 30, 2015

Sergio and 1.4L Turbo MultiAir in better times at Dundee. Chrysler Photo

We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time.

“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you,” said Marchionne to Vellequette. “Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”

And no, that’s not even the best part.

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2015

Cadillac-XTS-with-Brad-Pitt

You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just.

Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the one you are driving today. Everything will still be perfect, in its place, and the power will be just as intoxicating. Except next year the price will go down $5,000 thanks to a “Made in China” stamp on the doorjamb.

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2015

GM Arlington Plant

As talks with the United Auto Workers continue, domestic automakers may be using global production strategies to leverage lower wages from the massive union, Automotive News is reporting.

News that Buick may import most of its lineup from outside North America, or Ford shifting production from Michigan to Mexico, could be weighing on conversations to keep production in the U.S. and Canada at union plants.

“It’s a veiled threat to the workers,” Gary Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark University told Automotive News.

The automakers may be saying: “If you ask for too much, we can take the work out of the U.S. So, give us a reason not to shift more production overseas,” he added.

(Read More…)

By on August 20, 2015

buick-verano-china-is-6-660x488

Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan.

Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come from Europe and China respectively. Production of the Verano would shift from Michigan to China, the next-generation Regal would come from Germany instead of Canada, and the Encore would continue to be assembled in Korea, but would eventually shift to China, Reuters reported from an unidentified source.

(Read More…)

By on August 19, 2015

GM Oshawa Plant Closure

GM Canada announced Wednesday it will make a small investment in Oshawa Assembly’s Consolidated Line thanks to increased demand of the Chevrolet Equinox.

“It’s a modest investment in terms of its size, but it increases the volume of stamping we do at CAMI to increase the run. (The increased stamping) will then boost Equinox production in Oshawa,” GM Canada’s VP of Corporate and Environmental Affairs David Paterson said in an interview with TTAC.

More body panels are stamped at CAMI than that plant’s assembly line can use, which required GM to utilize its “shuttle program” to transport excess Equinox bodies to Oshawa’s Consolidated Line for final assembly, according to GM.

The majority of the $12 million CAD investment will go to CAMI, though the detailed amount was not disclosed. Additional labor will not be needed to produce the additional Equinoxes.

While the success of an 11-year-old model (the Equinox went into its second generation as an enhanced refresh) is newsworthy, there is a larger issue at play.

“That investment has the effect of extending further the Consolidated Line until at least 2017,” said Paterson.

(Read More…)

By on August 18, 2015

TTAC COTD GM full-size SUV sales chart July 2015

There were six new full-size SUVs from General Motors. Ford refreshed the Expedition. Lincoln did the same with their upmarket Expedition, the Navigator.

The year was 2014, and U.S. sales of Detroit’s biggest, baddest, full-size SUVs were booming, relative to the recent past. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2015

opelrussia-autoworld.com_General Motors dealers in Russia are unhappy at the compensation the automaker is offering as it pulls out of the country, Wards Auto is reporting.

Russian dealers want more than it cost to start their dealerships, the report details. Negotiations stalled on how much GM would discount service contracts for thousands of GM cars currently on the road, and how much GM would offer dealers who need to change their businesses after GM leaves the country. The latest round of negotiations stalled in July.

GM sold more than 247,000 Chevrolet, Daewoo, Opel and Cadillac cars in Russia in 2014, which was down more than 24 percent from the prior year. This week, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen said the luxury automaker would focus on sales in Russia — and also China and the Middle East — even after GM announced it would be leaving that country.

(Read More…)

By on August 13, 2015

Cadillac Brand

About three years ago, a friend of mine who lives in Dallas called me to ask my opinion on cars he should buy.

He was cross-shopping a C-Class and 3-Series before the inevitable question came up:

“What do you know about the Cadillac ATS?” he asked.

“I like them. It’s a good start for Cadillac,” I said.

“But isn’t it just a glorified Cavalier or something?” he replied. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2015

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport front

According to Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen, it probably could.

According to Automotive News, de Nysschen told analysts that Cadillac would have a “a far higher degree of autonomy and self sufficiency” within two years, and the company could report its own profits and losses, separate from GM.

Already, Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit at General Motors” de Nysschen said, so let’s cut the dead weight already and keep the ugly sorority sisters in the basement?

(Read More…)

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