By on November 9, 2016

Ford F150 assembly line

That sound you hear — besides that of pollsters hastily preparing new career paths — is the American automobile industry collectively holding its breath.

Donald Trump’s move from presidential candidate to president-elect, largely the result of disaffected voters in traditional manufacturing hot spots (though a nationwide movement to shake up D.C. can’t be ignored), could spell a tumultuous near future for automakers.

“May you live in interesting times,” the saying goes. How interesting remains to be seen. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2016

coil spring

Interpretive dance isn’t for everyone, but we can all appreciate the efficient, graceful and damn near artistic manner in which automotive parts are made.

Coil springs already look fun, but after viewing this video of a spring being made for the now-defunct Toyota FJ Cruiser, you’re liable to quit that paper-pushing day job for a shot at doing what this guy does. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2016

Caterpillar truck, Image: Caterpillar

So, there’s an election on, and a certain candidate has made some high-profile, sometimes inflammatory comments about American manufacturing and jobs being sent south of the Rio Grande. That person’s name is Donald T. No, perhaps that’s too obvious. D. Trump.

The Republican nominee recently found himself in a cage match with Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields after accusing the automaker of sending its jobs to Mexico. But one manufacturer that Trump does favor, one that he invests heavily in and whose products he plans to use to build a certain wall, also has a “Mexican problem.” (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2016

2015 Ford Mustang Flat Rock production

Update: Added official statement from Ford.

Ford Motor Company is briefly shutting down production of the Ford Mustang at the car’s Flat Rock, Michigan, factory in a quest to avoid ballooning inventory ahead of the winter months, Bloomberg reports.

Year-over-year, U.S. sales of the Ford Mustang tumbled 32 percent in September 2016 in response to rapidly elevating incentives on the Chevrolet Camaro. As the Camaro outsold the Mustang for the first time since October 2014, Mustang sales fell to a 23-month low, causing inventory at the end of September 2016 to rise to an 89-day supply, up from 71 days of supply one month earlier.

The temporary idling at Ford’s Flat Rock facility will allow Ford to bring U.S. Mustang inventory down to more appropriate levels. 60 days of inventory is considered normal.  (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2016

Fidanza Ford Mustang

They say impersonation is the greatest form of flattery, but that flattery has some serious financial consequences in the world of aftermarket parts.

Ohio-based Fidanza Performance, a supplier of aftermarket clutches, flywheels, and other parts, is the latest victim of Chinese knockoff artists selling “Fidanza-like” products on eBay and through unauthorized retailers.

Needless to say, Fidanza president Jeff Jenkins isn’t thrilled by the mimicry.

(Read More…)

By on August 16, 2016

2016 Toyota TacomaAmerica’s midsize pickup truck segment grew 19 percent in the first seven months of 2016. But as demand for midsize pickups expands throughout the remainder of 2016, it’s increasingly unlikely that the Toyota Tacoma will be able to make the most of the heightened interest.

Tacoma inventory has been tight for months, requiring Toyota to take full advantage of very specific modifications put in place at the San Antonio, Texas, and Baja California, Mexico, production lines a number of years ago.

No longer does a Tacoma roll off the San Antonio line every 65 seconds — it now takes only 60 seconds. There’s even a Saturday shift that drives the San Antonio plant up to 123-percent capacity. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2016

Vauxhall-Astra-297766

Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union could cause General Motors to up and leave the country, industry analysts predict.

Production of Vauxhall and Opel vehicles could shift across the Channel if the EU places import tariffs on vehicles bound from Britain, LMC Automotive said in a report, ending GM’s decades-long presence. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2016

GM

General Motors executives are breathing a sigh of relief after the automaker reached a deal with a supplier that threatened to shut down GM’s entire U.S. assembly operation.

The automaker hammered out an agreement with the bankrupt Clark-Cutler-McDermott Company, a supplier of trim and acoustic insulation that GM had been propping up financially since March, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2016

General Motors #AMERICA

GM is facing off with a key parts supplier in bankruptcy court today, but the drama between it and the Clark-Cutler-McDermott Company started at the same time the automaker handed the company a nice award.

The Massachusetts-based CCM axed its workforce on July 8 and declared chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving the automaker without the insulation and trim parts needed to build most of its vehicles. A continued disruption in the supply chain would be a massive blow to the automaker, forcing it to shut down assembly plants throughout North America.

Court documents show that at the same time GM was handing CCM a “Supplier of the Year” award at Detroit’s Cobo Center on March 10, CCM had already told GM it had defaulted on a loan and was looking for a handout in order to stay afloat. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2016

GM-NASA Space Robot ‘Power’ Glove Finds New Life on Earth

Not too long ago, engineers from General Motors and NASA stood around a glove, thinking, we can rebuilt this — better, stronger, more dexterous than before.

Well, they did, and now RoboGlove — a term that conjures up images of a vaguely 1980s dystopian future — will soon get its manufacturing debut at the end of select GM workers’ arms. (Read More…)

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