The talks about a new labor deal between Ford and the UAW have barely begun, and both sides already utter the dreaded s-word: Strike. (Read More…)
Assembly lines at South Korea’s Hyundai Kia ground to a halt this weekend after the companies ran out of a needed engine parts. Production of Hyundai’s Tucson ix, Santa Fe and Veracruz and Kia’s Carnival has stopped. On Wednesday, production of most of Hyundai’s and Kia’s cars will be affected unless the parts shortage is solved. The Korean units of GM and Renault will suffer, as well as Ssangyong. Do they all get their engines parts from Japan? (Read More…)
It stands to reason that Japanese car makers would rejoice over rising wages in competing China and over an appreciating Chinese currency. Rising wages make production there more expensive, a rising Yuan makes exports more expensive. Both should give the Japanese more breathing room. That reasoning is falling by the wayside. The Nikkei [sub] reports that these developments pose ”serious threats to Toyota’s profitability in China, strategic challenges that other Japanese companies must also deal with.” Just goes to show that you need to be careful what you wish for. And wait who else should worry. (Read More…)
Toyota was (after Honda) the second Japanese car company that came down with the current Chinese strike bug. Toyota is gladly taking a back seat on this. They solved their problems much quicker than Honda. Toyota said today that their largest plant in China will definitely be open for business on Monday. (Read More…)
A strike at two Toyota-affiliated parts makers brought Toyota’s largest assembly plant in China to a halt. No parts, no cars. Toyota’s factory in the port city of Tianjin near Beijing stopped production on Friday. A day later, it is unclear if production would resume on Monday, Reuters says.
The strike at a small plastic maker stops production at Toyota’s most important plant in China. (Read More…)
The Honda strikes have been settled – more or less. Now it’s Toyota’s turn. Workers at an auto parts factory in Tianjin, China, run by a Chinese subsidiary of Toyoda Gosei, 42 percent owned by Toyota, went on strike Thursday and had not returned to their jobs today, a Toyoda Gosei spokesman confirmed to the New York Times. The factory makes plastic parts for a FAW-Toyota joint venture assembly plant in Tianjin. It’s not the only strike that affects Toyota. (Read More…)
The strike at Honda’s transmission factory in China that has led to the closure of all Honda sites in China shows no sign of resolution. Actually, there is a new twist: Management is leaning on school interns not to strike, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reports. Why the sudden focus on interns? (Read More…)
From Reuters to The Nikkei [sub], the world is abuzz with the shocking news that Honda had to shut down assembly lines at all of their four Chinese auto assembly plants after workers at a Honda transmission factory in Foshan in southern China walked off the job. While the job action barely registers in the Chinese press, my phone in Beijing rings off the hook. Common question from abroad: “Are they allowed to do that?” There goes another myth. (Read More…)
You don’t want to be traveling in or to Europe these days. In Germany, Lufthansa’s pilots went on strike this morning, grounding 3200 planes. “The largest strike in the history of German aviation” (Die Welt) paralyzed German air traffic, and caused jams on the ground as travelers switched from planes to trains and automobiles.
Meanwhile next door in France, a nation is running out of gas. Workers at the six refineries owned by the country’s biggest oil group, Total, have been striking for more than a month. The work stoppage threatens to spread “to the two French oil refineries owned by US group Exxon Mobil, where strikes are planned for Tuesday,” reports the BBC. (Read More…)
GM’s Lordstown, OH plant was something of a poster boy for all that went wrong with the UAW over the past several decades, reports the New York Times. Poor quality, worker sabotage and crippling strikes led to the coining of the term “Lordstown Syndrome” as a symbol of UAW recalcitrance. Lordstown’s workers were so feisty that they even picketed their own union hall in the 1980s. Now, with the legacy of the Vega hanging over their heads, and the possibility of plant closure only narrowly avoided by securing the Chevy Cruze manufacturing assignment, the members of UAW Local 1112 are singing a different tune. “We were the bad dog on the street at one time,” 1112′s shop Chairman Ben Strickland tells the Times’ Nick Bunkley. “We’ve got 3,000 lives to worry about. The cockiness and the arrogance that we once portrayed — we definitely got a lot more humble.” That, it turns out, is in large part due to General Motors’ spectacular fall from grace.