American Axle Strike Won't Affect Malibu Production
If the United Auto Workers (UAW) are expecting General Moneybags to "solve" the UAW strike using the Delphi solution (buyouts for everyone and your checks for free), they may be waiting a long time. Automotive News [sub] reports that the expected shutdown of the Malibu/G6 plant– due to lack of an AA-supplied part– ain'tgonnahappen.com. When asked when GM would run out of the part, supply guru Bo Andersson answered, "Based on the way I see it now, never." Bo added that his employer has "a good plan for handling the potential shortage" after they use up the supply of parts they " found " earlier this month. When asked if GM was receiving parts from another manufacturer, he declined to answer. But, Bo added, "What we learn every day is to have alternatives. It is my job to make sure we have alternatives for everything we buy." The most probable explanation: American Axle's Mexican operations are suppling the necessary bits. Alternative theory: China. Think about that the next time you equate "buying American" and "buying domestic."
If the recent Big 3 contract negociations weren't enough of a wake up call for Ron G and his Brothers, then the AA better be. I'm sure the UAW was counting on inflicting pain on GM to bring about resolution of the strike to their benefit. GM is showing remarkable restrained and adaptability in responding to the slow down. My guess is those workers out on strike will blink before GM does.
My guess is that the parts are coming from China. The big 2.8 have been tooling up suppliers in China to produce most, if not all, of their subcomponents for years now.
I read something in Automotive News (print edition) last year about some car parts corporate big-wig who was incensed to be handed a cloned (read: illegal copy) of one of his factory's parts. Then, as an engineer, he looked closely and was so impressed, he moved production to the rip-off plant in China. I've also heard tales from hot-rod parts suppliers stating that they can't get decent stuff from US sources any more; out of spec, late deliveries, out of control price increases, etc., and once they moved to Chinese suppliers, they got quality stuff, on time, at a far better price. Kind of scary. But it doesn't jive with my personal real-world experiences with Chinese made crap. Guess I really have to avoid Mal-Wart, huh?
Seems like regardless of where the parts are coming from, we've got to give props to GM for learning from past mistakes and showing up at this gunfight fully armed. So in spite of all the lessons left unlearned, give them a gold star for getting the answer right this time. Now, if they could just show this sort of tendency in correcting more of their problems, they might just pull out of that bankruptcy death-spiral...