By on December 17, 2010

Bailing out the U.S. auto industry was all in the name of jobs, jobs, jobs, and the recent sales increases in new cars should have made a decent dent into the jobless rate. It just didn’t work out quite as expected. By the end of the year, J.D. Power expects that 11.8 million units will have been made in North America, up 38 percent from 8.5 million units in 2009. And where did the jobs go? They went mostly south.

According to J.D. Power, “Mexico is expected to post the strongest year-over-year increase, with production up nearly 50 percent to 2.2 million units.” Ironically, it is the American idol, the truck, that accounts for most of the Mexican increases. But aren’t Americans supposed to downsize? “The addition of the Ford Fiesta” also did light a fire under Mexican production, says J.D.Power.

Next in line for production increases: The Great White North. “Canadian production is expected to be up 39 percent to 2.1 million units,” says J.D.Power. Canada gained disproportionally from the return of the trucks.

According to latest available data, (courtesy of Automotive News [sub],) N.A. truck production is up 51 percent. That translates into 66 percent more trucks made in Mexico, 71 percent more trucks made in Canada, and only 44 percent more in the U.S.

Overall, the U.S. gains the least. “Volume in the U.S. is projected to be up 35 percent,” says Power. Be glad that the U.S. still leads in absolute numbers: 7.6 million units will have been produced in the U.S. by the end of the year, assuming a properly functioning crystal ball at J.D. Power. (The ball appears to be in good working order, the numbers cross-check with those provided by Automotive News [sub].)

By the end of November, North American production stood as follows (data brought to you by Automotive News [sub]: )

North America car and truck production
YTD through 11/27/2010 YTD through 11/28/2009 Change
Total U.S. car 2,717,545 2,098,586 29%
Total Canada car 912,136 739,689 23%
Total Mexico car 1332834 907582 47%
Total North America car 4962515 3745857 32%
Total U.S. truck 4456291 3086310 44%
Total Canada truck 1028842 600533 71%
Total Mexico truck 782498 471801 66%
Total North America truck 6267631 4158644 51%
Total U.S. 7173836 5184896 38%
Total Canada 1940978 1340222 45%
Total Mexico 2115332 1379383 53%
TOTAL NORTH AMERICA 11230146 7904501 42%

For those who still don’t believe the numbers, Automotive News [sub] provides a breakdown of production by North American plant. The list reminds us that that there is a CAMI truck pant in Ingersol, Ontario, a Ram truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico, a Dodge truck plant in Zoluca, Mexico, a Chrysler truck plant in Windsor, Ontario, a Ford F series truck plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, a Ford Econoline production in Oakville, Ontario, a Chevy truck production in Silao, Mexico, and so forth. Those who have doubts whether some of these should be counted as real trucks should express their anger to the DOT or the EPA.

Were you curious why sales go up, and GM continues to cut down its ranks of skilled trade workers, of which it has “several thousand” too many? Now you know at least a part of the story.

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27 Comments on “Car Production Up, Jobs Go South...”

  • avatar

    Were you curious why sales go up, and GM firm continues to cut down its ranks of skilled trade workers, of which it has “several thousand” too many?

    I’ve read this several times at TTAC and just now realized that at Chrysler not one skilled trade worker has been offered a buyout. How could that be? Well, once again management makes a whole world of difference.

    Chrysler management has decided somewhere down the line to utilize everyone before hiring from the outside; therefore, when someone from skilled trades is not needed at a plant they are asked to go to another facility as a production worker while still getting paid the same (The exception seems to be electricians, they are always needed). Currently, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of skilled trade on the lines at Jefferson North producing Grand Cherokees, Warren Truck, Sterling Ass’y making the 200 and Avenger and other powertrain facilities. When the need arises for skilled trades, they had them all along, just pluck them out of production.

    So why isn’t GM using this same strategy? Short sighted poor management is my guess.

    • 0 avatar

      @pgcooldad….In Canada the CAW/GM agreement allows any laid off skilled trade to opt for assembly line work.

      I believe the US agreement is similar,only with a buy out provision for the most senior tradesmen.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess you don’t have to take the buyout offer. I’m just hopping that GM’s skilled trades can get relocated to the line and not layed off, but then again, just look at the agreement for the Orion Plant … criminal!

  • avatar

    Expressed as percentages, the increases in Mexican and Canadian vehicle production were greater than increases in U.S. production but according to the chart published by Automotive News, U.S. vehicle production, expressed as actual numbers, increased by more than Mexican and Canadian production combined (YTD through 11/27/10 vs. YTD through 11/28/09).
    Increases in production:   U.S. 1,988,940; Mexico 735,949; Canada 600,756.
    This rising tide seems to have lifted all boats in North America.

    • 0 avatar

      % is more important, to see how much each country gained from previous “base” level.

      What seems to be the “elephant in the room” is why Mexico didn’t have to chip in  on saving  GM and Chrysler from bankruptcy in early 2009.. ?  (only US and Canada)

      The slap in the face is that they are benefiting the most, after not putting any risk capital in !?!

    • 0 avatar

      I would respectfully disagree that the percentages are more important.  Neither country produces more than a fraction of what the U.S. currently produces.  If U.S. production were in substantial decline while Mexico and Canada were soaring upward or if either or both of them were likely to overtake U.S. production, then you might have something.
      As it stands, there isn’t much of a story here.

  • avatar

    Where in Canada,or who in Canada, is building trucks? Oshawa truck is closed,never to open. Ford truck assembly in Oakville has been closed for years.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda in Alliston makes (or at least made) the Ridgeline.  I don’t think they do so any longer.
      I suppose it depends if you call the Flex & Edge (made in Oakville, along with the Lincolm MKFlex and MKEdge), the Lexus RX (Cambridge) or the MDX and ZDX (Alliston) trucks.  I’d wager not.

    • 0 avatar

      Station wagons, all.

      Plus a truck shaped fridge.  Or is that a fridge-shaped truck, I forget…

    • 0 avatar


      Thanks for the PDF, it explains a lot, at least through May anyway. Bertel’s argument about Mexico may be correct as there is signiificant GM production there though it is quite a bit less than what goes on at Flint and Arlington. Canada doesn’t really figure into the argument as the HHR and Equinox are crossovers.

  • avatar

    I’m reminded of the new Chevy truck I saw the other day. Bumper sticker read: “ONE LESS IMPORT.” Had a bowtie, flag, and GM logo on it. I love ignorant protectionism.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, but it was still “Made in America” – meaning somewhere in North America which includes Mexico! Tsk, tsk, details, details!

      Rather disturbing, isn’t it?

    • 0 avatar

      Most of the Chevy/GMC truck production is at the Arlington, TX plant so I’m confused what would be coming, in GM’s case anyway, from Canada or Mexico. Ditto for the Dodge RAM (or RAM RAM) which I think comes from both St. Louis and a Detroit area plant. As Mikey says, there’s no Ford truck assembly in Oakville in anymore so I don’t know how Bertel has come up with these “assumptions”.

    • 0 avatar

      No “assumptions.”  J.D. Power data, cross referenced with Automotive News YTD production numbers for good measure. Both match. If there’s a mistake, then both made one.
      I think we have an “I don’t like the numbers, therefore they must be wrong” effect.
      Or, as an accountant who worked for me once said: “I never saw someone recalculate the numbers when I showed a profit. When I show a loss, they all break out the calculator,”

    • 0 avatar

      @ Bertel…. Okay, fair enough. What do these people call a truck. A Chev Equinox? Cami and Oshawa are running them. I think the Ford Edge is run in Oakville. Is that also a truck?

      I know for a fact the GM and Ford are not running any BOF trucks in Canada.

    • 0 avatar

      Bertel – I couldn’t care less, who’s buying what where, the numbers are what they are. I would just like to see the specifics so I can understand your analysis as it seems counter-intuitive. And no, there is no wounded pride with any of this stuff regarding China’s ascendency in auto production or Canada and Mexico enjoying success at the detriment to the U.S. It is what it is for a myriad of reasons. I think we have more of a “Let’s toss some bait out there and see what happens” effect going on here. It’s not going to work. 

    • 0 avatar

      Most of the Chevy/GMC truck production is at the Arlington, TX plant so I’m confused what would be coming, in GM’s case anyway, from Canada or Mexico
      This document (from May) should clarify your confusion. There are probably more up to date documents, I just didn’t have time to look. Anyway, the Mexican Truck production numbers are at the end of the document.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s interesting.  I was actually at a Chevy dealer this morning, dropping off my 2010 Malibu for an airbag light that has come on.  I wandered into the showroom and took a look at the domestic content stickers on the cars.  The Malibu I bought was rated at 75% domestic content, as is the current Traverse.  The Cruze is at 45% domestic content, with both the engine and transmission coming from Mexico (1.4 is from Austria), and interestingly, Austria being listed on both the 1.8 and 1.4 as being the foreign country providing the most content (I would think it would have been Korea or Mexico).
      Finally, I looked at a 2011 Silverado, long bed, regular cab, 4WD with the 5.3.  Although both engine and transmission were assembled in the US, the truck overall has only 61% domestic content…I was baffled at that, considering it used to be much, much higher.  Mexico was listed as the foreign country providing most content.  So is it possible that these figures on truck production may also in some way include production on major components, rather than just assembly?

    • 0 avatar

      I believe the trucks made in Arlington, TX are SUVs.
      Looking at the charts though, it is counting all crossovers and minivans as trucks.  So we aren’t just talking about the Silverado, F150s, and Rams.  We are talking about lots of crossovers that were made in Mexico BEFORE the bailouts started.  Go figure, crossovers are selling well.

  • avatar

    Unlike foreign brands, the domestics can’t just go to more competitive southern states to avoid the UAW – they have to cross the border.

  • avatar

    I keep seeing (and hearing) stuff like this: Although, they may not be the same rate as the plants down South that have just opened in the last several years. With GM trying to right-size (I hate that euphemism) it’s skilled trades, maybe that makes for better (bad) headlines, but but it appears the domestics are hiring.
    Besides, we’re confusing number of people on shop floor with plant output. With the re-equipped plants that the companies have, they can kick out many more cars with fewer people. In fact, that over-capacity is still an issue for the auto industry to deal with properly. But let’s not bring that up…

  • avatar

    How do I go about purchasing a Dodge Caliper? I assume I’d have to go to the parts desk for that. I guess the Caliber is such a POS, they don’t care about getting it right.

  • avatar

    Didn’t GM just start assembling Silverados and Sierras in Flint?

    The main Silverado truck assembly plant is down in Fort Wayne, which is South of Detroit on I-75. Further South, the Moraine plant closed two years ago and is probably part of the Old GM holdings.
    With regards to Mexico, the Silao a Toluca make trucks, but other than the Suburbans, I don’t know which ones make back to the US.

  • avatar

    It’s good to hear GM is adding production in Flint. As the company’s birthplace when Durant and Dort decided to expand into motorized buggies, there should always be a significant GM presence in Flint. When I see an old Buick I wonder if it was built in the now-gone great Buick City complex.
    I grow more fond of heritage and history as the years go by. An old car isn’t just a mechanical contraption, it represents industrial might, economic growth and social advancement. Leonard Read said no one person can make a pencil, and that goes a thousand-fold for motor vehicles. Making cars and trucks takes hundreds of skills, and–when all goes well–produces prosperity for all. There is no joy in seeing Detroit’s decline.

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    “a Ford F series truck plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, a Ford Econoline production in Oakville, Ontario, ”

    The autonews table is being misread–the products are above the assembly plant name, not below it.

  • avatar
    the dude

    The plant in Cuatitlan makes the Fiesta.  The Econoline van is made in Avon Lake OH.  Nice job getting your facts in order.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      Dearborn was shocked to learn from TTAC that Cuautitlan switched over from making Fiestas to making F-150s.  Cuautitlan should have at least informed us. ;-)

      But then again, maybe this mathematician from Dearborn is making one of those “I don’t like the numbers, therefore they must be wrong” mistakes.

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