By on June 5, 2020

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

You read yesterday how Ford Motor Company plans to keep its salaried workforce working from homes presumably overflowing with baking flour and yeast until September — a measure designed to combat spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ford’s Detroit rivals have shown themselves to be pretty much on the same page in terms of pandemic response, though one player has always seemed a little more eager to return to a normal existence than the others. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2020

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT

While General Motors earned the right to resume production in Mexico on Thursday, parts procurement in the gradually reopening North American economy remains a serious roadblock.

U.S. plants came online May 18th following two months of pandemic-prompted downtime. Of topmost importance to all members of the Detroit Three are their hot-selling pickup lines, though UAW- and state-approved health protocol calls for a slow ramp-up, with all plants operating on reduced shifts. Parts supply will dictate those ramp-ups; in GM’s case, boosted pickup production in the Midwest will have to wait. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2020

gm

The Detroit Three has something of a problem. Sales of their cash-cow, bread-and-butter full-size pickups hardly waned during the extended pandemic lockdown, and are, as of a week ago, selling just as they had before anyone heard of the coronavirus. And yet the plants tasked with building them still aren’t online.

Automakers that just months ago were concerned with higher-than-average inventory levels now have the opposite problem. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2020

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Unlike their foreign rivals, Ford, General Motors, and, belatedly, Fiat Chrysler held off on nailing down a specific date for a production restart. The latter company was expected to begin ramping up production starting May 4th, but last week’s announcement by UAW President Rory Gamble made it the odd man out. The plan’s now off the table.

According to one report, the three automakers will present a united front, with each operation coming back online on the same day. (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2020

fca

The domestic auto industry is revving its engines, ready to cautiously punch the accelerator, but something’s standing in its way. That something would be United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble, who on Thursday appealed to companies to put the green flag away and think of their employees instead.

Seeing automakers angling for a production restart in the first week of May, the UAW boss said it was too early to move ahead.

“At this point in time, the UAW does not believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to have our members back in the workplace,” Gamble said in a statement. “We have not done enough testing to really understand the threat our members face.” (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2020

cami assembly factory

Much talk has been made over the past week of turning the auto industry’s manufacturing might into a so-called Arsenal of Health. In the U.S. and Canada, federal governments have turned to automakers for production of much-needed ventilators to save lives of coronavirus patients. Meanwhile, breweries and distilleries have swapped to hand sanitizer production.

Turning on a dime to crank out ventilators and face masks isn’t an overnight proposition, but an emergency effort to expand the availability of life-saving supplies would go a long way to save lives. The Detroit Three are already on it. Tesla, too. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company says it plans to idle all North American plants by end of day Thursday, keeping those facilities offline until the end of the month in an effort to cleanse them of coronavirus. General Motors is following suit, though Fiat Chrysler has yet to detail its near-future plan to protect workers and tailor production to reduced consumer demand.

The details come after the Detroit Three automakers agreed to a partial shutdown of U.S. production after advocacy from the United Auto Workers. (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2020

The domestic auto industry is quickly shifting into self-isolation mode as best it can, knowing full well that assembly plants can’t churn out shiny new automobiles with line workers sitting in their living rooms.

As North America moves into a new phase of the emerging pandemic, automakers are taking precautionary measures, all the while wondering how long the lights will stay on. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Image: FCA

There’s good news if you’re a U.S. farmer, however. A preliminary deal reached between the two countries this week would keep existing auto tariffs in place, though President Donald Trump claims there’s still the possibility of a hike.

It was the threat of import tariffs that brought Japan to the table following the U.S.’s 2017 pullout of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the agreement in principle announced this week keeps new tariffs off the table, though auto groups continue demanding action on an issue Lee Iacocca used to rail about: reciprocity. (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 - Image: Ford

After the industry’s first annual sales decline of the post-recession era in 2017, the small uptick in year-over-year U.S. auto sales in January 2018 shouldn’t be seen as a trend, analysts warn. This year will apparently bring more worry for automakers as buyers plan fewer trips to the dealership.

For the domestic brands, January brought a mixed sales bag. Two members of the Detroit Three posted significant sales declines, while the third squeaking by on the strength of light truck sales. Clearly, having a lineup full of pickups, SUVs, and crossovers helps a company’s bottom line, but it’s no guarantee of ever-higher volume in today’s market. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

Detroit (Bryan Debus/Flickr)

Detroit’s dominance in the domestic automotive sphere continues to erode. Whereas the manufacturing hub, home to Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, once churned out the bulk of vehicles built — and sold — in the United States, times have changed.

The former Big Three automakers no longer hold the majority market share in the U.S. (in 2016 it was 44.9 percent), necessitating a name demotion to “Detroit Three.” From Silicon Valley to the Midwest and South, a diverse group of automakers is busily assembling cars and SUVs for a population with very wide-ranging tastes. We’ve long since become used to the idea that many Hyundais now hail from Alabama, several Subarus come from Indiana, Honda models grow in Ohio, and BMWs arrive from South Carolina with a Southern drawl.

Now, one industry watcher claims the Detroit Three won’t even finish the year as the majority builder of North American-made vehicles. (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

General Motors #AMERICA

Before the end of the 1980s, disenchanted drivers were voting with their wallets in ever greater numbers. Family sedan buyers, burned by the quality control issues of the late 1970s, turned their attention to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, while German automakers increasingly carved off a larger slice of the premium segment pie.

In many cases, the buyers who turned their backs on domestic vehicles stayed in their new camp for years, buying another, and then another Japanese or German car. Luring them back remains a difficult task, as stigma often fades at a slower rate than quality improves.

“Buy American” campaigns are nothing new, but President Donald Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office has spurred a newfound focus on the health of the Detroit Three automakers. In a bid to bolster that health, the United Auto Workers union is on the verge of telling you to drive past all those import dealers.

Come home to America. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2016

Jerry Dias, Unifor President, Image: OFL Communications Department (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The union representing Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada has chosen General Motors as its target company as contract negotiations get serious.

Agreements reached between Unifor and GM will set the pattern for negotiations with Ford and Fiat Chrysler. However, the potential closure of GM’s Oshawa assembly plant means a strike is almost inevitable if the automaker doesn’t reverse course and offer up a big investment. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2016

GM Oshawa. Photo courtesy TTAC.

President for the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers north of the border says he has learned from past contract battles, and won’t make the same mistake this time.

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, promises that no contract deal will be ratified without firm product commitments, including at General Motors’ endangered Oshawa assembly plant. If GM intends to shut that operation down, a Canada-wide strike is virtually guaranteed. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

The last time the Detroit Three turned up at the Tokyo Motor Show was in 2007. One recession later, Jeep returns to Tokyo to represent the Motor City.

(Read More…)

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