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…)

By on April 27, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry.

(Read More…)

By on March 26, 2015

UAW Wages

During his speech at the 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit, president Dennis Williams proclaimed that the time for sacrifice and tiers are over.

(Read More…)

By on March 25, 2015

UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007.

(Read More…)

By on March 25, 2015

2015-mercedes-benz-c63-amg-11

Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz.

(Read More…)

By on March 23, 2015

Auto Workers at Labor Day Parade Call for an End to Two-Tier Wages

The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking.

(Read More…)

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