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Japan Waiting on US for Signal on Trade Talks

Abe believes Trump won't raise tariffs before two sides talk.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Trump and Abe discussed the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Japan during Trump's visit.

Japanese officials believe the Trump administration will avoid slapping higher tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts that are imported into the United States as it faces off with China and the European Union on various trade issues.

While the majority of vehicles that Toyota, Honda and Nissan sell in the United Sates are built at factories in the U.S., they also import large number of finished vehicles as well as key components, such as engines and transmissions.

Trade News!

In total, Japan’s auto industry would suffer a value-added loss of about 8 billion euros or $9 billion and Germany would lose 7 billion euros, according to a new study by the German research institute Ifo. South Korea’s auto industry would suffer a loss of more than 3 billion euros. The Ifo study looked at long-run effects, about 90% of which typically occur in five years and 99% in 10 years. (more…)

Ford Cutting Operations in Brazil, Closes Oldest Plant

Automaker not waiting on tie-up with VW to improve business.

by on Feb.19, 2019

São Bernardo do Campo is Ford's oldest plant in Brazil. It makes the Fiesta and will be closed later this year.

When Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG announced they were talking about potential partnerships in the near future, one area many believed they would discuss was their businesses in South America.

The South American market has been tough sledding for much of the last decade and the two sides had linked up before with AutoLatina, which ceased operations in 1995.

Global News!

However, Ford isn’t waiting on a tie-up with VW to make moves down there, saying today it plans to close its oldest plant in Brazil resulting in 2,700 layoffs as it exits the commercial truck business in South America. (more…)

General Motors Investing $56M in Two Michigan Plants

Moves come after salaried personnel layoffs.

by on Feb.19, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra meets with a Romulus plant employee during an announcement of a $20 million investment there.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra must be feeling a little Oprah Winfrey these days; however, she’s handing out millions of dollars to GM plants instead of new cars.

Just a day after the company announced plans to invest $36 million in Lansing, Michigan plant, the GM today announced it will invest $20 million in its engine plant in Romulus, Michigan, a suburb just south of the company’s Detroit headquarters.

News Now!

The cash infusion will purchase new equipment to increase the plant’s capacity for future 10-speed transmission production. Romulus currently builds V6 engines and 10-speed transmissions used in several GM cars, trucks and crossovers, the company said. (more…)

Honda Shutting Down Lone UK Auto Plant

Maker says Brexit not the reason, but move highlights problems.

by on Feb.19, 2019

Honda announced plans to close its manufacturing plant in Swindon. It means the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Honda will close its only auto plant in Great Britain in 2021 becoming the latest automaker to say it was leaving and turning what was once a trickle into a torrent of closures due to Brexit. The facility makes the Civic.

The Swindon plant closure means the loss of 3,500 jobs and a tenth of all vehicles produced in Britain. However, despite early reports, Honda officials claim Brexit had little to do with the move. Honda officials said the company was focusing manufacturing in the areas where it has the largest sales, and Europe isn’t one of those.

Business News!

“We had to consider the rise of electrified vehicles, and the different speeds at which electric vehicles will be taken up in North America and Europe,” said Honda Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo. “This decision was not informed by Brexit.”  (more…)

UAW Local 961 Sues to Stop Transfer of FCA Plant to Supplier

Local believes bribery scandal may have influence transfer decision.

by on Feb.19, 2019

Members of UAW Local 961 filed suit to prevent the transfer of FCA's axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, to supplier ZF.

Members of United Auto Workers Union Local 961 in suburban Detroit have sued both the UAW International and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to prevent the automaker from transferring an axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, to the giant German automotive supplier ZF.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to halt the transition of the plant, which makes axles for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickup, and give the Local the opportunity to determine if any of the corruption cases in which both UAW and FCA officials have plead guilty to violations of federal labor law might have tainted the transaction.

News Now!

So far, five UAW officials and three FCA employees, including former FCA vice president of labor relations Alphons Iacobelli, have plead guilty in the federal investigation that originally began nearly several months before the original indictment was made public in 2017. (more…)

Commerce Dept. Report Could Trigger Tariffs on Auto Imports

Auto industry worries, waits – and raises strong opposition.

by on Feb.18, 2019

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross submitted the department's report determining if automotive imports could be declared a threat to national security.

Just hours before the deadline, the U.S. Commerce Dept. delivered a long-awaited report to the White House that could lead President Donald Trump to enact stiff new tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

The administration has not revealed what the report recommends, but Commerce was widely expected to support the president’s position that auto imports posed a threat to national security, a view that Trump has suggested could lead to the imposition of tariffs of as much as 25%.

Business News!

Criticism was swift and broad, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association noting, ““Not a single company in the domestic auto industry requested this investigation.” Like other critics, the group has warned that new tariffs could backfire and not only result in the imposition of tariffs on U.S. auto exports but also slam consumers with substantially higher prices, even on vehicles assembled in the U.S. (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

Global News!

The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

Ford CFO Shanks May Retire at End of This Year

He spent 34 years at the automaker.

by on Feb.15, 2019

Ford CFO Bob Shanks may be retiring at the end of the year, according to media reports. He's been with Ford 34 years.

Ford Motor Co. is working on thinning its employment numbers this year, apparently it will be able to add one C-Suite executive to those numbers: Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.

According to a report on CNBC, Shanks, the automaker’s CFO since 2012, is planning to retire at the end of 2019. He was vice president and controller before taking over his current role. The company declined to comment on Shanks plans specifically.

The Last Word!

“As all boards of responsible companies do, our board of directors regularly reviews executive succession plans to ensure we have access to the best talent available and are prepared for orderly transitions to take place should the need arise,” a Ford spokesman said in a statement. (more…)

Commerce’s Report on Auto Imports Affecting National Security Comes Sunday

Trump expected to do little with report right away.

by on Feb.15, 2019

President Donald Trump will soon have to decide if using punitive tariffs makes sense in negotiations.

Just days after proclaiming a national emergency that would take $8 billion from the U.S. budget to construct additional border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, President Donald Trump will be faced with another massive decision involving foreign countries.

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to tell Trump on Sunday whether or not foreign vehicle imports constitute a national safety risk and offer suggestions on how to deal with the situation.

Global News!

He’ll have 90 days to act on the Commerce Department’s recommendation. However, President Trump already has a plan in place for the issue: a 25% tariff on vehicles imported into the country. (more…)

Amazon Becoming Lead Investor in Rivian

Rumored GM investment could yet follow.

by on Feb.15, 2019

The Rivian R1T pickup will boast 400 miles range, according to the company.

Just a week after announcing a major investment in an autonomous vehicle development company, online retailer Amazon said Friday it will become the lead investor in a new, $700 million round of financing for Rivian, the Detroit-based battery-electric company.

Rivian is in the final stages of developing two all-electric models, the full-size R1T pickup and R1S sport-utility vehicle. It is aiming to challenge not only electric vehicle rival Tesla but the established Detroit automakers that have long dominated the full-size pickup market.

News Now!

Rumors of a deal between Amazon and Rivian began to circulate earlier this week, though some reports had suggested that General Motors would also come up with some financing. Sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com that this remains a possibility and suggest that Rivian could have more announcements coming. The automaker has scheduled a news conference for the New York International Auto Show in mid-April. (more…)