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Ford Investing $350M in Michigan Transmission Plant

Company retains 800 jobs with new product.

by on May.22, 2017

Ford is investing $350 million into its transmission plant in Livonia, Michigan, to add a new fuel-efficient transmission to the line-up.

Despite the growing pressures on the company’s bottom line, Ford is investing $350 million in a transmission plan in Livonia, Michigan, to add a new transmission to expand its line-up of fuel-efficient powertrains as part of the company’s plan to fortify its core automotive business, which is facing tighter fuel-economy standards.

Ford and the United Auto Workers said the investment in Livonia will lead to the retention of 800 hourly jobs to support production of the new transmission. Ford expects to begin adding jobs late this year, with the majority coming next year and in 2019.

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“We remain committed to American manufacturing and investing in our people and facilities,” said Joe Hinrichs, newly named executive vice president and president of Global Operations. (more…)

New Ford CEO Hackett Draws Comparisons to Former Chief Mulally

Bill Ford praises new leader, commends newly "retired" Fields.

by on May.22, 2017

Jim Hackett, left, and Bill Ford, right, during Hackett's introduction as President and CEO.

Ford Motor Co. officially named Jim Hackett as its new president and chief executive officer and with his experience outside of the automotive world, the appointment immediately called to mind another recent Ford CEO — Alan Mulally.

Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman and great grandson of the company’s founder, alluded to Mulally’s appointment as CEO during the press conference. Mulally infused Ford with a sense of optimism that it could and would win and he firmly believes Hackett can now do the same thing, said Ford, who indicated that more changes in the ranks of the company’s senior management will be forthcoming in next few weeks as the shakeup continues.

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Hackett, 62, has a long track record of innovation and business success as CEO of Steelcase, interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan and executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. (more…)

BMW Bolstering R&D Spending for 2017

German maker looking to push electrification efforts.

by on May.22, 2017

BMWs R&D budget is getting a boost to ensure it can expand its electrification efforts.

Facing pressure from regulators in China and Europe to reduce emissions and to push ahead with the electrification of its product portfolio, BMW expects its research and development budget, when measured as a percentage of sales, to rise in 2018, BMW chief financial officer said in a German newspaper.

“Reducing CO2 emissions, electrifying engines and autonomous driving are the key challenges for our industry over the next years,” BMW CFO Nicolas Peter told Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

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Peter said that R&D spending would account for about 6% of sales this year, up from 5.5% in 2016. (more…)

Tesla Wrestling With Challenges, Pressure from Plant Workers

Growing pressure on plant floor causing injuries, employee turnover.

by on May.19, 2017

Employees at Tesla's production facility in Fremont, California, complain of poor working conditions and injuries resulting from them.

While Tesla moves to push ahead with production of the Model 3, it is facing challenges inside its factory in Fremont, California, that include an increasingly restless workforce where turnover is high and complaints about on the job injuries are mounting.

The United Auto Workers has launched an organizing drive and pro-union have now filed multiple charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming they have been harassed for pro-union activity. Tesla has denied the charges.

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But Tesla also has been hit with complaints about working conditions inside the plant, which has also been turned into a giant construction site as the company’s founder pushes ahead with his bold expansion plans. Musk has even talked the Bay Area Rapid Transit authority about building a new station closer to the Fremont factory. (more…)

Trump Administration Begins Process of Renegotiating NAFTA

Talks will begin in August.

by on May.19, 2017

The Big Three automakers would like NAFTA to remain status quo; however, the Trump Administration is renegotiating the deal this summer.

The Trump Administration has begun the formal process required to open the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement this coming summer.

President Trump notified Congress this week of his intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The talks with Canada and Mexico will begin “no earlier than August 16, 2017,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a letter to Congress.

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During the 90-day countdown, USTR will consult with “Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses,” he said. (more…)

Gas Prices on the Decline as Summer Driving Season Approaches

West Coast may see uptick due to refinery problem.

by on May.18, 2017

Gas prices are falling just as the summer driving season is kicking off.

With the summer driving season about to get underway, the price of gasoline is trending downward, following a small price spike in the late winter and early spring.

The national average is $2.34 per gallon, which is a penny cheaper than one week ago, seven cents less than a month ago, but 12 cents more than a year ago, according to the latest report from AAA.

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The latest report by the Energy Information Administration, a unit of the U.S. Department of Energy, shows that gasoline demand increased by 252,000 barrels in the past week. (more…)

General Motors Laying Off Tennessee Workers

Automakers looking to head off glut of unsold vehicles.

by on May.17, 2017

General Motors is planning to layoff some workers at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant to avoid accusing a glut of unsold new vehicles.

With a substantial inventory of unsold vehicles sitting on dealer lots, General Motors continues to reduce production and idle workers at various assembly plants in an effort to trim vehicle stockpiles.

The news of new cuts at GM follow a confirmation by the Ford Motor Co. that it planned to reduce its salaried staff worldwide by 10%. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced plans for cutbacks but has idled workers in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, and Belvedere, Illinois, as part of a plan to renovate its production base in the U.S.

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Earlier, GM had announced that it would idle some 1,100 employees at plants in Lansing and is now reducing production of the Spring Hill Manufacturing facility, possibly triggering some 250 to 300 layoffs in the 4,100-member workforce. (more…)

GM Pushes Expansion of Maven Brand in NYC

Car-sharing company adding 80 vehicles to Manhattan line-up.

by on May.16, 2017

GM's new car-sharing service, Maven, is expanding its operations in New York City by adding 80 vehicles.

With the big investments in Cruise and Lyft getting the lion’s share of attention, General Motors’ homegrown mobility start-up, Maven, sometimes get overlooked.

However, Maven is one of the fastest growing mobility brands in North America with operations in 17 different cities and plans an expansion in New York City that will make 80 vehicles available for car sharing in the heart of Manhattan.

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A year and a half after launching as a residential-oriented service in New York City, Maven will continue to expand into the boroughs and throughout the city to provide cars around the corner from where New Yorkers live, work and play, all without a membership fee, GM officials said.  (more…)

Tesla Bull Analyst Flipping to Bear

Concerns over fighting with tech companies causes rating change.

by on May.16, 2017

Morgan Stanley Analyst Adam Jonas switched from bull to bear when it comes to Tesla over concerns about potential battle with tech companies.

One of the Wall Street analysts that has been optimistic about the outlook for Tesla Motors’ stock has reversed course.

Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley’s lead automotive analyst, has downgraded Tesla from Overweight to Equalweight with a price target of $305, suggesting a 6% downside on the company’s stock price from current levels.

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The downgrade hurts Tesla because the electric-car company depends on the stock’s impressive valuation to help attract new investors. (more…)

GM Takes Lead in Sustainable Rubber Sourcing

Automaker hopes efforts slow deforestation, improve quality.

by on May.15, 2017

GM is working with its four primary tire suppliers, including Goodyear, toward more environmentally friendly rubber production.

General Motors is working with four major tire companies to emphasize a policy of sustainable, environmentally friendly rubber production that will move the industry and its complex supply chain toward net-zero deforestation while also upholding human and labor rights.

“Our supplier partners are an extension of our company,” said Steve Kiefer, GM senior vice president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain said during a press conference in Detroit that included representatives from Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Michelin the four companies that supply more than 80% of the tires to GM.

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“We want to encourage affordable, safer and cleaner options for our customers that drive value to both our organization and the communities in which we work.” (more…)