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GM Cutting 1K Jobs at Tennessee Plant

Move designed to cut down on rising inventories.

by on Sep.25, 2017

GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant is laying off 1,000 workers as the company attempts to quell rising inventories.

General Motors plans to idle 1,000 workers at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant as it, like other automakers, continues to grapple with weakening sales and an uncertain market.

GM is still calculating how many permanent and temporary workers will be furloughed, company officials. The layoffs, which will start after Thanksgiving, will be indefinite.

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The automaker also confirmed it will spend $294 million to update the factory to build a new compact sport-utility vehicle that will be sold by the Cadillac division.  (more…)

Mercedes Moves Closer to Launch of New SUV Family

Alabama plant will build part of the battery-based family in future.

by on Sep.22, 2017

Mercedes will build its EQC, an SUV-style electric vehicle for the 2019 model year.

Mercedes-Benz isn’t ready just yet to say when it will bring out the EV version of a sport-utility vehicle under the EQ brand, which was first unveiled a year ago at the Paris Auto Show.

Markus Schaefer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, declined to tell reporters during a press conference at the Mercedes-Benz plant outside Tuscaloosa, when the plant would build its first electric vehicle.

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Major automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, General Motors and Ford are all lining up to build new EVs, but the market outlook for the vehicles still remains uncertain despite pressure from national and local governments around the world, which are concerned about pollution from vehicles in major urban centers. (more…)

GM Talks With Unifor Deadlocked Over New Product

Union holds rally against NAFTA.

by on Sep.22, 2017

With GM talks halted, Unifor President Jerry Dias held a rally against NAFTA in Ottawa.

With negotiations at General Motors’ former CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, at a standstill, Unifor is holding a rally in the Canadian capital of Ottawa today to sound off against the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The union wants the deal renegotiated because it says the deal has cost Canada’s auto sector jobs and investment during the past 25 years, and it is part of the reason the why the workers are on the picket line right now.

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The 3,000 workers at the Ingersoll plant went on strike early Monday when negotiators from GM and Unifor reached an impasse over the automaker’s future plans for the plant, which has just started building a new version of the popular Chevrolet Equinox. In August, GM idled 600 employees at the Ingersoll plant as it shifted production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. (more…)

Daimler Investing $1B in US Plant to Electrify SUVs

Move gives company can produce EVs in U.S., China and Germany.

by on Sep.21, 2017

Daimler is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, facility to ensure it can produce EVs and the batteries to run them.

The German automaker, Daimler AG, plans to add $1 billion in new investment and create 600 new jobs at its manufacturing center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make electric vehicles and the batteries to run them.

The investment will finance the company’s strategic plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models Mercedes-Benz U.S. International that are expected to the latest technology needed for automated driving, said Daimler AG officials, noting the investment follow a $1.3 billion investment in 2015 for expanding the Tuscaloosa plant.

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The battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of the very latest technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the U.S., the company said in the announcement, which coincided with the ceremonies, marking the 20th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz production in Tuscaloosa.  (more…)

FCA, Hyundai Rumors Heating Up Again

South Korean media stoking acquisition fires.

by on Sep.21, 2017

CEO Sergio Marchionne is open to all options whether that means selling the company, partnering with another automaker or lopping off units.

Despite an air of crisis hanging over the Korean Peninsula, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s ongoing search for a partner or buyer has apparently migrated from China to South Korea, according to the South Korean press.

Rumors Hyundai Motor was looking to acquire the world’s seventh-largest auto manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles first surfaced in late August shortly after FCA’s flirtation with Chinese automakers appeared to falter.

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However, the rumors have taken on new life this week with lengthy articles in the South Korean press and speculation by analysts in Seoul that a deal for FCA could be in the offing. (more…)

Gas Prices, Fuel Inventories Continue Dropping

Refineries in recovery mode after Harvey, Irma.

by on Sep.20, 2017

Gas prices are now trending down with the end of the summer driving season.

Even with a chunk of the nation’s refining capacity closed and new hurricanes churning in the Atlantic Ocean, gasoline prices have headed down this week thanks to the end of the summer driving season and a heavy draw down by retailers on the record inventories.

As states recover in the South and Southeast from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, motorists in 45 U.S. states are paying less for a gallon of gas this week. At $2.62, national gas price average is the cheapest in 14 days and five cents less than last week, according to AAA.

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“Gas prices are dropping as the situation with refineries, pipelines and gasoline deliveries is positively progressing,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “It looks like pump prices will continue on this declining trend into the coming weeks as the regions affected by Irma and Harvey resume normal operations,” she said. (more…)

GM Buys More Electricity from Alternative Power Sources

Company wants all power to come from green sources.

by on Sep.20, 2017

GM is aiming to power all of its U.S. facilities with alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar.

General Motors is moving closer to its goal of using alternative energy to power its factories across the United States and end for good the company’s century-long use of electricity from coal-fired power plants.

GM announced this week the company’s plant in Ohio and Indiana, including the assembly plants that build the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, will meet 100% of their electricity from renewable energy by the end of 2018.

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GM said it plans to use 200 megawatts of wind energy from wind farms in Ohio and Illinois. Once the turbines come online by the end of 2018, renewable energy will power 20% of GM’s global electricity use, GM said in a statement. The goal is use a mix of onsite and offsite renewable energy solutions to reach to meet 100% of its energy needs. (more…)

Labor Dispute Cripples Production of Hot-Selling Equinox

Supplies at creeping toward critical levels.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Unifor President Jerry Dias said it's time for GM to reward the workers in Ingersoll for working lean and putting out best-in-class quality products.

The strike at an assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, has crippled production of one of GM’s hottest vehicles as negotiators from company and Unifor, the union representing some 3,000 workers, appear to have made little progress towards resolution to the unfolding dispute.

Unifor President Jerry Dias had said before the walkout began that workers would strike unless GM earmarked another vehicle for the CAMI plant in Ingersoll to replace GMC Terrain, which the automaker shifted to Mexico earlier this year. So far, GM hasn’t indicated it was prepared to meet the union’s demand.

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The strike by Unifor has cut production of the Chevrolet Equinox, which jumped 84.5% in the U.S. and by 33% in Canada during August.  (more…)

Waymo Asks Judge to Delay Trial Start

Google subsidiary says it needs more time to review Uber documents.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Anthony Levandowski is seen here discussing autonomous vehicles while still with Google in 2011. Photo courtesy Shinygogo.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car subsidiary, is looking for delay in the lawsuit it has filed against Uber so its lawyers have time to review thousands of pages of documents the ride-sharing pioneer has been forced to give up for review by its adversary.

The documents in question include a “due diligence report done by Uber prior to its acquisition of Otto, a self-driving tech start up focused on building automated trucks. Otto was founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee, who had access to Waymo’s most sensitive technical information and whose conduct is at the center of the litigation.

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Levandowski was fired at the end of May by Uber, which has also seen a wholesale departure of senior executives after it became apparent the company’s “anything goes” corporate culture left its intermediate and long-range plans in serious jeopardy. (more…)

General Motors Hit by Canadian Strike

Work stoppage crimps hot-selling Equinox production.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Unifor's Jerry Dias is leading a strike against General Motors at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

More than 3,000 Canadian autoworkers employed by General Motors at its assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, set up picket lines around the factory after GM and negotiators from Unifor Local 88 failed to reach an agreement on a new labor contract.

The strike is a tough blow for the company as it shuts down production at a plant that builds one of GM’s most popular vehicles, the Chevrolet Equinox. GM is in the midst of ramping up production of Equinox for the 2018 model year and inventories of the new vehicle are in relatively short supply.

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Dan Bothwick, president of Unifor Local 88, posted a message on the Local’s website calling for the strike, only moments before the old contract expired at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. (more…)