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GM Investing $1b in US Plants, Adding or Saving 7,000 Jobs

Plan in the works before election, maker emphasizes.

by on Jan.17, 2017

GM has already invested $21 bil in its U.S. plants since 2010, adding 6,000 manufacturing jobs.

General Motors has confirmed widespread reports on Tuesday that it would invest another $1 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations, but significantly increased the number of American jobs it plans to add.

The factory project will result in the creation or retention of 1,500 jobs, while another 450 jobs will be returned to the U.S. as GM transfers back production of axles from a plant in Mexico. In addition, the automaker will add 5,000 more jobs in finance and advanced technology “over the next few years,” it said in a Tuesday morning announcement.

Breaking News!

“As the U.S. manufacturing base increases its competitiveness, we are able to further increase our investment, resulting in more jobs for America and better results for our owners,”  said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “The U.S. is our home market and we are committed to growth that is good for our employees, dealers, and suppliers and supports our continued effort to drive shareholder value.”

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GM Investing $1b in U.S. Plants – Stresses Move Not Driven by Trump

New move to add or retain 1,000 jobs.

by on Jan.17, 2017

CEO Mary Barra said last week that GM will not alter investments to please the new president.

General Motors is expected to announce a $1 billion investment in its U.S. factories on Tuesday, a move that will allow the nation’s largest automaker to create or retain about 1,000 American jobs, according to several sources. Specific details about where the investment will be targeted have not been disclosed yet.

The announcement will come exactly two weeks after President-elect Donald Trump threatened to impose a “big border tax” on GM for importing the hatchback version of its compact Chevrolet Cruze model from Mexico. And it follows other investment U.S. announcements made this month by cross-town rivals Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Setting the Record Straight!

But GM sources stressed that the new investment by the automaker was not driven by the incoming president’s threats – a position echoed by GM General Counsel Craig Glidden in a story by the Wall Street Journal.

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Fiat Chrysler Latest to be Charged With Rigging Diesel Emissions

Automaker’s stock price tumbles in wake of EPA allegations.

by on Jan.12, 2017

The Ram 1500 turbodiesel has won a number of awards since its 2015 introduction.

Barely 24 hours after the U.S. Justice Department announced a $4.3 billion settlement with Volkswagen AG in connection with the German maker’s diesel emissions scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of rigging its own diesel engines to illegally pass emissions test.

The agency said the so-called defeat device technology “appeared to cause the vehicles to perform differently when being tested” than when in use in real-world conditions. That was the same thing the EPA, in September 2014, charged that Volkswagen had done. Since then, VW has paid out close to $25 billion in fines and penalties related to the scandal. And FCA stockholders, apparently fearing a similar financial hit, sent the maker’s stock tumbling in the wake of the latest revelation.

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Enviro News!

“This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides from the vehicles, threatening public health by polluting the air that we breathe.”

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The Demon Returns – as Next Dodge Hellcat

New Dodge Challenger SRT Demon could top 707-hp.

by on Jan.12, 2017

The Demon is coming - a scene from the teaser video announcing the new Dodge Demon.

For those who didn’t think the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat models, with their 707-horsepower hemi V-8s were powerful enough, salvation is coming – in the form of the new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon set to make its debut at the New York International Auto Show three months from now.

The Demon name is a blast from the past. It was used for one of the old Chrysler Corp.’s classic ‘70s muscle cars, though back then it was based off the old two-door Dodge Dart. Dodge hinted it might want to resurrect the name with the debuting of a roadster concept, dubbed Dodge Demon, that made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2007.

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The new beast, it turns out, will be based off the same modern coupe as one of Fiat Chrysler’s current Hellcat models, the Dodge Challenger SRT. But it apparently has some devilish new tricks.

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Management Shake-up at FCA

Manley trims portfolio – gives up China, but gets to focus on Jeep.

by on Jan.11, 2017

Mike Manley, here introducing the new Jeep Compass, is going to get to focus solely on Jeep and Ram truck after the shuffling of executives at FCA.

Seemingly always in motion, Fiat Chrysler’s Mike Manley might finally get a few hour’s sleep each night as he finds himself at the center of a management shake-up at the Euro-American automaker.

Manley will no longer oversee FCA’s Chinese and Asia-Pacific operations, it was announced on Wednesday. But what might seem, at first glance, to be a bit of a demotion is, at closer inspection, a recognition that Manley was simply too spread out to handle some of his more critical assignments.

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That includes overseeing the development and sales of some of the automaker’s most profitable product lines: the Jeep and Ram brands. Both have been gaining ground amidst the current shift from cars to light trucks. (more…)

FCA Touts 2,000 New US Jobs

Previously announced plans may avoid Trump tweets.

by on Jan.09, 2017

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's reorganization plan will add 2,000 new U.S. jobs the maker announced.

As part of Fiat Chrysler’s ongoing manufacturing reorganization in North America the company explained it will add 2,000 new jobs to the its ranks by 2020, the automaker announced yesterday, perhaps hoping to avoid being the next Twitter target of President-elect Donald Trump.

The automaker has been shifting its production in Michigan and Ohio to focus on trucks and SUVs, and is in the midst of a $1 billion plan to make that happen. The moves also include some movement of jobs from Mexico to Michigan, FCA officials noted.

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After Trump began calling out automakers on Twitter in recent weeks, many have been attempting to put their best foot forward, emphasizing manufacturing plans that have been shifting small car production to Mexico also net more jobs for the U.S. plants building the more profitable and popular trucks and utility vehicles. (more…)

Waymo Launches Test of All-New Autonomous System

Google self-driving subsidiary starts producing its own hardware.

by on Jan.08, 2017

Waymo CEO John Krafcik with the specially modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid using the tech firm's latest autonomous technology.

Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, will start testing a fleet of specially modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Arizona and California later this month, moving a big step closer to reaching the point it can start moving its self-driving technology from prototype to production, CEO John Krafcik said during an appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Sunday.

That was one of several big announcements made by Krafcik during his appearance at the annual NAIAS. Krafcik also noted that Waymo is now producing the various LIDAR – 3D laser – cameras, radar sensors and other hardware used for its autonomous vehicle technology. That has helped it drop costs by as much as 90% and speed up the development process.

“This future isn’t very far away,” said Krafcik, a former Hyundai Motor America chief executive, adding that Waymo’s goal is “building cars that can help millions of people every day.”

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FCA Shuttering Toledo Cherokee Plant to Prep for Wrangler

Maker continues plant re-organization efforts.

by on Jan.03, 2017

FCA is moving production of the Jeep Cherokee from Ohio to Illinois as part of its production overhaul.

Fiat Chrysler N.V. is preparing to shut down production of the current Jeep Cherokee as soon as April in what will be a crucial step in preparing for the introduction of next generation Jeep Wrangler and the long-rumored Jeep pickup.

The shutdown of the Cherokee plant in Toledo, one of the most valuable in the FCA production system, has been in company’s plans ever since FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne announced a sweeping re-organization of the company’s production plants.

Production News!

The transformation started last fall when FCA halted production of the Dodge Dart at the company’s assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois. In December, the Belvidere plant also stopped building the Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass, which will be replaced this spring by an all-new replacement built in Mexico, while the FCA assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, also stopped building the Chrysler 200 in December. (more…)

Chrysler Portal EV Concept Opens Door to Millennials

People-mover prototype offers 250 miles range, 20-minute fast charge.

by on Jan.03, 2017

The Chrysler Portal Concept offers a different take on family transportation aimed at Millennials.

Call it a minivan, if you want, but with the debut of the new Portal Concept, Chrysler is looking at an entirely new approach to family transportation.

Making its debut at CES, the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, the Chrysler Portal envisions a “fifth generation” people-mover that is clean, roomy and even roomier than today’s familiar minivans despite a smaller exterior footprint.

Out of the Box!

Following on the recent launch of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid which, despite its name, is actually an extended-range plug-in, the Portal opts for an all-electric drivetrain that can deliver up to 250 miles of range on a charge. And, using one of the new DC Fast Chargers just starting to pop up across the country, the Chrysler Portal can add another 150 miles of driving in less than 20 minutes.

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Analysts Lower Ratings on GM, FCA

Falling sales, rising incentives and oil prices dim view on makers.

by on Dec.28, 2016

Despite the introduction of new products and development on others like the autonomous Bolt with GM CEO Mary Barra, analysts cut GM's rating.

With sales peaking, incentives climbing, oil prices rising and production cuts coming, 2017 is already shaping up as challenging year for the global auto industry.

Some analysts have begun to scale back their outlook for the coming year, predicting that sales of new vehicles will decline as the boom that characterized 2015 and 2016 begins to fade.

By the Numbers!

The notion automakers are heading for difficulties was reinforced this week as Zacks Investment Research reduced its ratings on two the prime beneficiaries of the auto boom that got rolling back in 2010, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (more…)