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Auto Industry on Hiring Binge

Domestics and imports both putting out “Help Wanted” signs.

by on Jul.07, 2011

VW has already hired 2,000 workers at its new Chattanooga plant and will add still more for a planned second shift.

It seemed like the best of times; following its takeover by the German Daimler AG, Chrysler counted nearly 71,000 hourly workers on its U.S. payroll.  But by the time the partnership collapsed and the maker was rapidly plunging into bankruptcy, in 2009, the blue collar workforce had slipped to just 21,000.

The situation wasn’t all that different across town.  As the industry sank into its worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and many analysts began to doubt whether Detroit’s Big Three makers would survive, the makers raced to close plants, abandon unpopular brands and slash employment.  Once employing close to a million hourly and salaried workers worldwide, General Motors emerged from its own run through Chapter 11 with a workforce barely a tenth that size.

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But two years later, there’s a very different situation.  Chrysler, for one, has boosted its blue collar headcount by more than 2,000 since hitting bottom in ’09, and several company sources tell that the maker is likely to keep rebuilding its factory rolls, especially if sales and share keep rebounding.  GM and Ford are also hiring.

And the “Help Wanted” signs aren’t just out in Detroit.  The new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee has already hired 2,000 workers, while that number will grow by at least another thousand when the maker adds an anticipated second shift at the sprawling factory, which is producing an all-new version of the midsize Passat designed specifically for the American market.


Indian Maker Tata Turns To Detroit For Engineering Know-How

Maker plans to hire 400 American engineers.

by on Dec.06, 2010

Tata Technologies, part of the Indian conglomerate producing the little Tata Nano, is looking to hire 100s of Detroit engineers.

Tata Technologies, a subsidiary of India’s Tata Group, plans to hire 400 engineers by the end of the year at its technical center near Detroit to help with engineering projects for car makers in North America.

Dan Saad, Tata Technologies’ director of communications in North America, said the Indian firm is looking at candidates with engineering, design and in product lifecycle management experience.

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“The 400 positions are currently open in our HR database to be filled by January 3 that are a result of new automotive program work our engineering and our PLM/Consulting groups have won over the past
months,” Saad said.

“The positions are at automotive client sites – about 80% in metro Detroit, about 20% elsewhere in the U.S. We have about 500 employees in the U.S. now, and about 350” are assigned to the company’s Novi, Michigan offices, he said..


GM Has Added 6,900 Jobs Since Bankruptcy

Detroit Big 3 boosting jobs, but still far short of past peaks.

by on Aug.05, 2010

GM boosted its U.S. workforce by nearly 10% since last year's bankruptcy, says Girsky.

With demand rising for its latest offerings, General Motors has added 6.900 new jobs since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009, says a senior company executive.

In an interview with a Detroit radio station, WJR, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky also suggested that observers “will be encouraged” by the earnings numbers the automaker plans to report this month.  Inside sources have indicated that GM is waiting for the reaction to its second-quarter earnings before formally announcing the details of its planned IPO.

The long-troubled maker has been seeing a steady rise in demand since it exited Chapter 11 protection, despite the numerous plant closures authorized by the courts – and the sale or abandonment of four of its eight North American brands.  Overall, the maker posted a 5.4% increase in sales during July, even as arch-rival Toyota’s volumes declined.

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Significantly, sales by GM’s four surviving brands rose 25% for the month, and the Buick and Cadillac brands, in particular, saw volumes more than double.

The increases have largely been driven by demand for GM’s newest products, such as the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and Buick LaCrosse sedan.  If anything, the maker has been struggling to keep up with customer orders, dealers having barely a 15-day supply of the Equinox on their lots, in an industry where a 60-day supply is the norm.  That has led GM to bring back some workers on long-term furlough and also hire some new employees.