Wards Auto began tracking North American light-vehicle production capacity utilization in 2005, and last year produced the highest amount on record: 97.8 percent of available production was utilized, an improvement of 9.3 percent versus the year before. The number represents straight-time capacity plus things like the addition of a third shift or a third crew and worker overtime due to less vacations. Production with straight-time capacity utilizing two shifts still came out to 97.1 percent in 2
Civil War Admiral David Farragut has famously been credited with saying, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" when he was presented with a challenging path ahead during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Specifically, the path was full of torpedoes. The Admiral has some "move forward!" ideological company in one Elon Musk.
Looking for a place to stash tens of thousands of unsold new vehicles, automakers are turning unused car carrier ships into floating parking holds. It's an unusual development, especially in a shipping industry that is used to having boats filled to capacity and running full steam across the seas. As shippers face sharp declines in traffic, the world's fleet of 640 floating car carriers have been forced to make serious adjustments to cut costs and determine ways to absorb extra capacity. With di
BMW's running full-bore as it strains to double its profit margin within the next five years. Across all 23 of the company's manufacturing locations, capacity is maxed out at 100-percent, and there's nary an extra Roundel badge to be had. As BMW pushes for a 10-percent profit margin, they're also putting the squeeze on suppliers. To the OEMs, it seems that BMW has shifted its focus from quality and innovative technology to the bottom line. Not helping matters was a public statement by Manfred Sc
Lamborghini's pushing to ring up 3,000 sales per year, about 500 more than they currently move. Were they to drop a new Miura, revived LM002, or some other new model, they'd likely reach that target without any problem. Lambo Capo Rupert Stadler isn't in favor of spending the considerable development dollars it would take to bring a new model to market. Before coming out with a new car, it's more prudent for Lamborghini to sell its capacity of Murcielagos and Gallardos first.
"We started off building and selling cheap cars, but now we are changing," says Geely Automobile Holdings Chairman Li Shufu at at Tokyo press conference. Geely is the purveyor of some of the most inexpensive cars in China, and now it's looking to sell in other markets. Citing Geely's great respect for Japanese manufacturers, Li expressed a desire to collaborate with them as Geely follows the trail they blazed over a generation ago. Competition in the Chinese auto market is cutthroat, and Geely h
There have been periodic rumors of a United States assembly plant for Volvo cars since at least the early 1980s. There was a North American construction arm of the Swedish carmaker, situated in Nova Scotia, but that plant has been shuttered for several years now. Volvo CEO Fredrik Arp has told Automotive News that an American plant would take an unacceptably long time to pay for itself, according to the automaker's studies. A weak dollar doesn't help the economic argument for a plant in the Sta
The September U.S. sales figures have just been released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and ethanol keeps going from strength to strength. The industry produced 333,000 barrels of ethanol per day which is a new production record. Demand though was even stronger at 380,000 barrels per day according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
Automotive News is reporting that the 2007 Toyota Camry could be the first car to break 450,000 sales in one year since the Chevy Impala did it back in 1978. That is, if Toyota's production capacity can meet the challenge. Currently there are reports of people following car carriers with Camrys right to the dealership and Toyota is dealing with a short 10-day supply of cars for those dealers. Not only is the Camry selling well (41,892 sales in July, more than the Nissan Altima and Pontiac G6 com
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