With the second day of the US federal government shutdown now behind us, we're getting a lot of information on how the closure is affecting people across the country. For the green car world, the biggest impact we know of right now is that the US Environmental Protection Agency is operating with a skeleton staff. According to Reuters, the EPA "will take one of the biggest hits of any federal agency" and only has seven percent of its work force at the office today.
Most domestic automaker assembly plants traditionally take a couple of weeks off during the summer. The shutdowns give each plant time for much needed repairs and maintenance, and in some cases, help better align production with demand. Not this year, though, as demand for many models is outstripping what Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plants can produce.
"Wow, this car really is quiet."
This is what bringing a behemoth back down to the proper size looks like. General Motors is looking for every way to conserve its ever thinning supply of money, and while April sales were better, the overall picture is decidedly grim.
A bitingly cold wind is sweeping through the Motor City this day, but the bigger chill continues to be the rapidly increasing number of idle plants from Detroit's automakers. As part of a previously-announced bid to trim first-quarter output by nearly 38%, Ford now says it will shut down ten North American factories the week of January 5. Unlike Chrysler's planned one month downtime (where they eerily won't commit to start dates), the Blue Oval has confirmed plans to re-light the fires in eight
It's hardly unexpected given recent gloomy sales numbers, but General Motors announced today that they will be cutting shifts at several North American plants. Unfortunately, nearly 2,000 workers will lose their jobs in the process as GM eliminates its third shift to slow production and ease the backlog of vehicles sitting on dealer lots. The affected plants are Orion, Michigan; Oshawa, Ontario; and Lordstown, Ohio (these plants manufacture the Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6, Chevrolet Impala, Che
The strike last week by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) against Performance Transportation Services (PTS) was the straw that broke the camel's back. The second largest car hauler in the United States was unable to survive the wage-related dispute, especially after filing for bankruptcy protection in 2006 and 2007. On Friday, PTS announced that it's stopping all operations and going out of business.
The AP got a hold of an internal email sent to all Chrysler employees informing them in no uncertain terms that they will be taking a vacation from July 7 through July 21. While some kind of plant shutdown is apparently common for most automakers during the summer, this corporate-wide stoppage will also include salaried employees, with the exception of a few teams that will stick around to work on special projects. A Chrysler spokesperson didn't divulge any hard details about the reason for the
The 10-day strike between American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. and the United Auto Workers union is now threatening to idle or partially shut down 13 more GM plants as early as Monday. Although talks are underway again, even a resolution over the weekend may mean closures as it takes time to deliver inventory and ramp up production. As of now, seven assembly plants at GM have already been idled after the AA workers walked off their jobs on February 26th.
That Porsche owns a significant stake in the Volkswagen group (and all its subsidiaries) is no secret. In fact, Porsche is even in the process of increasing its stake. Oddly, though, little seemed to be done to minimize the competition presented to Porsche products by those of VW divisions: Lamborghini Gallardo vs. Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi TT vs. Porsche Boxster and Cayman, Audi Q7 vs. Porsche Cayenne, etc. But now Porsche is reportedly taking aim at an easy target: Bugatti.
In anticipation of its upcoming 2007 models arriving, Nissan has decided to swallow a hard pill and shut down production at its three U.S. plants for six days by the end of July. Scuttling its plants in Canton, MS and Smyrna and Decherd, TN will trim 18,000 vehicles from its previously planned production schedule.
Idling seven factories will push Ford's restructuring costs up to a total of $3.4 billion (before taxes) for the year. The figure includes over $2.1 billion associated with early retirement packages, layoffs, and pension issues, as well as $280 million to close the plants.