Quoted – UAW officials expect third shift, hundreds of new jobs to be added at General Motors’ Flint Truck Assembly Plant – Flint Journal

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UAW officials believe a third shift — and about 750 new jobs — are coming to General MotorsFlint Truck Assembly Plant by the close of this year, a potentially huge shot in the arm for Genesee County’s economy.

“I believe we’re going to get a third shift,” said UAW Region 1-C Director Duane Zuckschwerdt, who said the additional workers could be on the job as early as spring.
Zuckschwerdt is the highest-ranking UAW official based in Flint and isn’t alone in his opinion. Detroit-based UAW International Vice President Cal Rapson and Dana Rouse, shop chairman at UAW Local 598, which represents hourly truck plant workers, have also told The Flint Journal that they expect to the job boost at some point in 2010.
GM spokesman Tom Wickham said it is premature to talk about the need for an additional shift but there are reasons to believe union leaders have strong grounds for their optimism. Among them:
• An important new product: Test assembly of GM’s light-duty crew cab pickup could start here by April with full production about July 1, Rouse said. Last year, the plant lost its  medium-duty commercial truck business when GM stopped making its GMC TopKick and Chevrolet Kodiak trucks but continued to build Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks here. It remains GM’s sole producer of heavy-duty crew cab trucks
• New investment: The company announced in September that it was investing $21 million in the plant to allow it to produce the light-duty trucks that have been built in Mexico. Wickham confirmed Friday that GM has quietly invested another $6.5 million in Flint Truck since then, allowing it to move a motor line and free up more room for production.
• Lower labor costs: Auto analyst Erich Merkle of autoconomy.com said GM is finding out that building vehicles in the U.S. makes sense in its post-bankruptcy life. New concessions from the UAW, including relaxed work rules and lower wages, “make the U.S. look much more appealing” than it did just a year ago.
• A visit from the big guy: It’s never a bad sign when the company chief executive officer shows up for a friendly visit, which is what happened when CEO Ed Whitacre spent several hours inside Flint Truck in December, his first visit to a GM plant since becoming CEO.
• A more optimistic outlook for truck sales. Merkle said he expects an increase in truck sales in 2010 just as he expects a slight uptick in home construction. He is among those analysts who believe there is a strong correlation between the two activities.
Scott Testa, an auto industry consultant and business professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, said demand for trucks will rise as the economy improves.
“Manufacturers have a vested interest in protecting that (truck) turf. Historically, pickups have been very good to the U.S. auto industry,” Testa said. “Ford and GM generally do well in that category.
“There’s very good profit and the foreign makers have not made as deep an impact” as they have on cars.

http://www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/2010/01/general_motors_is_mum_but_uaw.html

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Quoted – Consumer Spending Jumps 1.3 Percent in Aug – Nielsen Business Media

1960 Henney Kilowatt
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Cash for Clunkers” again helped to raise consumer spending in August, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The federal CARS program, which ran from July through Aug 24, 2009, helped boost new car and truck sales to grow consumer spending by 1.3 percent overall. This marks the largest increase since Oct 2001 and a substantial gain over July’s revised 0.3 percent uptick.

Overall spending on goods increased by 2.5 percent. Auto categories, particularly the sale of car and truck parts, accounted for much of the 5.8 percent increase in the purchase of durable goods. Spending on non-durable goods grew 1 percent (up from a 0.3 percent increase in July) and purchases of services were up 0.2 percent (following a 0.1 percent gain the previous month).

“The black cloud over people’s psyche, I think it’s starting to lift,” said Dr. Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, who believes the increases in spending directly reflect a more upbeat consumer attitude. “I also think a lot of retailers are getting more aggressive with their pricing, especially the large big box retailers like the Wal-Marts of the world. They continue to be aggressive and gain market share and bring out compelling goods that are allowing consumers to get more bang for their buck.”

Although spending increases were shadowed by slight inflation—pricing increased by 0.3 percent overall—Testa said it has not had a significant impact on consumers.

“From a historical basis, inflation is still very much in check,” said Testa. “Where people really begin to feel inflation the most, especially in these economic times, are in gasoline and food and in those two areas a lot of things have been pretty much in check.”

http://www.ddimagazine.com/displayanddesignideas/content_display/industry-news/e3i633220926c9bdcfe8c5d2c19bfe4be31

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As Old Auto Brands Fade, New Ones Appear

Result of a serious automobile accident.
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http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/apr2009/bw20090414_477032.htm

As U.S. auto companies are on the verge of collapsing, more overseas car brands are trying to get into the U.S. market.

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