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.


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Quoted – St Louis Post – Hummer dealership fights declining sales with guns

GM on E
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Like many of his competitors, Hummer dealer Jim Lynch is fighting for survival.

Unlike the rest of them, Lynch reached for a gun. Lots of them, actually.

Faced with declining sales and an uncertain future, his Chesterfield dealership has expanded in a direction that’s drawing national attention. It’s what happens when you replace some of those pricey Hummers with dozens of Glocks, Sig Sauers, Colts, Berettas and Brownings.

If Hummer and GM do balk at Lynch’s diversification, that won’t be a huge surprise to Scott Testa, a marketing professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.

It would be in line, he said, with the unimaginative way the U.S. auto industry operates.

“That’s how these car companies got themselves into this mess,” Testa said. “You’d think they would be very open-minded. But that’s not always the case.”


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GM to announce brand changes, restructuring moves

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General Motors will announce details of of its massive restructuring plan, including the demise of the Pontiac brand.

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As Old Auto Brands Fade, New Ones Appear

Result of a serious automobile accident.
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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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Big Three CEO’s you stink at Public Relations

I was reading the NY Times (the real paper one) and GM had a full page advertisement on what they were doing to turn around their business and why they should receive a part of the TARP bailout.

All I could think of is the stories that are being circulated in the news media that each one of these CEO’s flew to Washington on their private jets to present at the Senate Sub-commitee for the bailout money.

What are you guys thinking!

Didn’t you or someone on your staff think this out? In your defense it may have made all the sense in the world. Lets face it your companies are in dire need of help and the more time you spend on the problems of your companies versus standing with the rest of us schleps in airport security lines may have made financial sense. You may have flown in a team of executive who made that trip via private jet cost effective.

But for the love of God did you think of the repercussions this would have when it came to your image; and the perception that you are trying to portray to the American people and other stakeholders who are trying to support you in this bailout.

Lets look back in history at the last bailout of an auto company in the US. (At around the same time Britain and Margaret Thatcher bailed out British Leland which in retrospect was an unmitigated disaster). Chrysler was bailed out by you and me (the taxpayers) back in the early 80’s. Lee Iacocca and the rest of the Chrysler executives knew a lot about the value of symbolism and a positive perception.

To put it bluntly, they were PR geniuses. Lee took a salary of a dollar. Presented a succinct and logical plan for Chrysler to exit their financial malaise. Lee went on TV and other media pitching the plan, his cars and why he was the man to lead this charge!  Man that guy knew how to spin it!

Guess what Chrysler, lived up to its obligations and paid back the US taxpayer all the money they were given before it was due.  Lee did what very few executives do in this day and age.  He under promised and over delivered.

Did Lee quietly have his CFO wire the money to the treasury. No way Jose!!  He personally delivered a huge check to the treasury in Washington ala Publishers Clearing house with Ed McMahon.

Talk about symbolism!! Lee your the man!!

So here is the advice I would give the master spinmeisters at the big three.

Fly coach, come up with a realistic plan to get yourself out of this mess, cut your salaries and be very aware of the perceptions you are portraying in the media.

Peace out

They are starting to listen!  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123058397854440471.html

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