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News Articles (18)

Saturday, 06 April 2013 20:34

Tensions in Korea have GM on alert Featured

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Tensions in Korea have GM on alert
April 5, 2013 @ 8:13 am

By Bryce G. Hoffman and Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

 

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson said Thursday the automaker is closely monitoring the escalating crisis on the Korean Peninsula, has made contingency plans for its employees there and will consider moving production if tensions continue to rise.

"Anything that goes on in Korea is important to our global production," Akerson said during a live interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Detroit-based GM has about 17,000 employees and five plants in South Korea, which annually produce nearly 1.5 million vehicles. Only about 145,000 of those are sold in Korea; the rest are exported to other countries, including the United States.

"You've got to start to think about where you have the continuity of supply and safety of your assets and your employees," Akerson said. "We are making contingency plans for the safety of our employees as best we can."

But GM is not the only automaker that could be affected if North Korea makes good on recent threats to attack South Korea and its main ally, the United States. Analysts say South Korea is a vital link in the global supply chain that all automobile manufacturers depend on.

"If they do something, if this thing erupts, we've got a mess on our hands — and not just from a supply-chain point of view," said George Magliano, senior principal economist with IHS Automotive, in an interview with The Detroit News on Thursday.

"Whatever we get out of Korea is going to be put in jeopardy, and we have very little leeway in the short-run of getting around it."

What most automakers get out of South Korea, according to Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics LLP, is smaller electronic components such as sensors, servos, actuators and wiring connectors. The parts are used by a lot of companies on a lot of different cars and trucks. But Hall said they also can be sourced from a lot of countries if hostilities commence in Korea.
Supply-chain slowdown

"It would obviously affect the entire industry," Hall said. "It would cause a slowdown of availability, but not stop production in the United States."

Ford Motor Co. relies on a couple of dozen suppliers in South Korea.

"We continually monitor the external environment as part of our business process," said Ford spokesman Jay Cooney. "We're watching the situation closely."

Chrysler Group LLC also gets some of its parts from South Korea. The Auburn Hills automaker did not respond to requests for comment.

"There's hardly any Korean sourcing of large components for Chrysler," Hall said.

But General Motors gets more than just parts from South Korea.

GM Korea's headquarters, along with important design and engineering facilities, are housed in Bupyeong — only about 20 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone that divides South Korea from the Communist north. Factories there also build the Chevrolet Aveo, Malibu, Captiva and Trax; Buick's new Encore; the Opel Antara and Mokka; and vehicles sold under the Alpheon brand name.

GM's Changwon plant in the southeast corner of the country builds light commercial vehicles, while its factory in the western coastal city of Gunsan builds the Chevrolet Cruze and Orlando. General Motors has a transmission plant in nearby Boryeong.
Jong-un 'untested, young'

South Korea is also the source of vehicle kits that are sent to other countries around the world for local assembly.

"We do have outside consulting firms (and) we seek their advice, counsel and try to estimate what's going to happen," Akerson said in the CNBC interview. "But quite frankly, it's kind of like talking about baseball: Who's going to win the National League and American League this year?"

The GM chief said he did not know what would come of North Korea's threats, and said he doubts Washington does either. Akerson called North Korea's 20-something President Kim Jong-un an "untested, young, unseasoned leader," albeit one who possesses nuclear weapons.

Of course, no automakers have more at stake in the crisis than South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Co.

Neither company was available for comment at press time.

Magliano said the Korean supply chain is not as fragile as it was just a few years ago. Parts manufacturers there have learned the hard lessons of recent natural disasters in Japan and Southeast Asia, events that took many suppliers out completely.

"They look at what happened with the earthquake in Japan and the flooding in Thailand," he said. "The Koreans are moving their own production out of Korea. They're building components where they sell them, including in North America."

 

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Thursday, 28 March 2013 21:11

UAW says membership rose slightly in 2012

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UAW says membership rose slightly in 2012

 
  • Thursday March 28, 2013

(Reuters) - The United Auto Workers union said on Thursday it added members for the third straight year in 2012, as it organized workers from casinos as well as auto parts companies in Alabama and Kentucky, the union said on Thursday.

The slight gain of 0.5 percent to 382,513 UAW members was achieved even as the union has not been able to organize any of the large auto assembly plants owned by foreign companies in the U.S. South.

Union membership in the United States has been on a long-term decline since the 1970s. The UAW has shown the same pattern after its numbers peaked in 1979 at about 1.5 million members.

 

Its membership sunk to 355,191 in 2009.

Fewer auto plants and automation at remaining plants has gone a long way toward cutting the UAW's membership.

The union is active in trying to organize workers at two Tennessee auto plants and one in Mississippi.

The UAW presented its annual membership data to the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday.

"UAW membership continues on a steady path of recovery, even in the face of concerted attacks on workers and collective bargaining," said UAW President Bob King.

King, who is a former chief organizer for the UAW, said that 2011's four-year contracts with the three major U.S. automakers led to commitments for investment by the companies that have led to job growth, and will do so through 2015.

The annual membership report by the UAW came on the day that the "right-to-work" law became effective in Michigan. Michigan became the 24th state that bans the mandatory collection of dues from represented workers.

Contracts with the three major U.S. automakers, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group LLC do not expire until the second half of 2015. The new law, passed during a lame duck session of the Michigan legislature in December, does not affect workers covered by contracts in effect before Thursday.

The UAW membership numbers reported to the Labor Department do not reflect workers who agreed to join the UAW last year that by the end of the 2012 had not completed negotiations on their first contracts, the union said.

If these workers were to be included, the membership count would be more than 400,000, the UAW said.

 

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General Motors supports seizure of 50,000 counterfeit vehicle parts in Saudi Arabia

  • AMEinfo.com
    by Siba Sami Ammari
    Monday, March 25 - 2013
    Saudi Arabia: 

Law enforcement agencies and Customs in Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the General Motors Global Investigations team, seized more than 50,000 ACDelco counterfeit products across the Kingdom in February, in the latest raids and detentions conducted to prevent the counterfeiting of vehicle parts in the Middle East.

 
They included an in-market raid against a distributor in Riyadh for counterfeit oil filters, air filters and wipers as well as a Customs seizure in Dammam of counterfeit wiper blades.

The seizures build on last year, when the GM Global Investigations team carried out a series of investigations and raids, and supported Customs with product detentions in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

As a result thousands of counterfeit automotive spare parts were removed from the market and destroyed, thereby protecting consumers across the Middle East from poor quality parts.

"Most raids in the Middle East target importers or in-market distributors. Some of these in-market distributors are found to be producing their own counterfeit packaging or labels, so in these cases, we move to try and seize their equipment," said Scott Emmer, General Motors Global Security Manager, Global Brand Protection.

"In the past, we have also raided small manufacturers of glass products and windshields in Egypt. However, most counterfeits are still produced in China and are then exported globally," said Emmer.

Enforcement actions in other countries also directly impact the Middle East market. For example, a recent seizure in China of approximately 35,000 counterfeit ACDelco wipers was intended for export to the United Arab Emirates.

Furthermore, raids in New York and New Jersey by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last month resulted in the seizure of counterfeit ACDelco gaskets, spark plug wire sets and hubs that in part, were likely destined for the Middle East.

Global automotive counterfeiting is estimated at $12bn according to the U.S Federal Trade Commission. In the Middle East, this figure is estimated to be $1bn.

To help tackle the issue of counterfeit parts and accessories, GM set up the Global Investigations team which is part of GM Global Security. GM Global Investigations works with a global network of brand protection and investigators and partners, ranging from law enforcement, administrative authorities and customs agencies, to identify and remove counterfeits from the market.

As well as working with Customs and law enforcement agencies, the GM Global Investigations team cooperates with other manufacturers to tackle the issue of counterfeiting.

"Cooperation includes basic sharing of best practices, seeking referrals from outside service providers and engaging in joint market surveys to gauge the level of counterfeits in specific markets in the Middle East," said Emmer.

"Last year the GM Global Investigations team also participated in joint raids in the United Arab Emirates with other brands," Emmer added.

Counterfeit or other infringing parts are manufactured, packaged and represented in a way to mislead the public. Imitators often duplicate a trademark or packaging designs, or alter it just enough, so that the average customer does not notice the difference.

The people who make and sell these fakes want consumers to think they are getting a part produced by a reputable brand such as ACDelco or General Motors. The manufacturers of counterfeit parts are also undertaking a criminal offense.

Supporting efforts to tackle counterfeit parts and accessories, General Motors Middle East sponsored the "The Arab Forum for the Prevention of Commercial Fraud and Imitation and the Protection of Intellectual Rights" held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier this month.
 
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Thursday, 21 March 2013 22:27

Chinese Hacking and The Art of War

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Chinese Hacking and The Art of War

The Huffington Post
Posted: 03/21/2013 3:12 pm

By: Peter Navarro

 

Finally, there appears to be real alarm in the White House over Chinese cyberattacks. The president recently summoned top corporate leaders to the White House to discuss this growing threat even as he dispatched newly appointed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to confront his counterparts in Beijing. Here's what the president should be telling the American people.

First, Chinese cyberattacks are rapidly escalating -- not just in their sheer number but also in the range of targets. During the 2010s, China's "Red Hacker" brigades focused primarily on acquiring military secrets. Today, these bandits are relentlessly probing American corporations, stealing everything from technologies and trade secrets to bid documents and financial information. Their goal is to pirate products and seize markets - and thereby steal American jobs.

Second, Beijing's denials notwithstanding, privatized cyberhacking is strongly encouraged by the Chinese government. Its "Red Hacker" militia is organized into thousands of small groups with names like "Green Army Corps," "the Crab Group," and even all-girl ensembles like "Six Golden Flowers." This vast underground network is both a training ground and a recruitment center. Indeed, the very best hackers wind up working for the government itself.

Third, we increasingly run the risk that Chinese hackers will take control of, and possibly destroy, key elements of our infrastructure -- from telecommunications and our electricity grid to our water supply and subway systems. Lest you think this is science fiction, just consider this scenario:

A Chinese engineer at a factory in Chengdu designs a remote control "backdoor" into a computer's operating system or, alternatively, a "kill switch" into a complex, custom computer chip. China then exports these secretly embedded "Manchurian" chips and backdoors to the United States where they become part of larger systems that perform their normal functions. Meanwhile, just as in the movie The Manchurian Candidate, these devices await some kind of signal that allows Beijing's cyber bandits to either shut down or take control of the equipment. In fact, planting such Manchurian chips is remarkably easy to do since China has become the world's de facto factory floor. Modern software programs have millions of lines of code to bury a bug in while microchips for our computers and phones and iPods contain hundreds of millions of logic gates in which to hide a digital surprise.

In considering all these dangers, we must dismiss out of hand the argument that "all countries engage in some kind of cyber espionage so we shouldn't single out the Chinese." It's one thing for the U.S. to spy on China or Russia or Iran to make sure that they don't drop missiles on us. It's quite another thing for China to hack into General Motors or Google or General Electric or DuPont and steal the technology which is designed to create jobs for our country even as it hacks into the Pentagon to steal weapons systems that are now pointed at our own Pacific fleet.

In light of the severe damage Chinese hacking is doing to America's economy and national security, the president and Congress should call it exactly what it is -- an act of war. Our leaders would also do well to acknowledge one of the most important lessons of Sun Tzu's The Art of War -- required reading for every Chinese bureaucrat and military officer: The best way to defeat an enemy is to do so without firing a shot. Chinese strategists clearly understand crippling the industrial base of the United States provides a clear path to victory; and Chinese hacking is now helping to serve exactly that purpose.

 

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GM to invest $250 million retooling CAMI plant in Ingersoll

 
 
GM's CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont. is getting a $250 million infusion of cash, the company announced Friday.
Dave Chidley / The Canadian Press

By: Dana Flavelle Economy, Published on Fri Mar 08 2013

There were cheers on the floor of the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., after General Motors announced it will invest $250 million to support future vehicle production, a Canadian Auto Workers official said Friday.

The Oshawa-based auto maker said the money will be used to install flexible body shop equipment and tooling at the plant, a move that will make the plant more flexible and cost effective.

“Conversion of the CAMI assembly plant to a flexible manufacturing facility will provide CAMI with the ability to produce multiple global architectures and body styles,” said Kevin Williams, president and managing director, General Motors of Canada.

Construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks, the company said.

The plant, which makes the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, was reportedly in competition with U.S. plants for future production of the next generation models of those vehicles.

The company had no specific announcements to make on future vehicle production, a spokesperson said.

But a union official said an investment of that size is always a good sign. “Anytime you throw that kind of money into a plant it very much helps our job stability in the long term,” said CAW plant chair Mike Van Boekel. “The floor’s very excited, very happy with the announcement.”

The plant, which is operating at capacity, employs 2,700 people, including 2,400 hourly workers.

The announcement comes just days before CAW Local 88 enters bargaining with GM for a new contract covering the CAMI plant.

Earlier this year, the unionagreed to open its contract at the plant six months ahead of schedule, saying it would help the plant win new product mandates and secure its members jobs. Bargaining with the company is scheduled to begin Monday.

The union will seek the same economic deal its members received at other GM plants last fall. That deal maintained the current pay rates for existing employees but cut starting rates and benefits for new hires.

Manufacturing flexibility is a key priority for General Motors, and this investment will give CAMI the ability to build a higher variety of differentiated products, on multiple platforms, at much lower costs, the company said Friday.

The next generation of Equinox and Terrain vehicles is due to launch in 2015.

There had been reports GM could move future production of those vehicles to its lower-cost plants in Spring Hill, Tenn., or Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

GM has said Canada is the world’s most expensive place to build cars.

General Motors employs more than 9,000 people across Canada and makes a range of vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands.

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Hennessey promises a 1,000 horsepower 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray package

The folks from Hennessey Performance have recently announced their intents for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray including a collection of performance parts capped off by a variety of forced induction packages – with the top of the line Hennessey C7 Corvette expected to hit the 1,000 horsepower mark.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Hennessey Performance has long had a reputation for offering incredibly powerful aftermarket upgrade packages for a variety of American performance cars including the Chevrolet Corvette and although the company has likely not had much time to develop go-fast goodies for the new C7 Corvette Stingray, the Texas based tuner has already offered an idea of what they plan to offer for the new Corvette. These Hennessey Performance features including things like cold air intake systems, cat back exhaust systems and stainless steel long tube headers but the more exciting options will be the return of the Hennessey forced induction packages.

First off, Hennessey plans to offer supercharged packages for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that will offer “up to 700 horsepower”. Right now, Hennessey offers two different packages for the C6 Corvette including the HPE600 and the HPE700 models with the number in the name denoting how much power the package sends to the wheels. Both of these packages use the standard LS3 V8 topped by a TVS2300 supercharger setup with a host of other additions to allow the C6 to make that power safely. Things like fuel system upgrades, ported cylinder heads, custom camshafts and a unique ECU tune are called upon to help the 430hp LS3 make either 600 or 700 horsepower and we can expect that the Hennessey C7 Corvette Stingray will use many of those similar items on the new LT1 V8.

Next, Hennessey will offer a range of twin turbocharged packages that will offer between 800 and 1,000 horsepower under the hood of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It will be interesting to see if Hennessey builds and tunes the new LT1 to handle the amount of boost needed to safely and reliably make 800 to 1,000 horsepower or if they will use a different engine altogether. There are currently two twin turbo packages available for the C6 Corvette but neither of those setups use the standard LS3 V8. The HPE800 offers an impressive 800 horsepower will a stroked version of the LS3 measuring 415 cubic inches compared to the standard size of the LS3 which is 376 cubic inches. This extra engine volume, a serious engine build featuring fully forged internals and high flow cylinder heads, twin ball bearing turbochargers, an air to air intercooler and a major fuel system upgrade allows the C6 Corvette to make 800 horsepower. On the other hand, the HPE1000 Corvette, which offers an astonishing 1,000 horsepower, calls upon the 427 cubic inch LSX crate engine along with the rest of the required goodies to pump out a bone chilling 1,000 horsepower.

Considering that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is powered by the new 6.2L LT1 V8 with expected output figures of 450 horsepower and 450lb-ft of torque, it will be interesting to see if Hennessey can squeeze out an extra 550 horsepower from that engine or if they plan to swap the LSX into the C7 Corvette to make all of that power. In any case, a 1,000 horsepower 2014 Corvette Stingray should certainly be an instant legend in the automotive world. According to the Hennessey website, the company plans to offer these packages for both the C7 Corvette Stingray Coupe and Convertible so – in theory – Hennessey may be offering a drop top Stingray with as much as 1,000 horsepower.

I just want to go ahead and say it again in case it hasn’t sunken in just yet – a 1,000 horsepower Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Yum.

In addition to the massive power upgrades, Hennessey will also offer the necessary items to make the most of that power in the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray including wheel/tire combinations, higher performance Brembo braking packages and suspension systems that should make the C7 just as comfortable on the track as it is on the street.

Unfortunately, since the odds are good that Hennessey hasn’t gotten their corporate mitts on a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette just yet, it could be a while before we see the first 1,000 horsepower Hennessey Corvette Stingray but everyone who loves horsepower should sleep a little easier at night with the knowledge that a 1,000 horsepower twin turbo package for the new Corvette is on the way.


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GM South Korean Unit to Spend $7.3 Billion to Expand

General Motors Co. (GM), the world’s second-largest automaker, announced plans to invest 8 trillion won ($7.3 billion) over five years to expand in South Korea, saying the market remains important to the company.

The GM Korea unit will boost manufacturing facilities and double the size of its design center this year making it the company’s third-largest after the U.S. and Brazil, the Detroit- based automaker said in a statement today.

“GM Korea will continue to play a major role in our global growth plans,” Tim Lee, GM international operations head, said in the statement. The investment “reinforces our commitment to GM Korea,” he said.

The automaker is increasing investment at the unit from 1 trillion won a year as it starts building new models to compete with a resurgent Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) The maker of the Prius regained the top spot in global sales from GM last year.

GM reported a third straight year of profit in 2012, led by sales in the U.S. and China, while losses in Europe more than doubled. The company is counting on Asia for growth outside the U.S. as it expects European demand will fall further this year.

GM vehicles produced in South Korea are exported to 150 markets on six continents, the company said in October. The South Korean operations have helped bolster GM’s product lineup in China and the rest of Asia with smaller cars such as the Cruze.

Global Sales

The investment in Asia comes as GM competes with Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota and Volkswagen AG (VOW) for the title of No. 1 global vehicle seller.

Toyota overtook GM last year to again become the best- selling automaker in the world. The U.S. automaker finished No. 2, outselling VW by more than 130,000 deliveries. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker, aided by growth in Asia, aims to become the world’s biggest by 2018.

GM clung to its lead as the best-selling foreign automaker in China last year even as VW’s sales rose 24.5 percent to 2.81 million, which unlike GM includes Hong Kong in its tally. China sales of GM and its joint-venture partners rose 11 percent to a record 2.84 million last year compared to 2011.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013 23:26

Next Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 could pack 700hp

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Next Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 could pack 700hp, 600 for the C7 Z06

While General Motors hasn’t offered any official information on the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 or ZR1, rumors and inside information suggests that these two high performance package for the new Stingray are coming with some serious power packed under the hood – helping to further make the Z06 and ZR1 compete with (and beat) the best supercars in the world.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51
 

Even though GM hasn’t said word one about the existence of a Z06 or ZR1 based on the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, there is no one in the auto industry who doesn’t expect to see those two high performance packages offered on the new Stingray in the next few years. Even since before the 2014 Stingray debuted there were rumors floating around the internet about “what could be” with the C7 Z06 and ZR1 and thanks to the folks at Motor Trend, we have an idea of what we might see when these models debut in the next year or so.

First of all, Motor Trend’s source indicated that the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 would continue to be powered by the huge, naturally aspirated 7.0L V8 that powers the current C6 Z06 but the power output should be increased substantially. This is contrary to the rumor that the LS7 V8 packed under the hood of the current Corvette Z06 would be discontinued after the 2013 model year but the inside information doesn’t specify whether this 7.0L mill would be based on the current LS engine series or the new LT V8 engine. Regardless of the engine family, the inside information suggests that the C7 Z06 will pack somewhere in the area of 600 horsepower which will come as a significant increase over the 505hp produced by the C6 Z06.



The juicier portion of Motor Trend’s inside info is that the C7 Corvette ZR1 will be powered by a new supercharged V8 based on the new LT1 engine that will offer somewhere in the area of 700 horsepower. We should consider the fact that the C4 ZR1 was powered by a 375 horsepower LT5 engine option when the base Corvette was powered by the LT1 engine. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is once again powered by an LT1 engine so the C7 ZR1 could bring back the fabled LT5 name – although it will offer vastly more power than the LT5 of the early 1990s.
While all of this big power talk would help the C7 Chevrolet Corvette compete a great deal better in the global performance market – the real shootout for the Corvette is with the new 2013 SRT Viper. In early testing, the 2013 Viper has been pretty much even with the 2013 Corvette ZR1 but if GM was to cut some weight from the range topping ZR1 while adding an additional 62 horsepower…it would most likely put to rest any questions about which of these American supercars offers better performance. The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology Group has been quick to refute any claims that the current ZR1 is the better performance car when compared to the 2013 SRT Viper GTS but if the next generation ZR1 packs 700 horsepower, it will be hard for the new Viper to compete in its current form.

In fact, if the C7 Corvette Z06 offers somewhere in the area of 580-600 horsepower, the next generation Z06 fitted with the ZR1 Selective Magnetic Ride Control system may be able to go head to head with the Viper in a venue with turns while the 640 horsepower Viper would still likely be the stronger car in a straight line battle with the C7 Z06.

Again, this information is to be taken with a grain of salt as it is all unofficial but considering the amount of information dug up by the folks at Motor Trend via their network of inside informants – we would expect that this preliminary info on the C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 would at least be very close to the actual specs when these models arrive in showrooms.

Source: Motor Trend

 

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GM brings European diesel engine to U.S. for Cruze to take on VW.

Bloomberg News
By: Tim Higgins
02-09-2013

General Motors Co., dueling with Volkswagen AG to be the world’s second-best selling automaker behind Toyota Motor Corp., has introduced a diesel Chevrolet Cruze to go against VW’s Jetta in the U.S.

The diesel version of the sedan is one of 13 new Chevrolets that GM is bringing to the U.S. this year to refresh a lineup that’s grown stale since the company emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in 2009. The Detroit-based company, the top-seller in the U.S., lost 1.7 points of market share last year, the most of any automaker.

“We expect the Cruze to compete head-to-head with the German diesels, particularly the Volkswagen Jetta TDI,” Gary Altman, chief engineer for Chevrolet small cars, said this week before the show. “In fact, we expect to beat the Jetta in terms of price, features, range, even horsepower and torque.”

The diesel Cruze, starting at $25,695, is being shown today at the Chicago Auto Show, which is billed as North America’s largest, with more than 1 million square feet (92,900 square meters) of exhibits. Along with the Chevy, Toyota Motor Corp. will reveal its redesigned Tundra full-size pickup and Chrysler Group LLC will display its Ram ProMaster full-size commercial van, which is based on majority owner Fiat SpA’s Ducato.

While the share of diesel sales in 2012 in the U.S. was 3.1 percent, much of which was from trucks, that may increase to 7.7 percent in 2018, according to researcher LMC Automotive.

More Diesels

“You’re going to see more diesel action this year and into the subsequent years as more of the automakers are going to gravitate to diesel as a way to very quickly and easily up their CAFE numbers,” Bill Visnic, an industry analyst with Edmunds, said in an interview.

A diesel engine can improve a car’s fuel efficiency by 15 percent or more, he said, improving an automaker’s corporate average fuel economy rating by U.S. regulators.

GM expects diesels to make up about 10 percent of Cruze deliveries in the U.S., Don Johnson, head of Chevrolet sales, told reporters this month. GM said it hasn’t sold a diesel car in the U.S. since the 1986 Chevrolet Chevette.

“Quite frankly, it’s been a while since we’ve been out there with a diesel passenger car. So, we’ll see,” he said. “I think success for us is going to be establishing Chevrolet as a technology leader that can offer a vehicle like that in the U.S. market when many other competitors don’t.”

While a Cruze diesel may be small volume for a company that sold more than 9.2 million vehicles last year, it’s another battlefield in the three-way fight among GM, Toyota and VW for global dominance.

Toyota, helped by a strong recovery following production problems in 2011 tied to natural disasters, overtook GM last year to again become the best-selling automaker in the world. GM finished No. 2, outselling VW by 130,000 deliveries. VW aims to become the world’s biggest by 2018.

VW has seen U.S. success in diesel offerings among its cars, including the Jetta compact sedan . About 20 percent of VW’s 146,478 Jetta deliveries last year in the U.S. were diesel, according to the company. The 2013 Jetta diesel starts at $23,850, according to VW. That’s a premium on the $17,515 non-diesel version, including destination charge, according to VW’s website.

The Jetta diesel with a manual transmission has 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, according to VW.

Cruze Mileage

U.S. sales of the Cruze rose 2.6 percent last year to 237,758. The gasoline-powered car starts at $17,130, according to Chevrolet’s website, and, at best, can achieve 38 miles (61 kilometers) per gallon on the highway, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. An Eco version of the Cruze, which starts at $20,490, can get 42 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA, which gives the same rating to the diesel Jetta.

The new Cruze diesel with a 2-liter engine is expected to get 42 mpg on the highway, Altman said. GM expects the car to produce 148 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, he said.

The powertrain has a special turbo feature that creates a 10 second boost of pressure to increase torque to 280 pound-feet for an added burst of acceleration, he said.

“The Cruze turbo diesel is the cleanest operating diesel engine ever produced by General Motors,” Altman said. “We leveraged our global engineering expertise to take a great diesel engine from Europe and improve it to meet the stringent U.S. standards.”

The Cruze was GM’s best-selling car in the world last year with 739,000 deliveries, according to the company. Forty percent of all Cruzes sold in Europe were equipped with diesels, Altman said. GM makes about 500,000 small diesel engines around the world each year for its vehicles.

Shoppers' Desires

Price and fuel efficiency are top priorities for Jared Haase, a car shopper who lives in the New York City area. He wants to find an affordable diesel or perhaps a car, he said.

“I’m in my late 20s, so I’m looking for something economical, yet sporty,” he said by e-mail. He’s attracted to diesels’ fuel economy and high-torque driving experience. “I would likely never buy a Prius or another hybrid — too many components, too many things that can break,” while the price premium is similar or even more, he said.

He’s optimistic about a diesel version of the Mazda6, which has been promised for the U.S. this year. VW’s offerings are out of his price range, he said. He’s read about the upcoming Chevy Cruze diesel.

“I like some of the cars in Chevrolet’s lineup, although I am a little wary of the Cruze, given its heavier curb weight,” he said. “The fuel-savings payoff (versus the existing gasoline engine) may not be as great when factoring in the weight of the car and the premium one has to pay at the pump for the diesel option. It also takes very little to option a Cruze to over $20K, which is a lot for a small car.”

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GM Said to Seek Deals in China to Reach 5 Million Goal

Bloomberg
February 5, 2013
by Tim Higgins

The Chinese industry is overdue for consolidation and General Motors Co., with local partner SAIC Motor Corp., is interested in acquiring ailing automakers, according to four people familiar with the companies’ thinking.

GM, already the top foreign carmaker in, aims to increase sales by about 75 percent by 2015 to 5 million, and a deal with another automaker is one possible way its ventures can expand, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the plans are private.

China’s government wants to preserve jobs even as it encourages consolidation that echoes the auto industry’s contraction a century ago that made the Detroit-based carmaker the world’s largest for eight decades.

Expanding in China isn’t as simple as going out and buying another plant. Foreign companies face restrictions on the number of partners they can have or how much of a factory they can own. Last year, China said it wouldn’t give incentives for further foreign-owned auto plants. That started raising the value of underused auto plants, of which there are plenty: 10 of China’s 71 automakers didn’t sell a vehicle last year.

“It is much easier to get the government to sign off on their acquisition than to approve new capacity,” said Han Weiqi, an analyst with CSC International Holdings Ltd. in Shanghai. “It is in line with the government’s mandate of consolidating the industry and reducing the number of players.”

 

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Former Delphi Flint East work is going to Mexico after GM-Delphi-UAW agreement ends

By Shaun Byron
February 05, 2013 at 6:03 PM, updated February 05, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Delphi East.jpg Former Delphi Flint East is scheduled to cease operations in November 2013. ( 

FLINT, MI -- The work to make instrument clusters at the former Delphi Flint East plant is going to Mexico, UAW officials said they were told.

The closing of the former Delphi Flint East plant came as a result of a 2007 agreement coming to an end between General Motors Co. and Delphi, said Lindsey Williams, vice president of corporate affairs for Delphi.

A 2007 agreement between General Motors Co., Delphi and the UAW to keep the plant open had actually expired in September 2011 and the decision was made to extend that agreement, Williams said.

The agreement meant GM would supply the hourly UAW employees, while Delphi provided the management and equipment. The products made at the site were instrument clusters used in GM vehicles such as pickup trucks, SUVs and large vans.

"We are the supplier and they are the customer," Williams said. "We went through the sourcing process and that is a process, for competitive reasons, we don't disclose the details of out of competitive concerns.

"Delphi and GM have a contract covering that production and the parties agreed to source product elsewhere."

GM officials confirmed Tuesday evening that operations at the former Delphi Flint East, now known as the Flint East Site, would cease November 2013.

The 40-some management employees will be offered positions at other sites or given severance packages, Williams said.

The plant closure comes less than one week after UAW Local 651 voted in favor of a strike authorization as part of its negotiations with GM. The automaker employs 287 hourly people at the site.

Only 50 of those employees will be eligible to be recalled.

"While we have been waiting on word from General Motors regarding work that was promised by them in our national agreement, this announcement today was a surprise," UAW Local 651 President Art Reyes said in written statement. "We will continue to negotiate on behalf of these workers to ensure the best possible outcome for them and their families. 

The local union, as well as the regional an national leadership, will begin negotiations to take care of members, either with a soft landing elsewhere, or finding new work as an alternative, Reyes said.

Reyes confirmed that the union was told the work was going to Mexico.

"While this is devastating news, it is not the final word, nor does it mark the end of our responsibilities to our members," he said." As a taxpayer, I am personally offended that less than four years after we helped keep them from liquidation, they show absolutely no regard for the financial well-being of these families in our community."

 

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