UAW-Ford Agreement Closes Engine Plant, Protects 8500 Jobs on UAW Ford Contract

“Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top-rate for full-time status at the end of this four-year agreement.”

Ford Motor the largest producer of vehicles and the largest employer of UAW-represented autoworkers, with ~55,000 hourly employees in the U.S., confirmed today that it has reached a four-year contract. It will result in a $700 million Q4 charge, primarily associated with a ratification bonus that prompted only 56.3% of  UAW Ford members to ratify the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top-rate for full-time status at the end of this four-year agreement,” said Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who is Director of the UAW Ford Department. “This is a life-changing.”

The International Executive Board recently put Gamble in charge to address the egregious misconduct that was revealed by FBI criminal investigations of Gary Jones, in the fraudulent diversion of funds from FCA Fiat that were supposed to support UAW worker training1.
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New Ford Thanksgiving Parade Float Debuts on New Ford Thanksgiving Parade Float

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Ford Motor Company’s “Creating Tomorrow Together” will be on display with an all-new float making its debut at the 93rd America’s Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Detroit on Thursday 28 November.

At more than 100 feet long and 25 feet tall, Ford’s new float claims to showcase its future –from the innovation hub being developed at the historic Michigan Central Station in Detroit, to the transformation of Ford’s research and engineering campus in Dearborn, and to its robotics lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Continue reading

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First ‘Renault City’ opens in France on Renault City - Concept Store

Not Exactly Amazon Prime, yet.

Groupe Renault, in partnership with the Sofibrie Group has established its first ‘Renault City’ concept store in the Val d’Europe shopping center in Seine-et-Marne. With this new experimental format in the heart of a major shopping area, Renault is establishing itself close to the places most frequented by potential customers. Open 7 days a week, it welcomes visitors from 10am to 9pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 8pm on Sunday. It’s the latest attempts by an automaker to address new age shopping habits. (Group Renault Debuts Hydrogen in Light Commercial Vehicles and Renault, Klépierre Join on Shopping Center Mobility Services)

“A site manager and five ambassadors take turns accompanying visitors in their discovery of the latest innovations from Renault through a physical and digital journey specifically designed for Renault City. The concept store is structured around several areas: an exhibition area for the two latest combustion and electrical or hybrid vehicles, and information corners, including a personalization and accessories area, equipped with a digital configurator,” said Renault. (Unattended Car Buying versus Traditional Purchasing Carvana Ups Size, Price of Common Offering. Results Unknown,  Carvana Launches First Vending Machine in California) Continue reading

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McLaren Wants Tailors and Dressmakers to Build Cars on composite materials

Composite materials, together with future Powertrain technology, will save vehicle weight, boost performance and provide more energy-efficient vehicles.

British luxury supercar maker McLaren is hiring for its new £50m innovation and manufacturing facility in Yorkshire in the North of England. Applicants with experience in a variety of sectors from boat-building to the textiles trade and sporting goods industries are urged to apply for jobs, apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships that will help double the workforce at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre  to ~200 when it is in full production next year.

Those skills are required because materials such as carbon fiber start life as a fabric that has to be cut, put into molds before being treated and becoming a hard material. McLaren claims to be a world-leader in innovating lightweight composite materials, a claim that could plausibly challenged by other automakers. (See stories below) Continue reading

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Capital Punishment Day for Auto Workers at Daimler on Daimler Business Plan

“This will have a negative impact on our earnings in 2020 and 2021.”

Daimler is cuttings costs and workers as it focuses on a “sustainable business strategy,” said Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG in its Ambition 2039 plan that embraces the Paris Climate Accord. It will take three product cycles.

Daimler will continue to concentrate on individual mobility and transportation of goods and people, but its profitability is negatively impacted by CO2 reduction and the ongoing transformation of automotive industry to new-age mobility providers, Källenius claimed at a presentation for the financial industry yesterday in London.

Personnel costs will drop by the  end of 2022 as Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to save more than €1 billion in personnel costs. Jobs will be cut in both management and “indirect areas.”
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Volkswagen Breaks Ground on Expanded US EV Production on Volkswagen Chattanooga - EV Production

Expanded EV Production at Chattanooga site begins in 2022, Volkswagen’s North American assembly base for electric vehicles.

Volkswagen of America today marked the start of construction for its electric vehicle production facility at Chattanooga. The company also announced it intends to build a 198,000–square-foot plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site.

Volkswagen began EV production earlier this month in Zwickau, Germany, and will then roll out assembly worldwide, including in Anting and Foshan, in China, in 2020 and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022. The Chattanooga site will be VW’s North-American hub for EV manufacturing. Continue reading

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Hyundai Motor Group Refines Active Noise Control on active noise cancellation

Cabin quietness becomes more important as internal combustion vehicles are phased out.

Hyundai Motor Group has announced the development of what it claims reduces noise within the cabin of a vehicle. RANC builds on the Group’s current Active Noise Control (ANC) technology, which reduces noise by emitting soundwaves inverted to incoming noise thereby cancelling each other out. ANC is a well-known technology that analyses inside cabin sound to decrease engine and road noise, versus the older passive method of blocking noise through sound insulation.

There is almost no powertrain noise from electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, so mitigating road and wind noise becomes more vital. Using RANC can significantly reduce road noise and create a serene cabin for future electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. The technology will begin to be applied to an upcoming Genesis model.
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Nissan Motor Net Income Dives -73.5% to 65.4 Billion Yen on Nissan FY 2019 Financial Results

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Nissan Motor Co. today announced financial results for the six-month period ending September 30, 2019 that showed consolidated net revenue of 5.00 trillion yen, consolidated operating profit was 31.6 billion yen, with an operating profit margin of 0.6%. The Renault Nissan Alliance remains in turmoil over issues surrounding the Carlos Ghosn departure. (Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa Forced Out Over Ghosn Matter)

First half net income1 decreased by, gulp, 73.5% to 65.4 billion yen. The board of directors today set an extraordinary meeting of shareholders to be held in February 2020 to consider proposals for current directors leaving their positions and for new director nominees. The committee took into consideration candidate recommendations from Nissan (Makoto Uchida and Jun Seki), Renault (Pierre Fleuriot), and Nissan and Renault jointly (Ashwani Gupta).
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FCA-PSA Merger – Surviving Platforms and Powertrains

Click to Enlarge. Courtesy Auto Forecast Solutions.

If the proposed FCA-PSA merger goes forward it’s a complicated  way to spread costs as a consolation would result in FCA-PSA group emerging as the fourth-largest Global Automaker. Its annual production volume would be +8 million Light Vehicles per year. It would be larger than Hyundai Group, General Motors, Ford and Honda. It could compete with the current Global Big Three – Volkswagen Group, Toyota and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Consultancy AutoForecast Solutions says that right now FCA primarily uses four global front-drive platforms for passenger cars and crossovers. ( Continue reading

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FCA US Recalls More Than 107,000 Diesels for Engine Fires on fires on Ram EcoDiesel engines

EGR coolers may fail from fatigue.

FCA US is recalling 2014-2019 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel engines because of fires starting in the center of the engine, between the intake manifold and the fuel rail. FCA  has been aware of the problem since last May when its Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization opened an investigation into engine compartment fires in Ram 1500 3.0L Eco Diesel trucks.

Thus far no fix is proposed even though the company is aware of four injuries related to the safety defect. Continue reading

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New Executives For Safety, AV, Strategy, and Ford Credit

Autoinformed.con on Ford Executive ChangesFord Motor Company has made public the retirement of two longtime executives, new assignments for two corporate officers, and promotions to senior positions for three people at the company.

Kim Pittel, Ford’s vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, will retire on Dec. 1, ending a 34-year career.  For the past four years, Pittel has led the execution of the company’s global environment and safety strategy, policy and performance. In previous assignments, Pittel’s responsibilities included development and launch of Ford Mustang, Escape, Focus and Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ models; Global Transmission and Driveline Engineering; Quality in North and South America; and Global Supplier Technical Assistance. Continue reading

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FCA + PSA = Massive Job Losses on FCA PSA Merger

Cost reduction is said to be one of the main reasons for this merger. Capacity reduction through plant closings is likely. Click to Enlarge.

The exorbitantly expensive world of developing clean vehicles is on view in the proposed FCA-PSA Group mergers. The business case is simply put as a way to spread costs as a consolation would result in FCA-PSA group emerging as the fourth-largest Global automaker. Its annual production volume would be +8 million Light Vehicles per year. It would be larger than Hyundai Group, General Motors, Ford and Honda. It could compete with the current Global Big Three – Volkswagen Group, Toyota and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Consultancy LMC observes that the high Research & Development expenditure involving platform creation and merging, electrification, as well as other safety, emission and autonomous driving technologies, “is expected to remain a drag on industry profitability over the course of the next decade, and further consolidation is likely.” Continue reading

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Lithium Mustang Project at SEMA on Ford Webasto Lithium Mustang Concept - SEMA 2019

A collaboration between Ford and Webasto, Mustang Lithium project vehicle generates more than 1000 ft.-lbs. of instant torque and more than 900 horsepower.

Blue and white shades of a corporate dilemma are on display at SEMA today as Ford and Webasto revealed the Mustang Lithium, a battery electric Mustang fastback prototype. Ford initially backed the Trump’s administration’s plan to seize states’ rights from California and a dozen other states by backing a dirtier emission standard that will exacerbate global warming. Then it agreed to meet revised California standards,

Why the standards are a problem to Ford,  and other automakers, involves the cost of cleaning up its vehicles as it continues to profitably sell thirsty CO-producing large pickup trucks and SUVS while ceding the more efficient car business to offshore competitors. But in a breath of fresh air for air quality, a consortium of automakers and California have agreed on a voluntary framework to reduce emissions that can serve as an alternative path forward for clean vehicle standards nationwide. Automakers who agreed to the framework are Ford, Honda, BMW of North America and Volkswagen Group of America.

Electrification can be a boon to performance enthusiasts as witnessed by a so-called Phi-Power dual-core electric motor and dual power inverters – fueled by an 800-volt Webasto battery system that can discharge a mega-watt of electrical energy. At 800 volts, that’s twice the voltage of most electric cars on the road today. Continue reading

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Hamilton Now 6-Time F1 Championship Driver on Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Mexican GP 2019. Lewis Hamilton World Championship

Sunday’s result marks the eighth podium for Lewis at the United States Grand Prix, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record for most podiums at the race.

The stars at night were big and bright deep in the heart of Texas for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton who clinched his 6th world championship in the Lone Star state yesterday after an amazing demonstration of maintaining control and nursing worn tires for miles and miles of Texas until he crossed the finish line in second place after starting fifth on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas starting on the pole raced to his seventh victory in Formula One, his fourth of the 2019 season and first at the Circuit of the Americas. Bottas posted his seventh victory in Formula One, his fourth of the 2019 season and first at the Circuit of the Americas. Max Verstappen took his seventh podium finish of the year with third place. Continue reading

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UAW Negotiators Send Tentative Agreement to Ford Council on the UAW

How long are the jobs and the remaining plants sustainable are unknowns.

The UAW Ford National Negotiators, UAW President Gary Jones along with UAW Vice President Rory Gamble, Director of the Ford Department, have reached a proposed tentative agreement. Ford Motor confirmed the announcement, but not the rumored closing of the Romeo plant and possibly others.

“Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting or releasing full details of the agreement until the UAW-Ford Council leaders meet and review the details,” said Gamble. Continue reading

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