GM announces 900 new or retained jobs in Michigan during the next 12 months

GM announces 900 new or retained jobs in Michigan during the next 12 months

Jobs added or retained at three GM manufacturing facilities across the state.

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General Motors will add or retain approximately 900 jobs across three Michigan facilities during the next 12 months. The 900 jobs are in addition to the 7,000 jobs and $1 billion in US investments GM announced earlier this year.

GM also outlined a series of programs the company is supporting to promote the overall development of skills required for future job growth in Michigan and the US

As a result of working closely with the UAW to grow the business, GM has identified the following job opportunities:

  • Romulus Powertrain Plant: Approximately 220 new jobs to increase production of the 10-speed automatic transmission to be used in multiple GM products, including the current 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
  • Flint Assembly Plant: Approximately 180 retained jobs by redeploying team members from Lansing Delta Township to support production of the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pick-up trucks.
  • Lansing Delta Township: Approximately 500 retained jobs to support production of the all-new Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave in the first quarter of 2018.

"The job commitments announced today demonstrate the confidence we have in our products, our people and an overall positive outlook for the auto industry and the US economy," said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

As previously announced, the Lansing Delta Township Plant will be adjusting production plans this spring as the plant transitions from building three models, the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia (all-new GMC Acadia now built in Spring Hill, Tennessee), to two models, the all-new Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. During this transition, the plant will not operate a third shift. When the plant has fully launched the new crossovers by early 2018, GM will bring back approximately 500 jobs to give the company flexibility to meet market demand for the new crossovers.

Since 2009, GM, along with the UAW, announced investment commitments in Michigan of nearly $10 billion.

Toyota announces £240 million investment into UK manufacturing

Toyota announces £240 million investment into UK manufacturing

Burnaston manufacturing plant in Derbyshire (UK) to be upgraded to enable production of new vehicles using the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

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Toyota Motor Europe will invest a further £240 million in its Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) car plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire (UK). Toyota's investment will improve plant competitiveness and additionally it will promote UK supply chain efficiencies.

Starting this year, the Burnaston facility will be progressively upgraded with new equipment, technologies and systems. This will enable production of vehicles on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

The investment programme also includes up to £21.3 million support from the UK Government for training, research and development and further enhancements of the plant's environmental performance.

Announcing the investment, Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said: "We are very focused on securing the global competitiveness of our European plants. The roll-out of TNGA manufacturing capability is part of this plan. This upgrade of TMUK is a sign of confidence in our employees and suppliers and their focus on superior quality and greater efficiency. We welcome the UK Government funding contribution for this activity."

"Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success."

Toyota has launched a global programme to upgrade its manufacturing sites to produce TNGA-based vehicles. By 2020, the majority of Toyota's global models will be built using TNGA platforms. TNGA already underpins the new, fourth generation Prius and the all-new, Toyota C-HR crossover, which is built in Turkey, vehicles that epitomise Toyota's commitment to build ever-better cars for our customers.

Ford recalls 6,000 Mustangs in the US

Ford recalls 6,000 Mustangs in the US

Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall for approximately 6,000 2017 Ford Mustang vehicles to inspect the left interior door handle return spring.

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Ford Motor Company has issued a safety compliance recall for certain 2017 Ford Mustang vehicles to inspect left-hand door handle spring. The automaker will recall approximately 6,000 units for inspection. 

In the affected vehicles, the left-hand interior door handle may have been built with a misoriented return spring, which could increase the potential for the return spring to become unseated. If the interior door handle return spring is unseated, the inertial loads experienced by the interior door handle may cause the door to unlatch during a side impact, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.

Affected vehicles include certain 2017 Ford Mustang vehicles built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, January 13, 2017 to January 31, 2017.

There are approximately 5,756 vehicles located in North America, including 5,470 in the US and federalised territories, 20 in Mexico and 266 in Canada. The Ford reference number for this recall is 17C04.

Dealers will inspect the left-hand interior door handle spring and service the vehicle as required at no cost to the customer.

Audi reviews 2016 and sets targets for tomorrow's challenging business terrain

Audi reviews 2016 and sets targets for tomorrow's challenging business terrain

In the coming years, Audi will significantly rejuvenate its product range, launch several electric cars and enter new digital business areas.

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The robust core business forms the basis for the required advance expenditure. The Audi Group's revenue increased to €59.3 billion in 2016 and its operating return on sales before special items was 8.2%. The company recognised provisions totalling €1.8 billion for the resolution of the V6 3.0-litre TDI diesel issue and in connection with Takata airbags. After these special items, operating profit amounted to €3.1 billion, resulting in an operating return on sales of 5.1%.

 

"2016 was a very challenging year for our company," stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, at the Annual Press Conference on March 15, "but we completed it with robust earnings from our core business and set our course for the future." The brand plans to launch three battery-electric models by the year 2020 and to electrify additional model series after that. As part of its electric initiative, Audi has already trained more than 6,000 employees to work with high-voltage technology over the past three years. Audi is also involved in the development of a public fast-charging infrastructure.

 

Audi, as the lead developer in the Volkswagen Group, is also accelerating with the technology for self-driving cars. A newly founded subsidiary, Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH in Munich, is working on a system for autonomous vehicles in cities. The technology is to be applicable in the models of various brands and is also a key component of mobility services conceivable for the future, such as robot taxis. The company is open to cooperation with further strong partners in the automotive and IT sectors.
At the same time, Audi is further developing assisted and piloted systems for other traffic situations, such as on highways or country roads. In the new Audi A8, customers will for the first time be able to use Level 3 automated driving functions in traffic jams at speeds up to 60 km/h.

 

Audi will significantly rejuvenate its model portfolio in the coming years. In addition to the launch of the Audi A8, new generations of important volume models such as the Q5 and A5 will successively be launched into the markets in 2017. Furthermore, the Audi Q2 will become available in additional international markets. In 2018, Audi will strengthen its top-end lineup with the second generation of the Audi A7. In the same year, the Audi Q8 will supplement the successful SUV family. And another new model is planned for 2019: the Audi Q4, a sporty compact utility vehicle.
Last year, Audi increased its worldwide deliveries by 3.6% to the new record of 1,867,738 automobiles (2015: 1,803,246). Unit sales benefited above all from strong demand for the Audi Q7 and A4 models. The revenue of the Audi Group increased in 2016 – despite an unfavourable currency environment – by 1.5% to €59,317 million (2015: €58,420 million).

 

"The quality of our ongoing business is apparent from the operating return on sales before special items," stated Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Finance and IT. "With a result of 8.2%, we are within our target corridor of 8-10% despite challenging conditions and higher advance expenditure." The result for the previous year was 8.8%. Operating profit before special items amounted to €4,846 million in 2016 (2015: €5,134 million).
As a special item, the Audi Group recognised provisions of €1,632 million in 2016 to resolve the V6 3.0-litre TDI diesel issue in the United States (2015: €228 million). It also reported a special item of €162 million (2015: €70 million) in connection with possibly defective Takata airbags. The bottom line shows operating profit for the year 2016 of €3,052 million (2015: €4,836 million) and an operating return on sales of 5.1% (2015: 8.3%).

 

The Audi Group earned profit before income taxes of €3,047 million (2015: €5,284 million). The decrease compared with the previous year reflects not only the special items, but also the lower financial result.
Audi employees will participate in the company's success once again this year. In consultation with the General Works Council, employees paid according to wage-tariff agreements at the sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm will receive an average bonus of €3,510 (2015: €5,420). For Audi subsidiaries, respective arrangements for bonus payments have been established.
The Audi Group financed advance expenditure for the future out of its own resources. In 2016, the company had capital expenditure of €3.4 billion (2015: €3.5 billion) while generating a significantly positive net cash flow of €2.1 billion (2015: €1.6 billion). Net liquidity at December 31, 2016 amounted to €17.2 billion (December 31, 2015: €16.4 billion), providing further evidence of the company's high self-financing capability.

 

To support the new corporate strategy announced last summer, Audi also started its SPEED UP! package of measures in 2016. "In this way, we will continue systematically increasing our process and cost efficiency in 2017," said Strotbek. "This will help us to achieve our profitability targets and to generate the funds required for our path of innovation and investment."
The Audi Group plans capital expenditure in a volume equivalent to 5.0-5.5% of total revenue this year. The ratio of R&D expenditure to revenue is expected to be slightly above the company's strategic target corridor of 6.0-6.5%. The net cash flow should be positive once again, but is likely to be significantly below the prior-year level due to the cash flows expected in connection with the diesel issue. The Audi Group anticipates slight growth in the number of cars delivered as well as in revenue this year. With regard to operating return on sales, the company aims to achieve a result of 8-10% once again. The forecast for return on investment is 15-18%.

Mercedes-Benz plant in Vitoria celebrates 100,000th V-Class

Mercedes-Benz plant in Vitoria celebrates 100,000th V-Class

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Vitoria, Spain celebrates a production milestone: on March 10, the 100,000th V-Class rolled off the assembly line.

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The milestone model was a V-Class that had been transformed into a compact Marco Polo HORIZON recreational vehicle and will be delivered to a customer in Spain. The new Marco Polo HORIZON, which is based on the V-Class, has come to expand Mercedes-Benz Vans' camper and recreational vehicle range since the beginning of the year. It combines maximum functionality with the high-quality design of the V-Class.

Production of the V-Class started at the beginning of March 2014 in Vitoria. Ever since then the popularity enjoyed by this MPV has soared. Last year, with around 58%, it achieved the greatest growth rate within the Mercedes-Benz Vans product portfolio. With around 48,700 units sold, it also achieved a new year's best.
To meet the sustained high demand, Mercedes-Benz Vans further expanded the production capacities in Vitoria in 2016. For this purpose, the business unit has significantly increased investments in the plant. Since the start of the preparations for the production of the current vehicle generations, up to 2016 a total of around 260 million euros had been dedicated to the plant. Last year alone, over 1,100 new employees were hired. The plant's approximately 5,000 employees produce 668 units per day. This means that the production potential in this leading global production facility for the manufacture of medium-sized vans is fully utilised. For the rest of 2017 an ambitious production programme is expected, too. In addition to the V-Class, the Vitoria plant also produces the Vito van, a vehicle targeted in particular to the needs of commercial customers.

OEMs claim Takata withheld information about defective inflators

OEMs claim Takata withheld information about defective inflators

Three automakers, Nissan, Ford, and BMW, have filed lawsuits against Takata in the US in a bid to force the supplier to cover the losses they incurred due to faulty airbags.

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Each carmaker filed a separate lawsuit, over similar allegations, reports Bloomberg. Ford was quoted as saying that it would not have purchased the airbag systems if the OEM had the true and accurate test data and information been communicated to it. "If Ford had known of the true and accurate information and data, it would have insisted that the problems be resolved prior to installation of the airbags in Ford vehicles or would have refused to purchase for installation into those vehicles," the OEM stated.

 

The car makers claim that Takata withheld information about defective inflators, which have caused airbags to rupture and injure people. The automakers are fighting consumer suits alleging they knew about the flawed devices. To date, the automakers have borne the cost of the recalls.

 

In February this year, Takata pleaded guilty to criminal wire fraud and agreed to pay $1 billion in connection with a United States Department of Justice's probe on the supplier's handling of faulty airbags. A US court on 27 February accepted Takata's guilty plea and restitution for OEMs and victims injured or killed by defective air bag inflators. According to a report by Associated Press, Takata will pay $850 million to automakers currently shouldering recalls costs, $125 million to people affected by the defective airbags and $25 million to the US government.

Spyker announces engine supply agreement with Koenigsegg

Spyker announces engine supply agreement with Koenigsegg

Spyker announced an engine supply agreement with Koenigsegg for its Preliator sportscars on the occasion of the world debut of the Spyker C8 Preliator Spyder at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.

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Spyker Founder and CEO Victor R. Muller announced that Spyker has signed an engine supply agreement with Christian von Koenigsegg, Founder and CEO of Koenigsegg Automotive from Angelholm, Sweden, during a press conference at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show. Both the Spyker C8 Preliator as well as its Spyder version, which was unveiled at the press conference, will be propelled by the new Koenigsegg engine.

The normally-aspirated, Koenigsegg dry-sump five-litre V8 engine boasts 600 hp and 600 NM of torque. Koenigsegg has developed this engine specifically to meet Spyker's needs and the Koenigsegg V8 will be installed in every Spyker C8 Preliator, both the Coupe, which was launched in March 2016, and the new Spyder unveiled, and replace the Audi V8 powertrain as from car one. The Koenigsegg engine will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

The announcement was made on the occasion of the global debut of the Spyder version of Spyker's C8 Preliator, launched in Geneva exactly a year ago. Spyker translated its timeless aviation inspired design to the ultimate convertible, culminating in the Preliator Spyder. The design reflects the progress made with the Preliator from concept towards a production car. The Spyder, in Ascot Bronze, on display features an automatic soft top and a saddle Litano leather interior with honeycomb contrasted stitching.

Spyker's production of the C8 Preliator Spyder will be limited to 100 units only.

Victor R. Muller, Spyker's Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said on the occasion: "This is our single most important advancement in technology since I founded Spyker in 2000. I have always admired the amazing technologies developed by Christian von Koenigsegg and his dedicated team creating one of the most sophisticated cars and engines on the planet, and I am convinced our Spyker C8 Preliator clients will tremendously enjoy the huge performance leap.

"The 600 horsepower V8 engine with manual gearbox, ticks all the boxes of the Spyker brand; it's Bold, Pure, and Engaging but foremost hyper-exclusive hence a perfect match to the Spyker C8 Preliator coupe as well as the Spyder. In fact, this is the only 600 horsepower series produced sports car available with a manual gearbox on the market today."

Christian von Koenigsegg, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "I have known Victor and Spyker for way over a decade, and we obviously share the passion for handcrafted and bespoke automobiles. I have always admired Spyker's tenacity and their commitment to building one-of-a-kind cars that stay true to a well-honed ethos and always been impressed by their amazing craftsmanship and beauty. The attention to detail is amazing. Spyker cars have always been bespoke in every aspect apart from their drivetrain. Therefore it gives us great pleasure to work with Spyker to design and produce an engine specifically for them that will suit the handcrafted, luxurious and high-performance nature of all Spyker cars. In terms of performance the introduction of our light, responsive and powerful engine will transform the driving experience of the Preliator."

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