March 1st, 2013 at 11:46am
You’d think that they’d be happy just to have their jobs, but hourly workers at Chrysler are protesting a change in shifts at some of the company’s assembly plants. Supplier company Continental is teaming up with BMW to develop autonomous technology further. Toyota is showing off the concept of the convertible version of the FT-86, what they call the Open. All that and more, plus at the Autoline Supplier Symposium we found one of the biggest problems that suppliers face now is they’re straining to meet demand, they can barely keep up with car sales.
Welcome to Autoline Daily. Well time marches on because today is the first day of March. As always there’s a lot happening in the global automotive industry, so let’s get to it.
WORKERS MAD AT THE UAW
You’d think that they’d be happy just to have their jobs, but hourly workers at Chrysler are protesting the move to using three-crew two-shift operations at some of the company’s assembly plants. Workers will now work 10 hours a day, four days a week. And because of the way the rotation works, two of those crews will always work Saturdays. But the workers aren’t so mad about working Saturdays as they are of losing their overtime, which is the same to them as taking a pay cut. And guess what? They’re mad at the UAW for going along with Chrysler on this. In fact, one worker tells me that the people on the line now see the UAW as being the same as management.
EU PROPOSES NOISE-LEVEL LABELS
The European Union is considering a requirement for noise-level labels on new cars. According to WardsAuto, the EU also wants automakers to reduce vehicle noise by 6 decibels to 74 decibels over a six year period, which is an extremely stringent requirement. Needless to say, European automakers are not happy with this regulation. They wanted a 2 decibel reduction, and some say it’s not going to be possible for them to meet this regulation in that 6 year time frame.
BMW, CONTINENTAL = AUTONOMOUS TEAMMATES
Late last year we showed you the semi-autonomous technology that the supplier company Continental developed. Their test car was a Volkswagen Passat, but now we learned that Conti will actually be teaming up with BMW to develop this technology further. By 2016 this autonomous technology will be available for low speed operations, especially for stop and go traffic jams. But Conti says full high speed autonomy will be available by 2025. Its market research says consumers would be willing to pay up to $3,000 more for an autonomous car. Impressively, it has 1,300 engineers working on all aspects of autonomous cars.
THE WIND IN YOUR HAIR
Toyota is showing off the concept of the convertible version of the FT-86, what they call the Open. The FT-86 is known as the Scion FR-S in the ‘States. This concept features a larger wheel and tire package, a 6-speed automatic transmission and a rear seat, although it does not look inhabitable by a grown human. Typically, automakers add those dinky seats because the insurance on a two-seater is usually a lot higher, and yes a stupid little seat in the back can lower those premiums.
Once every week or so, we do a segment called “Barn Finds” where we feature some of the coolest automotive tidbits you’ve found. Today’s selection comes to us from Chuck Grenci in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina who reminds us that the debate over ethanol wasn’t born yesterday. He sent us this photo taken in Lincoln, Nebraska at Earl Coryell’s filling station way back in 1933. We did a little digging and learned that Earl was an early proponent of what was then marketed as “Corn Alcohol.” And he even helped to fight and win a landmark antitrust decision by the Supreme Court against the Ethyl Corporation. You see, they were refusing to sell their leaded additive to any station pumping ethanol blends, thus driving prices through the roof. The Ethyl Corporation, by the way: a joint venture between Standard Oil and GM. It just goes to show you there’s no new “corn-traversy” about ethanol. Sorry. I just couldn’t resist.
The automotive sector is one of the true bright spots in the American economy right now, but even so, suppliers are still facing some daunting issues. We’ll get into that, right after this.
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
A little over a month ago we held the first Autoline Supplier Symposium at the Detroit auto show, talking about the issues facing automotive suppliers right now. And that’s the topic on Autoline This Week. One of the biggest problems that suppliers face now is they’re straining to meet demand, they can barely keep up with car sales. So I asked a couple of supplier executives how they’re dealing with this issue. Here’s a clip from that show.
(Clip from Autoline Supplier Symposium can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
By the way, my guests on the show are Neil De Koker the CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Michael Martini, the President of OE sales for Bridgestone Americas and Doug Grimm, the CEO of the casting company Grede. And of course you can watch that entire show right now on our website at Autoline.tv. Or you can catch it on our YouTube channel, or check your local public television listings because Autoline is now in 50 markets across the United States, as well as coast to coast in Canada.
Anyway that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, have a great weekend we’ll see you back here on Monday.