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Detroit’s On Hold: Chrysler To Close All Plants For A Month; GM Delays The Volt’s New Engine Factory

Posted in auto industry, Chrysler, Detroit, Electric Cars, Ford, GM, Newsworthy, Politics, Scandal by Vito Rispo | December 17th, 2008 | 2 Responses |

As unsold cars and trucks pile up in the dealer’s lots and salesmen sit idle in the showrooms, Chrysler has decided to shut down all 30 of its manufacturing plants for at least a month starting Dec. 19. This is the company’s attempt not only to conserve cash, but to try and adjust the production to more closely fit demand. Both Ford and GM are making similar “adjustments”.

Ford said it will close down all of its North American assembly plants for the first week of January, and GM has delayed a new engine factory for the electric Chevy Volt. The $370 million Volt engine factory in Flint, Michigan will still be up and running and pumping out those little plug-in hybrids by 2010 as promised, according to GM.

In it’s official statement, Chrysler said operations won’t resume until Jan. 19 at the earliest, although they didn’t say if output would resume at full capacity then, or if it’ll take a cut. There will most likely be a pretty significant cut.

As for Ford, the one company that is not seeking federal emergency loans, of 15 assembly plants in North America, 9 are closing temporarily; 3 are unaffected; and 3 more are being retooled.

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2 Responses

  1. The New York Times’ erstwhile columnist Tom Friedman had been saying that the problem resided with the fact that the General and Chrysler didn’t build enough small cars. But if you remember the late, less than lamented, Dodge and Plymouth Neon, or the Chevrolet Cavalier, you know that isn’t the case.

    Sadly for those of us who grew up surrounded by iconic American cars, now being replicated as “retro,” such as the Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger, the facts are closer to what Friedman said in his most recent column – “It’s all about the thing itself” – in which he wrote, “Walk through any college campus today. You don’t see a lot of Buicks.”

    Where I live – Seattle – one can see a few more of the Chevrolet Cobalt SS on the street. But it might be too little, too late. The mark that GM and Chrysler LLC needs to hit keeps moving.

    The Cobalt SS was third in a comparo of inexpensive, yet quick, cars in the January 2009 issue of Car and Driver magazine – not bad, considering the company. Still, the Volkswagen GTI was second and the MazdaSpeed 3 Grand Touring was first.

    Chrysler LLC, according to the editor that coordinated this comparo, Michael Austin, apparently had nothing worth being in the company of these cars (and the Subaru Impreza WRX, Honda Civic Si, Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliant and the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman).

    Somehow Detroit needs to develop product that we will indeed see more of on college campuses. Otherwise, no amount of shutting down plants to save money will ensure survival.

  2. With the news that Toyota is reporting losses perhaps people will start to realize that the problems facing the auto industry are related to the economic downturn and not solely a failure of the US makers. The problems makers and dealers are facing are due to money being tight worldwide. When that changes the automobile market will be in better shape. Until then, it is going to be tough times.