Going global is the new buzz word for the Big 3. Will the overcrowded streets of Bombay, New Delhi and Hong Kong embrace the Dodge Charger or Hummer H3? Given our desire to lower emissions and the efects of global warming around the world, are the cars of American nostalgia; v8 Hemi’s, Mustang’s and Vipers going to overcome the concern and international politics of these emerging nations?
Is our quality up to the standards with which many of their population taught us how to remake and retool our work efforts in the factory setting?
This is really after-talk. A little “good news” buzz for all the autoworkers and autophiles who are sincerely concerned about the state of one of our national industries. Reporting in today’s WSJ: “Combined with the weak dollar, we’ve got a contract that puts ourselves in a great position to ship products to other countries and do it making a profit,” said Mike Herron, a UAW official at GM’s assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., who is involved in negotiations with the company.
The fact is GM, Chrysler and Ford have been building plants and embracing international partners for quite awhile. Just now they have figured out that with the dollar in a positive light abroad, let’s use some of the existing US factory capacity to build products we can ship. GREAT! Time to balance the trade deficit! BTW, back this fall ’07, only FORD looked the other way when Canadians were chowing down on diesel trucks, while their Canadian dealers over the border were screaming foul-play.
But really folks, how many cars can the average Indian, Russian, Asian-worker afford and which ones will they buy? Given the percentage of fuel efficient, small cars vs. v6/v8 family sedans, trucks and van-agons, how many will get sold? According to Chrysler they have many large Jeeps being made in Europe by European manufacturer Magna Steyr AG, whose contract expires in 2009. Perhaps Toledo [OH] will get that production, as the dollar helps our devastated midwest economy. General Motors had considered closing the 42 yr. old. Lordstown, Ohio plant, once home to the Cavalier, (near Youngstown, Ohio, think steel mills), however, there are rumors that several newly redesigned small, fuel efficient cars could be made in Lordstown for overseas markets.
The big question is, Can the Big 3 get things shipping overseas fast enough to offset poor US sales figures, while the dollar is in this momentary dip and the international banks are still supporting thier economies?
How long before everyone gets on the same page to make true globalization fit economically for all countries, not at the sacrifice of the international monetary market? So, thanks for the good-feel buzz, let’s get back to business of making great product that everyone wants to buy.