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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Silver Bear Cafe

Unsold Car Images From Around The World
Mike "Mish" Shedlock

The Guardian has a series of 10 images about the Growing stocks of unsold cars around the world. I encourage you to click on the link to see them all. Here are a few of my favorites:

Nissan has announced plans to cut its Sunderland workforce by 1,200. Thousands of unsold cars are stored around the factory's test track. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Reuters


Imported cars stored at Sheerness open storage area awaiting delivery to dealers
Photograph: David Goddard/Getty

The build-up of imported cars at the port of Newark, New Jersey
Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

Newly imported cars fill the 150-acre site at the Toyota distribution centre in Long Beach, California. Photograph: David McNew/Getty

Several of the images are very artistic such as the third one above (Newark). It was tough to make a selection.

Here are some related articles.

Nissan cuts send shockwaves across north-east
"Everyone knows someone who works at Nissan," says Elaine Thoms, and she speaks for the whole of Washington and plenty of Wearside towns beyond.

Fallout from job cuts at the carmaker, which is shedding a quarter of its 4,900 workforce, is rippling from the factory overlooking Sunderland across the whole of north-east England.

"My dad was one of the first to go," says Elaine. "He's one of the ones who left before Christmas at Unipress [Nissan's instrument panel supplier, which announced 90 further job cuts on Tuesday]. He thought he'd do best to get out early and find something else. But no one's taking on."
Honda to extend shut-down at Swindon plant
Friday 16 January 2009 12.48 GMT
Honda said this morning it was halting production at its Swindon plant in April and May, extending the two-month closure announced before Christmas to four months.

The company said in November that it would halt production in February and March, with 4,800 workers receiving full basic pay.

Today the company said that because of the continuing fall in demand it was extending the closure, with workers getting 50% of their pay.

Honda's move adds to the deepening gloom in the UK car industry. Nissan has announced plans to cut its Sunderland workforce by 1,200 people, and earlier this week Jaguar Land Rover said 450 jobs would go.

US car workers protest against wage cuts at glitzy launch

Car workers vented their anger at bearing the brunt of swinging cutbacks as the world's top manufacturers orchestrated glitzy launches of eco-friendly vehicles at Detroit's motor show.

Noisy protesters blamed Wall Street's excesses for the credit crunch, which has frozen up car loans to consumers, leaving showrooms bereft of customers. Workers carried banners with messages such as "Cutting wages won't solve Detroit's crisis".

Negotiations with the United Auto Workers' union began this week. Ford is also seeking cuts, although it has not received a government loan, on the grounds that it needs parity with its rivals.

Toyota tells managers to buy one of its own cars

More than 2,000 managers at Toyota have been "encouraged" to buy one of the firm's cars in an attempt to boost morale, as Japan's biggest carmaker braces itself for its first operating loss in more than 70 years.

The company said its 2,200 general managers had agreed to the unprecedented move at informal meetings last month, and insisted they would not be coerced into buying Toyota cars or punished if they failed to do so.

"This is not company policy and in no way mandatory, but more of a form of unofficial encouragement," Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi told the Guardian.

Even if every manager heeds the latest call to arms, it is unlikely to make much of a dent in Toyota's inventory. Faced with a soaring yen and a collapse in the export market, Toyota is laying off 3,000 temporary workers and closing all 12 of its domestic plants for 11 days in February and March, reducing production by as many as 200,000 vehicles.

UAW Backs Idea of 'Car Czar'
The head of the United Auto Workers union said Monday that he would like the government to appoint a "car czar" who "knows something about the auto industry" to oversee the restructuring of the Big Three.

On the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said he doesn't favor putting a Wall Street expert in the post.
In related news, union representative Iam A. Fox was quoted as saying he backed the idea of putting a chicken expert in charge of security at the henhouse.

History Repeats At Cadillac
Three months after the 1929 stock-market crash, Cadillac premiered at the New York auto show its Series 452 with a 185-horsepower V-16 engine designed to trump chief rival Packard's V-12.

Fast-forward almost 80 years: Cadillac is ready for another flagship, perhaps something along the lines of the gorgeous Sixteen concept that was first shown in 2003. Except, once again, the economy isn't ready. Worse, once-mighty GM doesn't even have the money to spend on such a project -- it's got Chevy Volts and Cruzes that badly need building.

All this explains why GM is taking a bigger gamble now than it did in 1929 and launching up to 10 new Cadillacs in the next five years. But it has no choice. The future of American luxury is at stake.
No Choice? What kind of statement is that? Of course GM has a choice. GM has a history of making choices, most of them horrible: ResCap, not dumping GMAC, not dumping the Hummer on time, launching the Saturn line which has never had a profitable year in its entire history, caving in to ridiculous union demand the worst of which was granting 90% pay for laid off workers, too many models in general, etc.

Who cares if GM never produces another luxury car? Hardly anyone buys them anyway. With GM's new lease on life at taxpayer expense, it ought to figure out how to do one thing right rather than attempt to do 100 things, and get all of them wrong.

The Silver Bear Cafe

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