In G.M. Strike, Both Sides See a Crossroads

Well, the big news today for metal stampers has got to be the GM strike.

New York Times
The United Automobile Workers union wielded its most potent weapon against General Motors yesterday, sending 73,000 workers to picket lines in its first national strike at G.M. since 1970.

But what does it mean for metal stampers? If you supply GM, various industry officials say that 2 supplier jobs for every GM worker job are also in danger. That’s almost 150,000 jobs in parts manufacturing.

Beyond that, if the strike goes on for any length of time, the GM steel consumption will be taken out of the steel marketplace. There’s a chance that steel lead times will drop, and perhaps also steel prices.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

GM to lay off 1,200 workers at Oshawa plant

Toronto – General Motors of Canada Ltd. has confirmed it will cut 1,200 jobs at the company’s truck plant in Oshawa, Ont. by next January. The decision, which GM blamed on high inventory, will cut about 1,200 jobs at the plant. Slumping pick-up truck sales caused, in part, by a slide in the U.S. housing market, may also be to blame.

Union officials estimated the ripple effect of GM’s cuts could affect up to 8,000 jobs in the auto parts sector.

That, of course, includes many jobs in the stamping industry.

Mercedes SLC Supercar To Feature Aluminum Construction

Aluminum cars, to reduce weight. Considering how much steel has gone up these days, there might be price as well as weight advantages in the future.

“There are several factors that go into making a fast car and having a powerful engine is just one piece of the puzzle. Mercedes will reportedly tackle another piece — curb weight — on their upcoming SLC supercar by building the model out of aluminum. “

Magna fails to buy Chrysler

So the big news today, at least in the metal stamping area, is Magna’s failure to buy Chrysler. Instead, Cerberus has bought Chrysler.

Well, so much to say.

I was really hoping that Magna would succeed. For several reasons.

I hear Frank Stronach is a good guy, who doesn’t hesitate to get out on the factory floor when it’s needed.

I think it would be nice if one of the three Detroit car companies was run, or at least a controlling share went to, someone who knows something about metal stamping.

And Magna’s a Canadian company, so there was some hope that some stamping jobs would stay in Canada.

Now, if possible, an investment company that knows, if anything, even less about metal stamping than Chrysler itself did, is going to be at the helm. It’s hard to see how this could be good for metal stampers supplying the industry.

And Cerberus. What a choice! The symbolism is stunning. In Greek mythology, Cerberus is the three headed hound with a snake for a tail that guards the gates of Hades. He ensured that only the spirits of the dead could enter but none could leave.

Aluminum-Bodied, Lighter-Weight Range Rover Coming in 2012

I thought aluminum cars had been looked at and rejected some time ago. Interesting to see they’re looking at it again.

The next all-new Range Rover is coming in 2012, and reportedly it will benefit from an aluminum body shell to cut as much as 40 percent of its weight.

The U.K. publication Autocar reports that the weight savings from the change to aluminum could save 660-880 pounds from the curb weight of the big luxury SUV.