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Old 04-16-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
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Default Parts Strike Leaves Outlook Plant Short

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Parts Strike Leaves Outlook Plant Short

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From the Lansing State Journal: The General Motors' Lansing Delta Township plant is running out of parts to make hot-selling crossover vehicles because of a strike at Alliance Interiors. And it has forced the Detroit automaker to reduce production at the factory that makes the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook.

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Old 04-16-2008, 10:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Parts Strike Leaves Outlook Plant Short

It's worse than you think... production has been halted by a strike!

Strike halts GM crossover production in Mich.

Automotive News
April 16, 2008 - 12:45 pm ET
UPDATED: 4/16/08 4:25 p.m. EDT

A UAW strike at a Michigan supplier has cut off production of the Buick Enclave and its crossover cousins, the GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.

DETROIT -- UAW hourly workers went on strike last night at an interiors plant in Lansing, Mich., forcing General Motors to halt production of its hot-selling crossover vehicles at a nearby assembly plant on Wednesday morning.

About 65 UAW workers at Alliance Interiors walked off the job at 9 p.m. Tuesday night a union source told Automotive News.

" We'd been at the negotiating table with Alliance since May 29, 2007 and still did not have a fair and equitable offer," the UAW source said. " They would meet with us once every three weeks and I was done playing that game."

The Alliance plant makes interior carpets for General Motor's three crossover vehicles -- the Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia. Those vehicles are built at GM's Delta Township plant in Lansing.

GM idled the Delta Township plant about four hours into the first shift Wednesday morning, GM spokesman Dan Flores wrote Automotive News in an e-mail message.

The second plant's second shift was scheduled to start at the normal time Wednesday afternoon, and workers were to report to Thursday morning's first shift as scheduled, Flores wrote in the message.

" We'll continue to monitor the situation," Flores wrote.

A voice message on the answering machine at UAW Local 602, which represents Delta Township workers, said all workers are expected to report to their shifts on time and discussions between the UAW and GM were ongoing.

Local 602 President Doug Rademacher was not immediately available for comment.

" We continue to discuss the issues with the UAW and hope to reach an agreement as soon as possible," Flores wrote in the e-mail.

Deliveries still coming

Workers at Delta Township were kept on the job after shutting down production Wednesday morning in the hope that more carpet would arrive from the Alliance factory, the UAW source said.

" There's still carpet coming out of the Alliance facility and it's being produced by management," the union source said, who noted that " scab" truckers are transporting management-made carpet to Delta.

" That brings up questions of quality of the product going to GM from a consumer standpoint." Alliance Interiors is a start-up company supplying interior soft trim and acoustic materials to GM. It is a joint venture between Detroit Technologies and HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc., both of suburban Detroit.

A prolonged shutdown at Delta could mean a big revenue loss for the companies that supply it with parts.

Among the biggest suppliers there: Delphi Corp. for navigation systems, Key Safety Systems Inc. and Autoliv Inc. for side airbags; Dana Holding Corp. for the in-tank transmission cooler; Panasonic Automotive Systems Co. for rearview cameras; Tenneco Inc. for exhaust mufflers; ThyssenKrupp AG for crankshafts; ZF Lenksysteme for steering columns; and Robert Bosch GmbH for wiper systems.

Rare shift in job creation

The Alliance plant represents a rare shift in job creation in an industry increasingly moving jobs and equipment to Mexico or overseas.

The site Alliance now occupies was empty just two years ago. It had been occupied by troubled supplier Delphi Corp. The Delphi plant closed when GM shut down the former Lansing Car Assembly plant.

The union leader says Alliance workers will remain on strike until they get a fair deal from Alliance. That could put GM's all-important crossovers in jeopardy.

In the first quarter, sales of the GMC Acadia shot up 77 percent compared to the same period in 2007 to 20,675 vehicle and Saturn Outlook sales jumped by nearly 30 percent to 6,550 vehicles. The company sold 11,712 Buick Enclaves.

GM dealers had inventories equivalent to 57 days supply of the GMC Acadia, 40 days of the Buick Enclave and 101 days of the Saturn Outlook as of April 1. The industry average is 64 days supply, right around what is considered a " healthy" inventory level.

More production problems

The threat to more production disruptions at more GM plants follows weeks of shutdowns at the automaker's truck and SUV plants because of the UAW strike at Detroit-based American Axle and Manufacturing Inc.

By Saturday, General Motors will have lost 142,782 production units because of the bitter, seven week UAW strike at American Axle.

Nine GM truck and SUV plants have been idled since the first plant went down on Feb. 29, keeping 135,657 trucks and SUVs off dealer lots by the end of the week. GM will have lost 7,125 units of Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne production because its Detroit-Hamtramck car assembly plant has been down since March 31.

The lost production unit totals are based on weekly assembly plant production data gathered by the Automotive News data center.

The American Axle strike made waves at GM's plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, on Monday when the company stopped producing the Chevrolet HHR. A parts shortage stemming from the American Axle strike caused HHR production to be affected, but Flores declined to comment further.

Flores said the AAM strike will also force the Oshawa car assembly plant in Canada to drop from three shifts to two next week because of a parts shortage. The Oshawa car plant builds the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse sedans.

Flores wouldn't elaborate on the parts shortage, but a source familiar with the matter wrote that sway bars from the LaCrosse will be used for Impala production because the supplier does not have enough capacity to supply the bar in the volume needed.

Reporters Ryan Beene, Jamie LaReau and Robert Sherefkin contributed to this report

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