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where to go for objective info regards our auto industry


Nov 20, 2006
detroit mi
I admit I can not express an objective opinion. I have been in Detroit since 1990 and have been a supplier to GM, Ford and Chrysler. I have enjoyed working on many powertrain development projects even though my contributions have been small I have been part of those development teams and have observed and been part of the sincere efforts to make world class products. I wouldn't trade that time because I value the experiences and each lesson learned about people and equipment and systems. Meanwhile for years as I traveled for vacations and even when I met with family members scattered from Kentucky, Florida, Rhode Island, Arizona and Texas I listened to the criticisms and was the butt of jokes about GM, Ford and Chrysler..stories told and repeated and embelished mostly way removed from the source. Stories told of bad practices, ineffciencies, poor quality...I wish I had been more outspoken but usually I considered them mostly harmless and didn't put up a proper defense but just shrugged them off. I can't do a really good job expressing or making a case ...don't have all the facts at hand to mount a defense but urge you to read a story by Peter Brown on staff at Automotive News. Since this is an Indusrty publication and I don't think the web site for the full story will link without the reader having a subscription...but it does allow individual emails to be forwarded I hope it is OK to quote it in full. Our forum is diverse and has shown an ability to fairly discuss a lot of topics...I hope this will benefit as I know I have not done enough to express myself in the past on the subject of these companies and the people that work there.

Did you hear the one about Ford not making cars here anymore?

Peter Brown
Automotive News
December 17, 2008 - 4:11 pm ET

We all know lots of things that are flat-out wrong. Did you know, for instance, that Ford Motor Co. doesn't manufacture in America anymore? Lots of people know that, and all those people are 100 percent wrong.

The things we know but that happen to be wrong are one of the problems with politics, as we saw with the ignorant members of Congress as they pontificated in front of the Detroit 3 CEOs. It's also a problem of free-flowing information and misinformation on the Internet.

And it's a big problem for the Detroit automakers. Americans, and their congressional representatives, know lots of stuff about the Detroit 3 that is simply wrong.

So here's a story, with a joke. Sometime in the past 15 years, you may have read this joke in a circulating e-mail. The basic outline is that an American company and a Japanese company had a canoe race. (The complete joke is at the bottom of this column.)

The Japanese, with lots of rowers, win. So the bureaucratic Americans start adding layers of management and taking out rowers, and they get beat worse with each race and each reorganization, which includes more bonuses to American management.

Well, I got this e-mail joke from a buddy last week. In this version, the American company was Ford and the Japanese company was Toyota.

It's actually a pretty good joke. But at the end, the e-mail states the following:

"Sadly, the End.

Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last 30 years moving all its factories out of the U.S., claiming they can't make money paying American wages.

Toyota has spent the last 30 years building more than a dozen plants inside the U.S. The last quarter's results: Toyota makes $4 billion in profits while Ford racked up $9 billion in losses.

Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses."

Well, I didn't send chuckling congratulations back to my friend. Here's what I sent him and the whole group who had received it from him:

"This is a cute old joke, originally told about 'an American company and a Japanese company.'

"The 'facts' at the bottom, however, are utterly false, and destructive to boot.

"As a manufacturer, Ford is far more important to this economy than is Toyota, which still imports half its cars sold here from Japan.

"Year to date, Toyota has assembled roughly a million vehicles in North America, including Mexico, U.S. and Canada. This is just half of the more than 2 million cars and trucks it has sold in the U.S., and less than half the cars it has sold in all of North America.

"Meanwhile, Ford has made more than 2 million cars and trucks in North America, slightly more than it has sold in the U.S.

"Apart from Volvo, Ford imports ... nothing. And the cars Ford makes here have a higher North American parts content than do Toyota's cars (or Honda's or Nissan's). The notion that Ford has 'spent the last 30 years moving all its factories out of the United States, claiming they can't make money paying American wages' is simply 100 percent false." (One of the problems of the Internet is a falsehood is spread just as easily as a virus.)

"Ford has 11 vehicle assembly plants in the United States. Toyota has three open and is building another. (The opening of that plant is now on hold because of sluggish Prius sales.)

"I don't understand why everybody wants to dump on these companies that employ Americans, pay for their health care and pensions, and support communities all over the Midwest."

OK, I was a sorehead who killed the joke for my friends. Unfortunately, I can't kill e-mail that is circulating like Asian bird flu. And people think they know that Ford gave up on manufacturing in America.

Here's the joke:

A Modern Parable

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Two-Hearted River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had eight people rowing and one person steering, while the American team had seven people steering and two people rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid it a large amount of money for a second opinion.

The consultants advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to use that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to four steering supervisors, two area steering superintendents and one assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the two people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the Rowing Team Quality First Program, with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to 'equal the competition' and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale-boosting programs and teamwork posters.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the senior executives as bonuses.

The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles), so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.


Cast Iron
Dec 30, 2003
Red Mountain, SE WA.
Also, he does not mention that most of the parts used in their assembly plants are made in Japan, especially the value added parts. I get so sick and tiered of people saying "Well its all right to buy a Toyota, etc, because they are made in America". And Toyota sends all it's profit back to Japan.

So buy a rice burner and feed a needy Jap. Americans are too fat anyway.

Frederick Harvie

Jan 7, 2004
Halifax Nova Scotia
Also, he does not mention that most of the parts used in their assembly plants are made in Japan, especially the value added parts. I get so sick and tiered of people saying "Well its all right to buy a Toyota, etc, because they are made in America". And Toyota sends all it's profit back to Japan.
So buy a rice burner and feed a needy Jap. Americans are too fat anyway.
There is certainly alot of missinformation , propaganda and outright lies on both sides
I can't give the exact numbers but I remember a full page newspaper add run by Toyota in the past year where they claimed that the U.S. made part content of there made in the U.S cars was actualy higher then that of General Motors. Going by memory it seems that Toyota was claiming something like 78 percent U.S. content.

Myself I have a Ford Truck and a Chev Impala car and can not see a day when there will be a Japanese vehical parked in my driveway.

Dr Stan

May 15, 2008
Owensboro, KY
Not just the auto industry

Good question and I would also like to know the answer. It’s not just about the auto industry; America’s view of manufacturing is of the old filthy dirty nasty unhealthy plants of old. No one wants their children to go into manufacturing; instead they’re pushed to go to Wall Street to make a bunch of money.

Back to the joke, one needs to understand it is directed at management, not the designers, engineers, staff, or assembly workers. Let’s face it; the management “leading” our companies has been incompetent at best. Fortune magazine listed Jack Welch as the best CEO of the century! Jack Welch, AKA Neutron Jack who focused solely on the short-term stock value of GE, not the long-term value of the company. Along the way he created a culture in GE that was one of the most acrimonious one could imagine. His protégée Nardelli, ran Home Depot into the ground and is now head of Chrysler. Good grief, when are we going to learn and get real leaders as CEO’s instead of bean counters?


Nov 9, 2008
Charlotte, NC
It’s not just about the auto industry; America’s view of manufacturing is of the old filthy dirty nasty unhealthy plants of old. No one wants their children to go into manufacturing; instead they’re pushed to go to Wall Street to make a bunch of money.
Perhaps slightly off topic, but so true and it hints at one of our core societal problems... ranks of talent in manufacturing (and support functions) is abysmal and only getting worse.

Which came first: the perception that manufacturing is undesirable driving away potential human talent, or the perception that potential talent should not go into manufacturing making it undesirable?? Really it is just a function of what is valued, both monetarily and socially I guess. It is an uphill battle to fight that perception for sure. :angry:


Jul 25, 2004
Asheville NC USA
Fortune magazine listed Jack Welch as the best CEO of the century! Jack Welch, AKA Neutron Jack who focused solely on the short-term stock value of GE, not the long-term value of the company. Along the way he created a culture in GE that was one of the most acrimonious one could imagine. His protégée Nardelli, ran Home Depot into the ground and is now head of Chrysler. Good grief, when are we going to learn and get real leaders as CEO’s instead of bean counters?

I read one article about Nardelli's reign at HD that said he managed to succeed at the near impossible task of simultaneously pissing off all of HD's suppliers, stockholders, customers, and employees. As the author pointed out, they could've stuck an 18 yr old stock boy in the CEO seat and he coulda likely satisfied at least one of those groups. And, they wouldn't have had to pay a quarter billion dollars when it came time to get rid of him.

I got the distinct impression from several things I've read about Welch, that he was such an authoritarian manager than his underlings had very little decision making power. To me, that would be a strong indicator that most of those men wouldn't be successful in their own right in managing a big corporation since they had no exposure to, or experience in, the decision making process. Of course some might have had natural leadership qualities and the ability to learn fast, but that doesn't seem applicable in the case of Nardelli and his performance so far as head dog.

In the case of Home Depot and Nardelli, one can only wonder why a retailer would somehow decide that someone who came from a background in large complicated and mostly custom built equipment ( he headed the power systems division) would make a good CEO for a retail organization. Obviously he didn't, but the logic in that choice in the first place just escapes me. Then when Daimler decided to hire him for Chrysler, jeez... I guess they musta figured making cars is easier than selling 2x4's.

To answer the OP's original question.... There's a lot of information at http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com It takes a while to pick your way thru all the stuff there, but there's a lot of info on the stupid things they've done which have cost them billions. Ultra-complex hybrid drivetrain development schemes funded to the tune of hundreds of millions and still not perfected, while they could've licensed the far simpler hybrid technology Toyota is using, but rejected it based on the not invented here syndrome. Vehicle lines okayed for production when their own inhouse projections showed the line would never turn a profit, yet given the green light based on whose "baby" the particular vehicle program happened to be. 400 engineers and countless others working full time on the Volt which is based on batteries that don't really exist yet, except price levels that would push the Volt's selling price upward of $100K.

The beginnings of this idiocy were taking root a long time ago. I shared an office for a couple years with a guy who'd worked in light truck development at Ford in the last half of the 70's. The following is a story he told me......

They were working on the chassis and powertrain development of the original Ford Ranger small truck. Their intent was to use the modified McPherson strut front suspension already in production on Mustangs and some of the other mid-size Ford cars. The advantages, as compared to twin I beams on the full size trucks were (1) weight reduction of about 50# (2) proven design already in production (3) cost saving of well over $100 per vehicle (4) the strut arrangement provided a straight shot to the back side of the spindle, enabling them to have independent front suspension on 4x4's instead of a solid axle. This was impossible with the twin I beam and provided even more cost saving potential on the 4x4 models. and (5) to get rid of the twin I beam because every engineer at Ford knew it was a crappy, heavy, and expensive design that never should have been produced in the first place.

They had prototypes built of vehicles with both front end variations, multiple vehicles at roughly half a million a pop at that time. Their own testing showed the Fox platform front end to be far better from a driveability standpoint, and endurance testing projected satisfactory durability for small pickup use. In another test phase they took prototypes to places like shopping malls and had random members of the public drive them and tell them their impressions of whether one drove differently than the other, without telling them anything about the front end differences. The uninformed public consistently picked the IFS vehicle as superior to the twin I beam vehicle.

Ed said they felt like they had a winner from every angle. Cheaper, lighter, and better driveability perception from both the professional and John Q Public type of driver.

Marketing gets involved, and says flatly that the Ranger WILL have a twin I beam front end because they've spent XX millions telling the public how good it is over the prior 15 years. End of story. Engineering and development overruled by marketing. Nothing to be discussed any further.

That was 30 years ago. Any doubts as to why they're in the shape they are today? And keep in mind Ford is in far better shape than the other two.


Hot Rolled
Dec 29, 2006
"Apart from Volvo, Ford imports ... nothing."

Bought a new Ford minivan for the wife in '04 - tag said it was built in Canada.

"I don't understand why everybody wants to dump on these companies that employ Americans, pay for their health care and pensions, and support communities all over the Midwest."

Apparently Mr. Brown has never owned a Ford. Said minivan was the biggest pile of $hit I've ever bought - right down to the interior roof console falling away during the first two weeks of ownership.

Why should my tax dollars be used to help support workers that get better aggregate compensation than most people I know in an industry where there is clearly over capacity, and in my experiences make an inferior product?


Feb 8, 2004
See the thread in this section, Detroit Quality-1965.

It was an eye opener for me and I started it.


The Industry's Sloppiness Is Beginning To Irk Long-Suffering Buyers

"The condition of the 1965 cars CU has bought for test is about the worst, so far as sloppiness in production goes, in the whole 10-year stretch of deterioration that began in 1955, the first year in which U.S. new car sales first approached eight million. (That was also the year in which a heavy emphasis on credit sales raised car output by nearly 2.5 million over the 1954 level and increased consumer indebtedness for autos more than 40%.) Complaint in the trade about the condition of the cars as delivered began to get bitter then and it has continued to be bitter ever since. "Overproduction has resulted in poorly engineered and poorly built cars," wrote one dealer, in a letter submitted to a Congressional hearing in 1961. "We in the retail business," he continued, "have all experienced the exorbitant new car 'get ready' cost and owner dissatisfaction with some of the creations dreamed up by the factories and then thrown together..."
CU also heard from dissatisfied new-car owners throughout these years. In 1963, as production once again approached the eight million target, things seemed to get worse. In that year, for example, CU's auto consultants noted that 32 out of 32 cars bought for testing showed troubles within the first 5000 miles of driving - most of the troubles were minor, some were major, but all were troubles that should have been caught at the factory (see CONSUMER REPORTS, October 1963). In 1964, as the eight million goal was finally hit, new-car troubles continued to plague dealers and consumers. Then came the 1965s. For this model year, on top of their heavy production schedule, auto manufacturers levied two speed-ups: to stock up before last fall's strike, and to catch up after the strike.
It was apparently during the pre-strike speed-up that the troubles with some early Ford and Mercury and Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler cars occurred (see CONSUMER REPORTS, January 1965). The involvements were serious - a rear suspension arm attachment that might break loose on the two Ford cars and take them out of control, and a steering gear support on the three Chrysler cars which needed inspection to determine if rewelding was necessary. Cars from later production showed no such faults. And CU's examination of the 1965s actually bought for test revealed no other problems so serious; no problems, for that matter, were found with the basic mechanisms of any of the cars. They were simply incredibly sloppy. The things wrong with them were minor, multiple and annoying (see the list on page 175). And they all foretold unhappy owners who would be seeking satisfaction under those new-car warranties which are so highly touted by car salesmen from coast to coast."

April 1965
p. 173

I'll post that list from page 175. It is an education.

"...Last year, in addition to calculating the average incidence of dissatisfaction, CU studied the warranty experiences of 48,000 respondents who had purchased 1963 and 1964 cars.....Around a fourth of the 1963 and 1964 U.S. cars bought by CU respondents were not in a satisfactory condition when delivered. those who had bought 1964 Chrysler cars, reported less than a fifth of them in unsatisfactory shape on delivery, while more than a quarter of the owners of 1964 General Motors cars reported dissatisfaction. Ford and American Motors came in the middle with the difference between them not statistically significant, and GM's lag behind American Motors was also not significant. For the 1963s, the line-up was Chrysler ahead, with about 16% unsatisfactory as delivered, General Motors and Ford next with about one quarter, and American Motors significantly below the other three. thus, the record of Chrysler cars for both years was better than that achieved by other American makes. But the Chryslers were not up to the Volkswagen, which shamed the whole domestic industry. Ninety per cent of these cars were reported OK on delivery.

April 1965
p. 174

CU's test cars: 100% trouble

"In anything as complicated as a car, pure chance will play a part in the presence or absence of troubles. But something more than chance is at work when 32 out of 32 cars chosen at random for testing show troubles of one kind or another in the first few thousand miles....And CU's automotive consultants know what that 'something other than chance' is - it's bad quality control in the automobile industry."

So wrote CU, speaking of the 1963 models it had tested (CONSUMER REPORTS, October 1963). In 1964 things were slightly better; two or three of the 35 cars purchased for testing didn't develop troubles at least in the first 3000 miles. This year it looks as though things are back to normal again - that is, all fouled up - in the output of Detroit.

Here's a list of some troubles (of all kinds, not all major but all annoying and some hazardous) that CU has found on the 25 models for 1965 it has so far bought for testing. Some of the troubles (improperly aimed headlights for example) have shown up on most cars; other troubles (malfunctioning directional signals, for example), have shown up on almost all; no car has been purchased which has not exhibited some trouble.

Front window glass out of channel.
Trim panel on front door not attached.
Poor welds in floor pan.
Wiring harness loose - ignition and lights went out.
Left stoplight and directional signal inoperative.
Transmission fluid leaking.
Water leaking from heater core.
Air flow through defroster blocked.
Oil leaking from rear axle housing.
Engine would not start in Park position - transmission had to be torn down.
Fan belt loose; slipped and squeaked when engine was speeded up.
Steering column loose at dashboard, steering wheel loose on column.
Front seat adjuster stuck on passenger's side.
Ignition timing off specifications.
Hand brake not connected, warning light not working.
Hand brake light stayed on at all times.
Directional signals would not cancel.
Car slipped out of Park position.
Front door hinge off at bottom.
Wheel alignment off specifications.
Doors not properly adjusted, hard to close or open.
Heater fan blades hit heater housing.
Windshield washer pump inoperative.
Both front wheel bearings loose.
Dash warning light read "Hot!" when car was cold.
Engine noisy, had to be pulled down.
Headlights improperly aimed.
Choke stuck open when car was cold; car wouldn't start.
Choke would not open as car warmed up; engine stalled.

April 1965
p. 175


jim rozen

Feb 26, 2004
peekskill, NY
"I don't understand why everybody wants to dump on these companies that employ Americans, pay for their health care and pensions, and support communities all over the Midwest."

Umm, maybe the author is out of date a bit.

First off ford is in the best possible position at the moment so it is tough for me
to target the comments specifically at ford. But it is probaby true for GM and cerebus
at the moment.

Those companies are laying employees off, they are denying coverage for their
retirees, and they are demanding huge amounts of taxpayer cash just to keep the
lights on for this month. Next month it will be the same story all warmed over and

They've simply stopped being good corporate citizens. They've stopped innovating,
they've stopped building cars that folks want, they've turned into simple pipelines
to shuttle taxpayer dollars into executive bonusses. Ten years ago they could
have created cars that rival the products that *are* being sold today. The
ford focus is one of them and possibly the only reason ford is remotely competitive
today. But they did not.

They were short-sighted and the managment only were interested in next months
stock prices so their bonusses and stock options would keep inflating.


This is why the car companies are being "dumped on." Because the market says they
deserve it. It's all being driven by the free market.



Nov 17, 2006
No. Calif
I hope some of you can remember the nice little film produced some time in the late 50s / early 60s used to teach school children the fundamentals of Industrial Capitalism – because America as a whole has forgotten the lesson.

Factories were built and products produced based on “Supply and Demand” and fueled by innovation and efficiency. Stocks and Bonds were issued and sold on the value and need of the product produced.

We lost that..

We Over-Valued our stocks, our marketing. We lost our innovators our producers. We sold the farm for paper wealth and found out its just that – paper

America as a whole did this –

We dumped money into Wall St. looking to earn a good return on our 401Ks. Prior to 1981 stock market investing was done by a few. Now the many looking for a stable retirement fund over valued the markets and undervalued labor and production.

Buzz Words replaced machinery

We got what we paid for - paper


Nov 20, 2006
detroit mi
I am surprised when I am told Ford, GM or even Chrysler (the most suspect under Cerberus) is abandoning their social responsibility.

I watched attentively Congress argue both ways...critcize them for the past contracts ...but held Toyota, Honda Nissan and Hyundai in special status for how well run they are (because they don't make any effort to match benefits or hourly pay and have a young workforce not 5 retirees for every current worker).

Transplant wages are a moving target

Lindsay Chappell
Automotive News
December 15, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

Last Thursday, Dec. 11, the U.S. Senate failed to approve a Detroit 3 bailout pushed by some Republicans that would have rolled back UAW wages and benefits to the level of North America's transplant automakers.

But the issue is complex. The transplants lack a standard wage. And in recent years, the overseas-based automakers have been pushing wages lower.

Pay differs even among Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. auto plants. Toyota workers in Georgetown, Ky., earn $27 to $30 an hour, similar to the hourly wages of UAW workers in Michigan.

But vexed by the rise of lower-wage competitors, including Hyundai Motor Co. in Montgomery, Ala., and Nissan Motor Co. in Canton, Miss., Toyota has been on a campaign to open factories that can pay lower hourly rates than its established U.S. plants.

Transplant wages
The UAW says its national hourly wage rate, excluding benefits, is $28. Republican senators wanted the UAW to roll back wages to transplant levels. But U.S. factories of overseas automakers lack a standard wage. Here's a sampling.
Plant Hourly wage, excluding benefits
Toyota, Georgetown, Ky. $27-$30
Toyota, San Antonio $21*
Toyota, Blue Springs, Miss. $20**
Kia, West Point, Ga. $14.90*
Honda, Greensburg, Ind. $14.84

Wages at Toyota's San Antonio Tundra pickup plant began at $15.50 an hour when the factory opened in 2006 and are scheduled to rise to $21 an hour in 2009. And assembly workers at the company's planned Prius factory in Blue Springs, Miss., are expected to earn $20 an hour when it opens in 2010. Yet the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont, Calif., is a UAW-represented Toyota-General Motors joint venture that pays the national UAW rate, which the union says is $28.

Hyundai made a point of paying less than Toyota, Honda and Nissan when it entered Alabama in 2002. Its sister company, Kia Motors Corp., is hiring workers for a new assembly plant in rural west Georgia to start at $14.90 an hour.

Last month, Honda Motor Co. opened a car plant in Greensburg, Ind., where workers are starting at $14.84 an hour.


IMO GM and Ford have not asked to walk away from retirees...but we should be prepared that will be what happens when we steer them into bankruptcy proceedings.


GM pays inflation bonuses to UAW retirees

David Barkholz
Automotive News
December 16, 2008 - 4:36 pm ET

General Motors, which is seeking a government bailout, paid up to $700 in year-end inflation adjustments to each of its 284,000 hourly retirees on Monday, said GM spokesman Tony Sapienza.

With another 73,000 surviving spouses receiving up to $455 each, the total cost to GM may surpass $200 million.

Ford Motor Co. intends to make its payments next week, said Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans. They will go to 115,000 hourly retirees as part of long-standing contract provisions with the UAW. Chrysler LLC did not respond immediately to a request for numbers on its payments.

GM's cash crisis had retirees worried whether the so-called Christmas bonuses would come this year. GM has indicated it barely has enough cash on hand to stay in business into January.

Dick Danjin, a GM retiree and retired UAW representative, said he wasn't surprised since payment is called for in GM's union contract. "Both the corporation and union are fully aware of the obligation," said Danjin, who lives in northern Michigan. He said he received his payment.

I acknowledged it is very hard for me to be objective but still I find it painful to see so many "truths' such as criticism for downsizing being twisted into lack of social responsibility when it is such a direct consequence of consumers buying transplant cars made at lower wages...like there is no connection. The latest loans will mandate faster downsizing and more plant closures and no doubt the public will be critical.

I see little difference between consumers shopping exclusively at Walmart and then being critical their local communitty retailer all closed. That scernario has already played out in my lifetime with communitty "main street" in small towns now being boarded up or at least no longer retail stores which have had to close because Walmart showed up with low wages, and very few benefits (actually I recall a TV News expose' that majority of Walmarts work force collects government benefits/health care at the same time they are employed having to turn to public assist since Walmart does not cover. Walmart at the time had "training sessions" coaching how to supplement with public assistance).


Jul 12, 2007
Tuscaloosa, AL
Also, he does not mention that most of the parts used in their assembly plants are made in Japan, especially the value added parts. I get so sick and tiered of people saying "Well its all right to buy a Toyota, etc, because they are made in America". And Toyota sends all it's profit back to Japan.

Last time I toured Honda's Alabama plant, there was a foundry there casting engines and almost all of their sheetmetal was stamped on site, the rest was done by local suppliers. They were injection molding some of their plastics on site and more were done by other local vendors. They were also paying Americans a good wage.

The toyota engine plant around here is doing it's own machining, but I don't know what else.

As for thier profits, some go back to Japan, some go to the shareholders, and a lot gets reinvested in places like Alabama.

But, I drive a Ford, made in Mexico.


Nov 20, 2006
detroit mi
Molten metal supplies hot Hondas

Company carries pot after pot of aluminum to new engine plant

Ralph Kisiel
Automotive News
October 13, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

ALLISTON, Ontario — A supplier to Honda's new engine plant, the automaker's third in North America, promises fast and hot deliveries.

Hot, as in 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit.

True to its name, Molten Aluminum Producer Canada Inc. delivers molten aluminum to the new Honda of Canada Manufacturing Inc. engine plant across the street here — in kettles resembling enormous teapots.

Honda's $154 million engine plant, formally dedicated Sept. 25, is next to Honda's two vehicle assembly lines here. By moving the molten metal, the plant supports higher production of the hot-selling Honda Civic.

Honda Motor Co. Chairman Satoshi Aoki said here that Honda's three North American engine plants can meet the carmaker's local engine needs, even after Honda's new Greensburg, Ind., assembly plant begins producing Civics later this month. Besides this new plant, Honda has engine plants in Anna, Ohio, and at its Lincoln, Ala., assembly plant.

Honda uses the molten aluminum to make engine blocks and heads for vehicles assembled here and sold in Canada and the United States.

"We use 100 percent scrap aluminum," says Brad Wilson, vice president of Molten Aluminum Producer Canada, known as MAPCAN. The company also casts aluminum ingots that weigh 26.4 pounds each for export to the Anna plant and Honda suppliers elsewhere in Ohio.

Moving the metal
Honda's new Canadian engine plant, along with others in Ohio and Alabama, gives the automaker all the 4-cylinder engines it needs for its North American assembly plants. Here are some key facts about the factory.
• Launched output at 400 engines a day for Honda Civics
• Plans to double that by mid-2009, bringing output to 200,000 engines a year
• Frees Honda's engine plant in Anna, Ohio, to supply engines to new Indiana plant that will start making Civics this month
Source: Honda of Canada Manufacturing Inc.

Kettle drive

Here in Alliston, about 45 miles north of Toronto, the supplier melts aluminum scrap in four natural-gas-fired furnaces. MAPCAN fills two insulated kettles with molten aluminum, uses a forklift to load them onto a customized truck and drives the kettles across Industrial Parkway to the engine plant.

By taking delivery of molten aluminum, Honda eliminates the need for a furnace in its engine plant to melt aluminum ingots. That results in a significant energy savings and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, Wilson says. Not having to remelt the aluminum will reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 1,763 tons annually.

The molten aluminum is trucked over at 1,292 degrees for the engine heads and 1,220 degrees for the blocks.

MAPCAN obtains most of its aluminum from scrap dealers and aluminum producers in southern Ontario. The company's furnaces melt scrap such as aluminum ladders, barbecue grills, radiators, wheels and even building siding, Wilson says.

About 5 percent of the scrap comes from Honda's waste across the street: unusable aluminum engine blocks and heads, along with shavings left from the machining of aluminum parts.

Molten Aluminum Producer Canada runs one truck to the engine plant each hour. Since the truck must cross Industrial Parkway, there is containment equipment at the intersection in the event of a spill, Wilson says.

The aluminum supplier is a joint venture between Honda Trading Corp., with a 65 percent stake, and Asahi Seiren Co., of Japan, with 35 percent.

Honda isn't the first automaker to truck molten aluminum. Since the 1990s, BMW AG has purchased molten aluminum from independent metal providers that is transported by truck to the carmaker's aluminum casting plant in Landshut, Germany, 45 miles northeast of Munich.

Honda's new engine plant builds about 400 engines a day for the Civic. By mid-2009, the plant plans to double its output.

By mid-2009, Honda's new engine plant will produce 200,000 four-cylinder engines annually for the Civic.

Honda has two assembly lines here. Line 1 builds the Civic and, for Canada, the Acura CSX luxury compact sedan. Line 2 builds the Civic, Honda Ridgeline pickup and Acura MDX crossover. Honda is moving the Ridgeline to its Lincoln, Ala., assembly plant early next year.

The new Alliston engine plant currently builds about 400 engines a day on one shift. Honda plans to add a second shift this month and boost production to 800 engines by mid-2009. The plant will have 340 employees when it reaches full capacity next year.

FYI---DEC15,2008 Honda has announced 119,000 unit reduction in production schedule from now to Mar 2009....they have 102 days inventory of vehicles as of DEC 08(was more typical for Honda 30 day as of SEPT 2008)

jim rozen

Feb 26, 2004
peekskill, NY
"consequence of consumers buying transplant cars made at lower wages..."

Wait. Isn't that the exact holy grail of the big three? The thing that, if they
get it (free labor) they'd be "just fine again?"

You can't claim your being raped by unions and at the same time beg the
profitable car companies to jack up their wage rates.

As far as walmart goes, you won't find anyone on this board who boasts about
the money they save buying cheap plastic crap from that place. If you spent
more time in the past here, you would be sure of that.