Report: VW, UAW hold high-level talks on organizing Chattanooga

Filed under: Government/Legal, Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Plants/Manufacturing, Volkswagen, UAW/Unions

UAW New President

Volkswagen and the United Auto Workers union are now one step closer to achieving a deal that would see VW’s plant in Chattanooga, TN become unionized. If it happens, it would be the first major victory in recent years for the UAW at a plant in the United States run by a foreign automaker. The UAW had formerly represented workers at VW’s Westmoreland plant in Pennsylvania, which first opened in 1978 and is now closed. At present, the only non-Domestic facility in the States that is unionized is the Mitsubishi plant in Normal, IL.

While neither side is officially commenting, Automotive News Europe, citing a story in German newspaper Handelsblatt, reports that a meeting was held last Friday between plant officials and Bob King, president of the UAW. Negotiations are reportedly underway that would see a so-called German-style works council formed. This council would allow both blue-collar and white-collar employees to elect representatives that would have a say in any significant plant discussion.

VW’s Chattanooga plant is the only facility the automaker operates in the whole world that isn’t represented by a union of some sort, and US labor law apparently requires that an outside body, such as the UAW, be involved in any such negotiations. Horst Neumann, the board member for human resources at VW, said in March that “The UAW would be a natural partner,” but that any deal would “depend on negotiations.” It would seem those negotiations are now underway in earnest.

VW, UAW hold high-level talks on organizing Chattanooga originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: VW, UAW hold high-level talks on organizing Chattanooga

Filed under: Government/Legal, Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Plants/Manufacturing, Volkswagen, UAW/Unions

UAW New President

Volkswagen and the United Auto Workers union are now one step closer to achieving a deal that would see VW’s plant in Chattanooga, TN become unionized. If it happens, it would be the first major victory in recent years for the UAW at a plant in the United States run by a foreign automaker. The UAW had formerly represented workers at VW’s Westmoreland plant in Pennsylvania, which first opened in 1978 and is now closed. At present, the only non-Domestic facility in the States that is unionized is the Mitsubishi plant in Normal, IL.

While neither side is officially commenting, Automotive News Europe, citing a story in German newspaper Handelsblatt, reports that a meeting was held last Friday between plant officials and Bob King, president of the UAW. Negotiations are reportedly underway that would see a so-called German-style works council formed. This council would allow both blue-collar and white-collar employees to elect representatives that would have a say in any significant plant discussion.

VW’s Chattanooga plant is the only facility the automaker operates in the whole world that isn’t represented by a union of some sort, and US labor law apparently requires that an outside body, such as the UAW, be involved in any such negotiations. Horst Neumann, the board member for human resources at VW, said in March that “The UAW would be a natural partner,” but that any deal would “depend on negotiations.” It would seem those negotiations are now underway in earnest.

VW, UAW hold high-level talks on organizing Chattanooga originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: BMW Group design boss von Hooydonk talks 328 Hommage

Filed under: Concept Cars, Classics, Convertible, Performance, Europe, Videos, BMW, Misc. Auto Shows, Luxury

BMW 328 Hommage Concept

BMW 328 Hommage concept with Adrian von Hooydonk – Click above to watch the video after the break

While at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este (yeah, we’re roughing it here) we grabbed BMW Group chief of design Adrian von Hooydonk for an interview about his team’s latest two-person open-top concept car, the 328 Hommage.

The 328 Hommage marks 75 years since the launch of the gorgeous 1930s icon, the 328, and carries on the tradition of that car in its lightness. While the 328 six-cylinder was underpowered on paper in its day, it kicked butt on the race circuit due to its very light weight and superior dynamics.

The 328 Hommage frankly looks more like an homage to the 1950s sex-tastic 507, but at least the concept gets the open sides, leather straps, and wingnut wheels fairly correct. And we like that the tall kidneys on the grille make a modern return.

Von Hooydonk admits that the 328 Hommage isn’t proportionally much like the 328 of old, but, he says, “Any sports car today needs to be wider and lower anyway.” We, however, harken back to the 2006 Mille Miglia coupe concept, which simply blew one and all away. That car also went directly from its public unveiling into the BMW museum in Munich, never to be seriously driven.

Click through to the jump to continue reading and to watch the video.

Continue reading BMW Group design boss von Hooydonk talks 328 Hommage

BMW Group design boss von Hooydonk talks 328 Hommage originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Spyker to be renamed Swedish Automobile N.V. as Pang Da talks with Chinese gov’t.

Filed under: China, Government/Legal, Saab, Earnings/Financials, Spyker

saab badge

Spyker is on a Chinese money hunt, and it appears the automaker may have found a partner willing to pony up the cash. Pang Da, a Chinese automobile distribution company, had recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with Spyker. Now, Spyker is set to rename itself Swedish Automobile N.V., and the Saab-owner believes Chinese authorities will give the green light for this deal to proceed.

According to Saab CEO Victor Muller, a very important portion of the deal has already gone through; a cash infusion of €30 million ($42M USD). Muller states that “Pang Da’s advance payment and sales of imported Saab cars are not subject to approval from the NDRC. The first advance payment of EUR 30 million was received last Tuesday.”

Bloomberg reports that the rest of the deal may not move forward so easily. According to analysts in China, the country’s government is unlikely to allow Pang Da’s purchase of a stake in Swedish Automobile N.V. because the nation is working to consolidate its auto industry, not expand it.

If approved, however, Pang Da will spend $91 million and receive a 23 percent share of the automaker’s business. Despite the negative view of Chinese analysts, Pang Da says it remains confident the transaction will be approved.

Continue reading Spyker to be renamed Swedish Automobile N.V. as Pang Da talks with Chinese gov’t.

Spyker to be renamed Swedish Automobile N.V. as Pang Da talks with Chinese gov’t. originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Great Wall Motors denies Saab talks

Filed under: China, Europe, Saab, Earnings/Financials

Man affixes 'Save Saab' sign to car window

According to The Detroit News, Chinese automaker Great Wall has made it clear that the company has not been in talks with Saab over a potential partnership. After word trickled down that a $233-million deal between the Swedish automaker’s parent company, Spyker, and Hawtai Motor Group imploded, rumors of various other Chinese suitors have cropped up in a serious fashion.

Spyker said that Hawtai was forced to back out of the arrangement due to the company’s inability to obtain proper government consent, while Hawtai denied those claims. Instead, the Chinese automaker said that claim in a statement by saying that the true issues were commercial and economic realities.

Meanwhile, both BAIC and China Youngman Automobile Group have said that they aren’t in negotiations with either Spyker or Saab at this time. The Detroit News reports that BAIC recently bought the rights to some Saab technology, though the automaker said that no further discussions had been made about the future of the relationship between the two organizations.

Great Wall Motors denies Saab talks originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Marketing/Advertising, Saab

Tim Colbeck, Saab

“I’m a horrible manager,” admits Muller, “but I’m very good at raising money.”

While in Washington D.C. for the 2012 Saab 9-4X launch, we had dinner next to Victor Muller, then spoke to the newly announced captain of Saab’s North American ship, Tim Colbeck, who actually fills the dual roles of president and COO – at the end of his first day on the job. Muller started the evening by talking about the most recent troubles, saying of the production stoppage, “It was all my fault.”

“Saab was really a General Motors subsidiary – GM financing, GM terms and conditions, GM suppliers, and things can start to come apart when you’re independent. Sometimes you have to tell suppliers it’s not going to be the way it was.”

Muller says a single supplier told Saab that “if we didn’t pay, he wasn’t going to open his truck that day,” and Muller “called his bluff.” The supplier was a man of his word, wouldn’t deliver the parts, and the lack of those particular components caused a production stoppage of two hours, which Muller says is “normal elsewhere, but not in Sweden.”

To hear Muller tell it, it might not have been such a problem if the Swedish media, which he accuses of being Saab bashers, hadn’t turned it into a sensational story. “Within two hours of the stoppage,” he said, “we didn’t have one supplier with problems, we had 92 suppliers with problems” as Saab experienced a “run on the bank.” Continue reading…

Continue reading Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day

Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford head honcho Mulally talks tech with The Engadget Show

Filed under: Hybrid, Videos, Ford, Electric

Ford CEO Alan Mulally

Alan Mulally on The Engadget Show – Click above to watch video after the jump

If you aren’t already an avid follower of The Engadget Show, we highly recommend checking out the video series. The editors of our favorite tech site (disclosure: Engadget and Autoblog are both owned by AOL) routinely sit down with the movers and shakers of the electronics and gadget world for a look into what’s new and what’s next. The latest episode delves into everything from a hybrid version of the Shredder to the BlackBerry PlayBook. Of course, we’re a little more interested in the show’s interview with Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Engadget caught up with Mulally while he was in New York for the 2011 New York Auto Show and picked his brain on the future of the electric car and Ford’s vision for the automobile moving forward.

Like most manufacturers, Ford is currently working to develop new battery technologies that will allow for quicker charge times, though Mulally says that his company also hopes to see the electric car become a more integral part of the electrical grid as a whole in the near future. As battery technology advances, Ford wants EVs to be able to charge on off-peak hours, store energy and feed it back to homes and businesses when not in use.

Pretty clever.

Hit the jump to see the full episode of The Engadget Show after the jump.

[Source: Engadget]

Continue reading Ford head honcho Mulally talks tech with The Engadget Show

Ford head honcho Mulally talks tech with The Engadget Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Apr 2011 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Google talks about its driverless car tech at TED

Filed under: Technology, Videos

Google Driverless Car

Google Driverless Car – Click above to view video after the jump

Sebastien Thurn has made it his life’s work to save one million lives from traffic accidents. Thurn has been instrumental in the development of Google’s DARPA Challenge-winning driverless car technology at Stanford University, and he’s confident that his technology can not only save lives, but eliminate traffic jams.

Thurn’s footage of a driverless Toyota Prius is nothing short of incredible, showing the cars successfully navigating deserts, highways and city streets clogged with traffic and pedestrians. So far, the driverless car’s most impressive journey has been from San Francisco to Los Angeles down Highway One.

Beyond just city and highway driving, Thurn has provided footage of the driverless Prius and a driverless Volkswagen Passat successfully navigating an autocross-style cones course, proving these cars can handle a wide range of driving styles. The cars function by employing a series of sensors to detect their environment, and use a computer program to respond to what’s going on around them.

Thurn was on hand at this year’s TED Conference to discuss the idea and show footage from 140,000 miles of driverless car tests conducted by Stanford. The TED Conference serves as a forum for innovative ideas, publishing video seminars and ideas year round, and hosting two in-person conferences per year. The foundation has been holding conferences and publishing content on a creative commons license since 1990. Check out the video after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Google talks about its driverless car tech at TED

Video: Google talks about its driverless car tech at TED originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Apr 2011 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago 2011: Ford’s Farley talks Apple Genius Bars and the push to “democratize technology”

Filed under: Chicago Auto Show, SUV, Marketing/Advertising, Crossover, Ford

2011 Ford Explorer – Click above for high-res image gallery

Jim Farley, Ford’s Group Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales and Service, gave the keynote speech at the Chicago Auto Show this morning, and the only way it could have been more on-topic is if he had given his speech via Facebook chat.

Before Farley announced the new “What Would You Go Do?” campaign for the 2011 Ford Explorer, he laid out how the Explorer’s Facebook launch set a new tone for how Ford has conversations with its customers, and even set a new tone for the company itself. Follow the jump for more and Ford’s press release on the Explorer competition.

Gallery: 2011 Ford Explorer: First Drive

2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Chicago 2011: Ford’s Farley talks Apple Genius Bars and the push to “democratize technology”

Chicago 2011: Ford’s Farley talks Apple Genius Bars and the push to “democratize technology” originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Feb 2011 18:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Muller in talks with three automakers about Saab 9-2 revival

Filed under: Saab, Spyker

Eduard Gray’s Saab 92010 Sixten concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Saab has already talked up its hopes for entering the forthcoming 9-2 in a future installment of the World Rally Championship. But before it can, the 9-2 needs to exist. And before that can happen, Automotive News reports that Saab needs the technology and money from a partner automaker. A recent rumor surfaced that Saab was talking to BMW about building the 9-2 on the Mini chassis. At the same time, another rumor came to light that Saab was discussing using Mini engines for the next 9-3.

Now word has it that Spyker’s Victor Muller is in talks with three companies about getting the help necessary to build the 9-2. Muller hasn’t disclosed the companies’ names, but we assume one of them is BMW. The hook is that the cost of the 9-2 wasn’t included in the turnaround plan, so Saab needs its chosen partner to injects some cash as well. The model has yet to be officially confirmed, of course, so at this point, it isn’t even clear that a teardrop Saab will get off the ground at all.

Gallery: Saab 92010 Sixten Concept by Eduard Gray

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

Report: Muller in talks with three automakers about Saab 9-2 revival originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 Aug 2010 18:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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