Ford, GM, Chrysler brace for strikes

The Big 3 could face production halts next week if they can't reach an agreement with Canadian workers.

By Benzinga Sep 13, 2012 12:01PM
 Row of cars in car lot, copyright fotog, Tetra images, Getty ImagesBy Katey Stapleton

Despite a summer of repeated recalls, Ford (F), General Motors (GM) and Chrysler have been able to stand strong and pull out decent quarters.

However, the automakers may have bigger issues in the autumn months as strike preparations are underway in Canada that threaten to stop production on more than a dozen popular models.

According to The Detroit News, a lengthy strike by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union could, "ripple and hinder production by Detroit's Big Three in the U.S." A CAW strike in 1996 lasted more than three weeks.

Vehicles that could eventually be impacted by such a strike include Chrysler's Town & Country minivan, General Motors' Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain SUV and even the highly popular Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. The CAW is set to begin striking sometime after 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 17 if a contract agreement is not reached between the union and the Detroit automakers before then.

The Detroit automakers have not made public production plans in case of a strike. "Ford, GM and Chrysler have remained silent on contingency plans should more than 18,000 CAW members strike; all three have options should a strike drag out, although those options are limited," The Detroit News reported early Thursday morning.

In addition to the union problems in Canada, Ford faces problems in Europe and may be closing a factory in Belgium to address near-term European challenges.

Ford introduced 15 new models overseas last week in order to increase consumer demand. The restyled vehicles will make their debut over the course of the next five years, with the company noting that they are investing in the future, despite the current economic crisis.

"Ford [management] downplayed the likelihood of a European downturn as deep as the U.S.'s during the financial crisis," analysts at Jefferies said following a meeting with Ford executives.

"There does seem to be at least some variable capacity that Ford can take out. We got the sense that Ford is targeting a restructuring plan that will result in break-even operations at current industry production volumes."

As revamped models and plant closings find their way onto Ford's European to-do list, it appears that a restructuring plan is well underway there. Ford and its competitors will have to explore options to combat what might be an ugly fight in neighboring Canada if the pending strike occurs.

Both Ford and General Motors were down slightly in midday trading.

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Sep 13, 2012 1:27PM
Looks like we need to close down the Canadian plants and open non-union run plants in America.
Sep 13, 2012 2:08PM
Move south.  No union demands and can fire useless people. A big savings in itself.
Sep 13, 2012 12:48PM
As an owner of American Motors, I say fire the bastards. Don't care what country they are in.
Sep 13, 2012 2:31PM
They are lucky to have jobs, especially after their employers were bailed out. I bet they could move those jobs to the southern US and save a bunch of money. I hear they need work and there are plenty willing to work.
Sep 13, 2012 2:33PM
A story about GM and Ford, and a picture of a row of Mazdas.
Sep 13, 2012 2:13PM
Fire them all on Friday and offer rehire on Monday non union, see howmany break ranks.. Unions got ta go.
Sep 13, 2012 3:06PM
Like Reagan told the air traffic controllers.  Back to work Moday or your fired!
Sep 13, 2012 3:40PM
Sep 13, 2012 1:13PM
Well lets see it will affect the Regal, Camaro, and Impala for GM.  The Terrain/Equinox shouldnt be too hard hit seeing how they will be assembling it in Spring Hill Tennessee soon they could easily handle 3 shifts 5 days a week to meet demand.  Im sure the area would love the jobs coming to the USA as well.  The Regal can actually be imported from Europe which may help GM out since they have over production at the Russelsheim plant right now it would help lower the losses in Europe granted it wouldnt help much but every little bit helps.  The Impala and Camaro arent that big a deal since the Camaro season is almost over with and the Impala is a fleet product mostly.  GM should be just fine.
Sep 13, 2012 2:53PM
Now  that obummer  has  become  president...I NO  longer  need  sex.......obummer  screws  me  everyday.....................Backing  unions  is  another  way obummer  screws  us  all and  makes  us  pay  more  for  union  made  crap...............
Sep 13, 2012 2:31PM
Not to worry.  I'm sure odumbo will  borrow some more money to bail them out.
Sep 13, 2012 2:28PM
Break the Unions, cut the wages to nothing, more money for executives bonus program. Do you really think GM will lower the price of cars if wages are lowered for the little guy. No way. Money saved will go to the top. Wake up, the problems at GM start at the top, not the bottom.
Sep 13, 2012 4:54PM

A union in Canada is going to strike!  We the taxpayers of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA bailed out GM and this is what we get for our money.  It was a UNION NOT AUTOMAKER BAILOUT.  GET REAL!


Thank you

President Onothing!

Sep 13, 2012 6:46PM
Its the American tax payer that needs to strike. You know, its legal to go bankrupt on ones taxes.
Sep 13, 2012 6:43PM
We had no business bailing these folks out to begin with. The unoins are making sure these folks are overpaid/underworked. We cannot afford to buy this junk! Its certainly not worth the price. No wonder their getting ready to print more money 40 billion a month until were outta debt. WTF.Perhaps I need to move to canada ay.
Sep 13, 2012 9:15PM
Maybe we should pick our fights carefully. I think unions have a place here because without them , there is worker abuse,threats and favoritism. I also think the union officials at the top can do more harm than good protecting bad workers, making unreal demands on employers or taking union dues and backing politicians of "their" choice.
Also,we might need to separate private and public unions that are paid by the tax-payer (teachers,police,firefighters). Do union bashers enjoy  less money and benefits? Companies can make record profits but for workers,it seems like a race to the bottom.

Sep 13, 2012 3:25PM
Sep 13, 2012 2:45PM

Still sucking on that TAILPIPE... the US is getting exactly what it deserves in the middle east...even after President Bush said, America is addicted to OIL people are not demanding the Electric car to balance out the greed on both sides.


The Saudi Royals are getting over $100 dollars a barrel for 1 barrel of crude...they have been in heaven since 9/11 and what does the Americans and the rest of the free world do give OPEC MORE... 

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