Detroit puts the pedal to the metal this summer
Instead of the usual plant closings and furloughs, Ford, GM and Chrysler are keeping the assembly lines rolling to meet strong demand.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford (F) expects to produce 200,000 more vehicles in 2013 by reducing its planned summer shutdown and expanding its production lines. It's adding a third shift to its Kansas City, Mo., plant that produces its F-150 pickup, its most profitable vehicle. It's also hiring workers for the plant near Detroit that makes the Mustang and the Fusion sedan.
General Motors (GM), which is releasing 20 new models, isn't idling its plants at all this summer. And Chrysler, which is owned by Italy's Fiat, will close only one of its 16 engine, transmission and metal-stamping plants this summer, according to The Associated Press. Japanese automakers Honda (HMC), Nissan and Toyota are still planning seasonal plant shutdowns, the wire service said.
Gains in North America are offsetting weaknesses in Europe, where automakers are shuttering plants and axing workers to stem losses there. The New York Times reported that some early signs say the industry in Europe is starting to recover, although sales continue to be dismal. April sales alone were the third-lowest on record.
Edmunds.com recently raised its 2013 U.S. sales forecast to 15.5 million vehicles, a level the industry hasn't reached since 2007 as American consumers are proving to be resilient despite frequent discussions in the press about the nation's fiscal woes and the continued economic problems in Europe.
How long the good times will last is hard to say.
The Center for Automotive Research expects auto sales growth to slow to annual single-digit percentage increases from its rapid growth of the past few years. Production should fully recover to pre-recession levels in the next few years, though employment growth in the auto sector is slowing.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished a down week on a cautious note with small caps leading the retreat. The Russell 2000 lost 0.5%, widening its weekly decline to 2.6%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.3%. The benchmark index ended the week lower by 2.7%.
This morning, the market was provided a basis to rebound with the July employment report, which was just right for the policy doves (209K versus Briefing.com consensus 220K). It showed payroll growth that was weaker than expected, ... More
More Market News
The company complains after the son of Florida State's football coach is televised wearing -- gasp -- Under Armour.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'