General Motors will lay off up to 75 employees at its Spring Hill plant due to slowing market demand. Duane Marsteller and The Tennessean have the story here. Word of the move comes less than a week after Volkswagen said it will cut 500 contract employees because of slackness in sedan sales.
Two quick hits on the current state of and future prospects for electric car adoption: First, Brad Tuttle at Time says the rollout of new models by Chevrolet and Fiat as well as the increased production of batteries should help lower prices and bring more consumers in the market. But, he adds, that won't create a legion of evangelists; too many people are still not looking past the pitfalls of electric-car technology. Secondly, Steve LeVine at Quartz points out that energy giant ExxonMobil is projecting that electric cars will account for a tenth of all sales in 2040.
State officials will between now and the end of June pay a rebate of $2,500 to buyers of the Chevrolet Volt electric car if they also enroll in the EV Project, a study collecting electric-car usage and charging data. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in September 2010 set aside $2.5 million to incentivize the buying of Nissan's Leaf electric car.
General Motors' announcement Monday that it will bring production of the Chevrolet Equinox to Spring Hill next year included lots of general references to the flexibility the plant will have to make other vehicles, including another midsized model a few years down the road. Joann Muller at Forbes gets into the specifics.
The most expensive parts of an auto factory are the paint shop, where cars are dipped in colorful baths, and the body shop, where robots weld their steel panels together. At Spring Hill, where these operations already exist, GM won’t have to start from scratch. Instead, it will build a series of short spurs off the main body assembly line where the overflow production of high-demand vehicles will occur. Those vehicles will then feed automatically into the main body assembly line, alongside the new mid-sized car, and on to the paint shop.
About two-thirds of both General Motors' production and skilled-trade workers belonging to the United Auto Workers have voted to accept the wide-ranging agreement hammered out between the two sides earlier this month. The new contract provides for the company's Spring Hill plant to churn out two mid-sized vehicles.
United Auto Workers executives on Tuesday unveiled some details about the tentative agreement they signed last week with General Motors. Among them are plans to bring the production of two mid-sized vehicles originally destined to go to Mexico. Combined, they will bring with them 1,700 jobs and about $420 million in investment.
SEE ALSO: More details from the Detroit News