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When I respond, or seek responses, I think of the Internet Republic and the people [[whump]] and the places who have made our water world Eden brave and free and fair. Permitted, required, and impossible. Stand alone or stand with, whose choice to what degree [[Thn/]] O[[thn/]]ne water world Eden under "We the people" – created by whom?

Counter cyclical uses for auto assembly lines

Europe’s Auto Industry Has Reached Day of Reckoning

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
Peugeot employees protested the planned closure of the Aulnay plant in
Paris on Wednesday.
By JACK EWING and BILL VLASIC
Published: July 25, 2012
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REPRINTS

FRANKFURT — For European carmakers, the day of reckoning may finally
be at hand.
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Peugeot SA
General Motors
Ford Motor Company
Fiat SpA
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The most dreadful year for car sales in more than a decade may require
the industry to deal with the overstaffed, underused factories that
have been undermining earnings for years.

As the region’s weak economies keep many European car buyers away from
showrooms, analysts say the unprofitable automakers have no choice but
to start closing production lines and cutting payrolls. For the
weakest, like General Motors’ Opel unit and PSA Peugeot Citroën, their
survival may depend on it.

The question is whether any of the companies can do it fast enough —
or at all — in the face of restrictive European labor laws and stubborn
political resistance to cutbacks.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of
both Chrysler and the Italian automaker Fiat, said during an interview.
“All the unresolved issues that have been plaguing the industry for a
number of years have all come forward.”

Fresh evidence came Wednesday in quarterly earnings from Ford and
Peugeot, which both reported huge losses and are each on track to lose
more than $1 billion in Europe this year. Later in the day, the ratings
agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s both lowered Peugeot’s debt by a
notch, placing it deeper into “junk” territory.

Huge overcapacity, some auto executives say, has spawned a crisis
similar to the one the U.S. industry barely survived just a few years
ago. In fact, the downturn in Europe threatens the remarkably rapid
recoveries that Ford and General Motors were able to make after
Detroit’s moment of truth in 2009.

Underused plants are ruinous for car companies, which must continue to
pay upkeep costs and make payroll even as revenue plunges. By some
estimates, the European industry as a whole is operating at only about
60 percent to 65 percent of capacity. As a general rule, plants must
operate at about 75 percent or 80 percent to be profitable, analysts
say.

===========NH:
So, plants should be designed to be “dual purpose” and when car sales
slow, then sales of bicycles, or farm machinery, or sewer and water
cleaning equipment, or what research shows is counter-cyclical could be
manufactured. Or Machine Shop education degrees could be awarded with
education funds paying existing employees to be instructors, or what?
===========NH//

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