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New VW new policy sets guidelines for organized labor at Chattanooga

Volkswagen has set up a “Community Organization Engagement” policy that sets guidelines for dealings with labor groups accounting for a “significant percentage of Volkswagen Chattanooga employees.” This should allow labor groups to hold meetings at the carmaker’s Chattanooga and engage with plant executives.

The policy new comes after the United Auto Union created earlier this year a local chapter for employees at the site, which union leaders said has the support of majority the plant’s 1,500-strong workforce.

According to a summary of the policy as provided by the carmaker, the UAW’s name was not mentioned and labor groups cannot use it to claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent.

Read the entire article New VW new policy sets guidelines for organized labor at Chattanooga

UAW wants to be exclusive bargaining agent for VW Chattanooga workers

The United Workers Union is hoping that it would be recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee within a year. UAW President Dennis Williams told Reuters that he had not set a certain date for the union to represent hourly workers at the site over future talks about wages and benefits.

He said that he hoped the UAW would be recognized to bargaining for the workers by the time contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group starts next summer.

According to Williams, UAW already has a majority of VW’s 1,500 hourly workers at the site as members of its local union, UAW Local 42. However, the union, still have to prove that it has the number to VW to be formally recognized as the workers' bargaining agent.

Read the entire article UAW wants to be exclusive bargaining agent for VW Chattanooga workers

Jaguar Land Rover considering a factory located in the United States

We just announced that Jaguar Land Rover will produce the Range Rover Evoque and the new Land Rover Discovery Sport at its Changshu plant in China, but it appears that the company has even bigger plans. According to the Sunday Times, Jaguar Land Rover is considering building a factory in the United States and it is already in talks with several southern U.S. states about financial support.

The new factory would have an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and will enable the company to avoid import taxes. Jaguar Land Rover is currently expanding its global presence and the British manufacturer will also build a factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mexico is another possible location for a new plant but it appears that Jaguar Land Rover wants it in the south of the USA, which is also the place where BMW and Mercedes-Benz build vehicles.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover considering a factory located in the United States

Hyundai will build not one, but two new factories in China

Hyundai seems determined to boost its sales in China and as a result, the South Korean manufacturer will build not one, but two factories in the region. According to Reuters, Hyundai wants to meet the request of China’s central government, which wants the company to build a new plant in the northeastern Hebei province in as part of a development plant spanning Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.

Hyundai already has three factories located in Beijing and back in March the company signed a preliminary agreement to build a new plant in the southwestern city of Chongqing as part of its plan to expand in western China.

According to inside sources, Hyundai is planning to invest $1 billion in the Chingqing factory and will open it in 2016. The second factory involves the joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding and aims to open a factory in the Hebei city of Hanghua in 2016.

Read the entire article Hyundai will build not one, but two new factories in China

The United Auto Workers is forming a union local – Local 42 -- aimed at representing workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee. UAW said that membership in Local 42 will be voluntary, adding that it will not have power to bargain on behalf of all of the site’s workers.

UAW officials said that VW would not formally recognize the union until a majority of the site’s employees joins Local 42. UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement that the union was “gratified to earn the confidence and support” of many Volkswagen workers earlier this year, referring to a close representation election at the site in which it gained 626 ‘Yes’ votes, but failed to overcome 712 ‘No’ vote.

He said UAW is keeping its promise at the time that it would give up on VW’s workers. UAW’s latest move underscores UAW’s seriousness in representing workers at the Chattanooga site, considered at the union’s best chance at organizing a foreign-owned facility in the US South.

Read the entire article UAW forms Local 42 to represent VW Chattanooga workers

Volkswagen Group plans to spend EUR2-billion ($2.7 billion) to build two more vehicle assembly sites in China, as part of a grander plan to invest EUR18.2 billion in China through 2018 to expand capacity and hike the number of produced models in the country. VW plans to build the assembly sites in the cities of Qingdao and Tianjin.

VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement that China has become the carmaker’s largest and most important market. He added that VW is engaging in a further substantial capacity expansion in China together with partner FAW Volkswagen to satisfy the demands of its customers in the country.

VW Group sold around 1.51 million vehicles in China in the first five months of 2014, good for an 18-percent surge. Winterkorn remarked in April that he expects the carmaker’s China sales to surge at least 10 percent from the figures in 2013, which means deliveries would top 3.5 million vehicles this year.

Read the entire article VW Group plans $2.7 billion investment to build 2 sites in China

Tesla Motors will build a plant in Europe once it sold 160,000 electric cars annually in the continent, chief executive Elon Musk told Automotive News Europe. Tesla will also launch a European r&d center in the United Kingdom either in 2015 or 2016, and will expand its Tilburg final assembly site in the Netherlands.

Tesla’s CEO said that his aspirations for Europe entail selling a comparable number of cars in Europe as in the United States. Musk hinted at sharing Tesla’s patents to urge other carmakers to embrace electric vehicles, even suggesting that an announcement is on the way.

After remarking that he was surprised at how few carmakers build “serious” electric vehicles during Tesla’s annual meeting earlier this month, he disclosed that he has plans to do “something fairly significant on that front,” which he said would be controversial with respect to Tesla’s patents.

Read the entire article Tesla to build European site if sales reach 160,000 units annually

The United Auto Workers could still unionize Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga facility in Tennessee car plant even if it failed to win support of workers and has withdrawn its appeal of the vote, labor law experts told Reuters. The union will have to wait a year before it can launch another official secret ballot election at the VW site after its workers voted 712-626 on February 12-14 not to join the UAW.

Labor law experts, however, remarked that instead of waiting for a year for another election, the UAW could organize a smaller, specialized unit of workers, collaborate with VW for a private election, or gain recognition via card check.

While organizing some workers – especially those in the union-friendly body shop -- would be atypical for the UAW, it could bear fruit if the union could prove that most employees in the shop wanted to be represented.

Read the entire article UAW has other options to unionize VW Chattanooga site

The United Auto Workers union suffered a narrow defeat in February over a unionization election at Volkswagen's Chattanooga site. It appealed its loss, saying that anti-union politicians have improperly interfered with the election. But just last week, the UAW retreated from the fight and withdrew its appeal.

The loss might be excruciating for the union, as it had seen Volkswagen as an ideal target for its unionization due to Germany's strong labor movement. However, the loss is not devastating and may be valuable for the UAW. A union statement said that the UAW is ready to put February's “tainted election in the rearview mirror.

It said that the union will instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga. By retreating from the VW election battle, UAW President Bob King could effectively convey the message that union is not just after memberships, but is also looking out for US workers.

Read the entire article VW appeal withdrawal seen as a good tactical move for the UAW

Volkswagen is laying off around 900 jobs at its Sao Bernardo do Campo site outside of Sao Paulo and its Sao Jose dos Pinhais plant in Parana as the carmaker faces slumping demand in Brazil. The layoffs will commence on May 5, according to Brazil's Metalworkers' Union.

Volkswagen's Brazilian unit said in a statement that they are using the flexibility tools set in the contracts between the company and unions to adjust to the markets actual demand.

In March, carmakers posted a 15-percent year-on-year drop in auto sales in Brazil to just 240,800 vehicles, according to Brazilian automakers association, Anfavea. Vehicle output also dropped 8 percent in the first three months of 2014 to 789,900 units.

Read the entire article Volkswagen is laying off 900 workers at two Brazilian sites

The United Auto Workers union is withdrawing its objection to the result of the February election it lost among workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee. The UAW had claimed undue outside political interference for its loss. UAW President Bob King said in a statement that the process of objecting to the National Labor Relations Board could take months if not years.

Volkswagen said in a statement that it welcomes UAW’s decision to withdraw the objection, saying that it provides an important gesture for “a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga."

The NLRB indicated it would accept the UAW's withdrawal, according to lawyer and UAW opponent Maury Nicely, who said the move clears the way for the board to certify the election.

Read the entire article UAW withdraws objection to the result of VW plant election

BMW is making progress with plans to build a second site in North America to meet growing demand for its offerings in the region. Harald Krueger, BMW's production chief, said in an interview in an internal publication, as obtained by Bloomberg News, remarked that they will decide on the matter in the next months, adding that there is still potential in North America.

People privy with the matter told Bloomberg News that the German luxury carmaker has been narrowing the location candidates, which includes at least two sites in Mexico. One of the sources said that BMW is mulling producing its 3 series at the new site.

BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer remarked in March that the carmaker will need an additional site in North America "at some point" as part of an expansion to repel challenges by Audi and Mercedes-Benz. BMW recently disclosed plans to invest $1 billion to expand its Spartanburg site in South Carolina to become its largest facility globally.

Read the entire article BMW to decide in next months over second site in North America

Volkswagen Group has filed an application to set up its first vehicle assembly site in Thailand as part of its plan to cut the lead of global rival Toyota Motor Corp. in Southeast Asia, people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. VW is looking to avail of a government program that offers tax exemptions for carmakers investing at least THB6.5 billion ($200 million) in local manufacturing, the sources said.

To avail of the incentives, a carmaker must have annual production reach at least 100,000 cars in the fourth year after commencing operations, with manufacturing starting by 2019. The program by Thailand's Ministry of Industry includes vehicle assembly, components and engine production. Carmakers had until March 31 to apply.

Juergen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler, told Bloomberg by phone that VW has been one of the carmakers trying to position itself globally. He noted that while current sales volumes in Southeast Asia are much smaller than in China or the United States, it is one of the regions where Japanese carmakers are ahead of VW, which means room for growth.

Read the entire article Volkswagen Group applies to set up first factory in Thailand

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has purchased Ford Motor Co.’s non-operational assembly site in Laguna, Philippines as part of its bid to increase sales in Southeast Asia. Mitsubishi targets to commence output in 2015 at the Laguna site, which will have initial production capacity of 50,000 units annual. It will be eventually expanded to 100,000 vehicles annually.

Mitsubishi’s Laguna site will build the Adventure compact crossover van and the L300 van. The site will be Mitsubishi’s second plant in the Philippines, after its Cainta factory that could produce 30,000 units annually. The carmaker’s expansion is aimed at underpinning Mitsubishi’s strength in Southeast Asia, which is a key pillar of its mid-term business plan.

Mitsubishi holds a 21-percent share in the Philippine auto market, making it the second-best selling brand in the country next to Toyota. According to Mitsubishi, the Philippines -- the second most-populous nation in Southeast Asia after Indonesia – carries a great potential because motorization is just about to take off.

Read the entire article Mitsubishi buys Ford’s Laguna site in the Philippines

Hyundai Motor Co. mulls building a fourth vehicle site in China to cater to growing demand in the country. Chairman Chung Mong-koo is set to sign an agreement Thursday with the government of Chongqing to review the possibility of locating a site in the city, Hyundai said in a statement. Hyundai is experiencing tougher rivalry in China as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp. have already managed to recover from Japanese product boycotts in 2012.

The South Korean carmaker is one of the companies seeking to produce and sell more vehicles in China. Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. remarked that for Hyundai to increase or at least keep its market share in China, a decision to build a new site in country “would have been inevitable” for the carmaker. He quipped that while China's vehicle market growth has slowed, it remains a rapidly growing market.

Once built, the fourth site would be able to build 300,000 cars annually, increasing Hyundai's output in China to up to 1.51 million vehicles, according to the statement. Hyundai operates three vehicle sites in Beijing while its commercial vehicle business is currently building a new plant in Sichuan.

Read the entire article Hyundai is considering building a fourth site in China

Anti-union workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site can defend the results of a mid-February union election that resulted to a UAW lost, The National Labor Relations Board said. The ruling provides anti-UAW groups – like the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum -- more leverage in their battle over unionizing the Chattanooga plant.

The ruling allows anti-UAW workers to participate and make their case, along with the UAW, during NLRB hearings over the dispute. The UAW has been trying to expand into non-union, foreign-owned auto assembly plants in the South, but has met opposition from senior Tennessee politicians like U.S. Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam as well as from outside interest groups.

The election at VW Chattanooga saw UAW losing, with workers voting 712-626 not to join the union. The UAW has asked the NLRB to dismiss the results of the election, claiming that outside parties influenced the process. While the carmaker stayed technically neutral during the UAW campaign, it provided the union access to its site on the days leading up to the election – an unusual move as employers typically oppose union campaigns.

Read the entire article VW Chattanooga’s anti-union workers may join NLRB hearings

The United Auto Workers has filed an appeal the United States government requesting it to reject the results of a recent election where workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee voted not to join the union. UAW cited what it called "interference by politicians and outside special interest groups," and said that the U.S. National Labor Relations Board would probe into the election and determine if there are grounds to reject the results and hold a new one.

Labor lawyers and academics, however, quipped that the UAW would find it difficult to make a case for setting aside the election, saying that labor law does not limit what politicians can say during a union election campaign, as long as they are telling their own views and not doing the bidding of management.

They noted that the law strictly limits the statements by management and the union itself. In a statement, the union said its appeal details "a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign conducted by politicians and outside organizations to deprive Volkswagen workers of their federally protected right to join a union."

Read the entire article UAW appeals against results of election at VW Chattanooga

Jaguar Land Rover is studying the possibility of having a manufacturing site in Brazil. In a statement, the carmaker said that a detailed feasibility study is underway to consider Brazil as a possible future location for a facility, adding that "no final decisions have been made." Jaguar Land Rover said it has ambitious plans to expand its manufacturing footprint and increase output in markets outside the United Kingdom, particularly in China and Brazil.

Local newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo reported that Land Rover was seeking to spend around GBP270 million ($431.72 million) in a facility to build a sports utility in Rio de Janeiro state. In October, the carmaker told Automotive News Europe that it is looking to get the services of managers having manufacturing experience in Brazil to help it assess the possibility of a site in the country.

According to the carmaker, any decision on the matter will be influenced by future tax rules concerning foreign auto manufacturers .JLR’s rivals in Europe like Audi and Mercedes-Benz have disclosed plans to produce cars in Brazil in the past months. In 2012, BMW confirmed plans to build a new plant in Brazil.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover is studying plan to open factory in Brazil

Daimler is planning to resume production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Brazil in 2016 and to construct a site in the country, a person privy with the matter told Bloomberg. The source said that the German carmaker is expected to announce its plans for Brazil soon. Daimler’s new site is located in the state of Sao Paulo and will build the mid-sized C class and GLA compact sports utility vehicle.

Daimler stopped building cars in Minas Gerais, Brazil two years ago and has converted the site to assemble commercial vehicles. Daimer chief executive Dieter Zetsche has vowed to reposition Daimler as the largest premium carmaker in the world in terms of sales by 2020, after giving up the crown to BMW brand in 2005 and ceding second place to Audi in 2011.

Luxury carmakers are setting their sights on Brazil to take advantage of the growing demand in the country. BMW and Audi have also disclosed plans for Brazil.

Read the entire article Daimler plans to resume Mercedes production in Brazil

BMW AG and Hyundai Motor Co. are mulling building new plants in Mexico, according to Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo. The minister told Bloomberg in an interview that the Mexican government has held discussions with BMW and Hyundai, adding that at least one of the carmakers may soon announce plans for a new assembly site in the country in 2014.

Any new site from BMW or Hyundai would give Mexico its first new vehicle factory since April 2012, when Audi AG unveiled plans for a $1.3 billion plant it commenced building this year to assemble the Q5. A BMW or Hyundai site is expected to further boost Mexico's auto industry, which has continued to expand this year despite a slowdown in the country’s economic growth.

Japanese carmakers Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. are currently building new sites in central Mexico, while US auto companies Ford Motor Co. and General Motors are spending more to increase their production.

Read the entire article BMW and Hyundai may build new factories in Mexico
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