U.S., North American vehicle production rise; work shifts added

Jun 12, 2012

Just as U.S. automakers add more jobs and third work shifts, production is expected, certainly hoped, to meet an increasing demand by consumers. And while demand is on the rise for new vehicles, aftermarket installers, likewise, look for rising sales.

Hyundai Motor America plans to add a third shift in September at its Montgomery, Ala., assembly plant, adding 877 jobs. Hyundai’s relative, Kia, also has added third shifts.

Ford, too, announced it also will add third shifts by September in order to meet demand. The automaker added a third shift in May at its Focus assembly plant in Wayne, Mich. The company added a third shift at its Chicago assembly plant where the Taurus, Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKS, Police Interceptor and Explorer are built. The automaker’s Kansas City assembly facility got a second shift to build the F-150 truck.

By September, the automaker will add a third shift at Louisville, Ky., where it builds the new Escape.

“Within the next two quarters,”, “we’ll be adding all the third shifts and the extra production so by the end of the year we’ll be able to produce the amount of vehicles that people want,” Ford CEO Alan Mulally said.

As well, Nissan and GM are going the third-shift route to remain competitive and meet demand.  Noted Nick Bunkley at Workforce, “GM has more assembly plants in North America running overnight than the entire auto industry did at any point from 2000 through 2009.

“’They’re going to three shifts at just about every plant now,’ says George Ruiz, president of United Auto Workers Local 31 in Kansas City, Kan. GM’s 25-year-old plant there, which never ran on more than two shifts until January 2010, has had three ever since.”

As reported by Automotive News’ Debi Domby, North American car and truck production in May rose 28% over May 2011. The record string for year-over-year increases now stands at 31 straight months. U.S. car output rose 59%, while moving up 26% in Canada, but Mexican production fell 13%. U.S. Truck production moved up 21%; in Canada it jumped 57%, and rose 23% in Mexico.