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Warren issues overblown?

Warren Truck plant

A recent Detroit News article pointed to quality problems at Warren Truck, concerning 2013 Rams being built, and claimed in the headline, but not in the text, that these issues were the result of a labor dispute. The quality problems are reducing output but should not affect customers, as vehicles are being held at the plant for repairs rather than sent to dealerships.

Long and rotating shifts have often been related to quality and safety issues, due to fatigue. There is no evidence, though, that people are the cause for these problems; new vehicles usually have teething problems as production starts, which is one reason why manufacturers tend to slowly ramp up rather than jumping in at full speed.

Detroit News cited an hour, yesterday, when 16 of 58 pickups built passed final inspection. The cause of the defects was not mentioned, and any of a number of automated or manual processes, or bad parts supplied by another plant or vendor, could have been the issue. There has, to date, been no evidence that plant workers are deliberately or accidentally reducing quality; and often failures are due to equipment failures which affect vehicles one after another, rather than randomly.

The article’s title, “Warren labor dispute hurts Ram output,” makes the assumption that there is a deliberate attempt to cut quality or productivity by workers, due to an unsanctioned protest by around two dozen employees outside the plant. The only evidence in the article is a quote from one of these protesters, who said there had been some quality problems, and, “The morale is terrible, so it’s not going to get any better.” It appears as though the headline writer’s conclusion is coming either from their personal opinion, or from interpreting that comment in the worst possible light.

A Chrysler spokesman said that a thousand new workers are being trained now, and will start next week.

Additional: A source within Chrysler has inquired and was told that none of the issues involved can be attributed to labor disputes.


Fiat-Chrysler profits plunge in second quarter


Fiat S.p.A. announced its second-quarter results from Turin this morning for what could be the last time, if shareholders approve the Fiat-Chrysler merger on Friday. Worldwide shipments rose 2%, to 1.2 million, in the second quarter as revenues rose 5% to $31.2 billion NAFTA region shipments grew 10% while Asia Pacific (APAC) region jumped 42%....

Italian action could help Fiat-Chrysler


According to a report in Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, the government is considering offering tax incentives to boost car sales in the country. “We are thinking of using fiscal levers to encourage a renewal of our car stocks,” Transport Minister Mauritzio Lupi said today. “We are evaluating this project because that is what it means to have an industrial policy for this country.” “We have the oldest fleet in Europe,” Lupi went on to say....

Charger squads: still 5-speeds?


Allpar’s sources tell us that, despite the clear acceleration and fuel-economy benefits of the eight-speed automatic, the police are demanding that Dodge stick with the old Mercedes five-speed on Charger squad cars. In 2014, both police and civilian Chargers had the five-speed, though civilians got the eight-speed with the V6 — and in 2015, the eight-speed will be the only transmission in any civilian Dodge Charger, including the SRT....

Ford’s towing claims: brag or bluff?


In today’s print edition of Automotive News, Larry Vellequette wrote about one more facet of the ongoing battle for bragging rights among pickup manufacturers. This time, Ram is engaged in a tussle with Ford over top towing rights. Ford claims the championship over the Ram 3500, saying its 4X4 crew cab heavy-duty pickup can tow 31,200 pounds, 1,200 more than the Ram 3500 regular cab 4X2, which Chrysler maintains has “best-in-class” towing....

Categories: Chrysler, Ram and other trucks.

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