Mercedes-Benz Went to Absurd Lengths to Stay away from the ‘Chicken Tax’

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2016

We have, maybe unfairly, categorized German automakers as far more calculating and effective than their American counterparts. While there is undoubtedly a case to be created for this good stereotyping, there are also a lot of examples calling this perceived Germanic precision into question. One such instance is the absolutely ridiculous lengths Mercedes-Benz have been going to avoid the chicken tax on its imported vans.

To keep away from the truck-primarily based tariff, Mercedes has spent the last decade manufacturing complete vans in Germany only to tear them apart and ship them to South Carolina. American workers could then reassemble the vans in a small kit assembly constructing, making them technically domestically constructed and saving the firm the 25 percent import tax.

“I truly couldn’t think it,” Volker Mornhinweg, global head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, told Automotive News. “To construct up and tear down, that is genuinely anything that hurts me, personally. And the charges!” he stated, shaking his head at the memory.

The discovery was made in 2010 when Mornhinweg became head of van production. Given that that time, he has steadily been establishing a less convoluted way to get German product into the United States.

Mercedes-Benz Vans intends to remove the wonky supply line starting with the next generation of the Sprinter. The new vans will be be assembled more-typically in South Carolina using a new production and painting system Benz has put collectively for half a billion dollars.

“Finally, we have the opportunity to build the Sprinter from scratch here in the United States, from this new manufacturing facility,” Mercedes-Benz Vans CEO Michael Balke said.

Transforming the MB van factory from a tiny assembly workshop to a full-scale manufacturing plant is no measly feat. The enlarged facility is anticipated to generate more than 1,300 new jobs and should commence accepting applications for these positions by the middle of next year.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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BREAKING: GM Canada, Unifor Reach Tentative Deal, Stay away from Strike Oshawa Plant Saved

Jerry Dias, Unifor President, Image: OFL Communications Department (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Soon after contract negotiations went correct down to the midnight deadline, GM Canada and autoworkers union Unifor reached a tentative deal final night, averting a looming strike at Canadian GM plants.

Bargaining teams from the automaker and Unifor, which represents Detroit 3 workers in Canada, reached what union boss Jerry Dias called “a framework for a tentative agreement.” Not only does the deal avert a shutdown at 3 Ontario GM facilities, it saves the threatened century-old Oshawa assembly plant.

No jobs will be lost, and a new (but unnamed) product will go into production in Oshawa.

“Did we accomplish our objective? I would say to you that the answer is yes,” mentioned Dias, adding that the agreement was unanimously supported by both sides.

The objective of this round of contract talks was to safe investment and new solution from all three automakers. With GM as its target firm, Unifor sought the salvation of the Oshawa plant and improved solution for its St. Catharines engine and transmission plant.

It seems that GM Canada handed over each. Specifics are scarce, as Dias wanted to flesh out the finer points with his members, but he did say that Oshawa will turn out to be the very first North American GM assembly plant capable of creating both vehicles and trucks. A new product is on the way, he added.

In a statement, GM Canada mentioned the agreement “will enable important new item, technologies and method investments at GM’s Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock facilities, putting these operations at the forefront of sophisticated manufacturing flexibility, innovation and environmental sustainability.”

No jobs will be lost at Oshawa, and short-term workers at all GM Canada facilities — about 700 in all — will be converted to complete time. Current members didn’t concede a issue to reach the deal, Dias mentioned. The tentative deal, which must nevertheless be ratified by all members, contains pay increases for employees, seemingly across the board.

“This agreement gives increases for our members, it gives — most importantly — job safety in an market that has been lacking safety for years,” mentioned Dias, adding that there was nevertheless “some things” that each bargaining committees required to tie down.

In a reversal of recent trends, the St. Catharines plant will see the addition of product as soon as allocated to Mexico.

What solution will come to Oshawa? Presently, the only solution leaving the plant is the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS. Overflow Chevrolet Equinox production from GM’s CAMI plant is handled by Oshawa’s Consolidated Line, but that will end as the line is scrapped and Chevrolet downsizes the model.

Dias’ phrasing — “cars and trucks” — leaves the door open for a truck, SUV or crossover model to join the plant. After the Consolidated Line is mothballed in 2017, the plant’s Flex Line will continue operations till the solution switchover is completed. Oshawa lost its GM truck plant in 2009.

Unifor members at all 3 GM Canada facilities will meet to ratify the agreement this Sunday. As for its bargaining dates with Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Dias said the nature of the GM agreement “is going to help us in some respects and trigger grief in other situations.”

[Image: OFL Communications Division (Flickr) [CC BY two.], through Wikimedia Commons]

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Stay On The Road Longer With These Exceptional Repair Suggestions

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Lengthy Chram