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Nissan Cuts -- Detroit Hires.


Detroit’s cutting back, Japan’s out hiring. That, it seems, is the conventional wisdom when it comes to the U.S. auto industry. But as is often the case, the conventional wisdom appears to be wrong.

True, there’ve been a wave of cutbacks at Big Three auto plants, spurred by declining sales and revenues, as well as the latest union contract. And, yes, Toyota’s been ramping up production at an assortment of plants, with another assembly line soon to come online. But that’s only part of the story.

Despite strong sales and earnings, Nissan Motor Co. trimmed the body count at its assembly plant in Smyrna, TN by 750 last year. Now comes word, in Wednesday’s Detroit News, that it’s going to cut more than 10 percent of the workforce at its Nissan Design America operations, through voluntary attrition. That might come as a surprise, considering NDA has been taking on an increased role in Nissan’s global product development process, and has been responsible for such products as the Nissan 350Z sports car, and Armada and Infiniti QX56 full-size SUVs.

But, “the process,” NDA Vice President Bruce Campbell told the paper, “from the idea to the showroom is becoming shorter,” and less manpower intensive. Translation: fewer people, more products in a shorter time. Don’t be surprised to see more cuts at Nissan, going forward.

On the other hand, as TheCarConnection.com reported just yesterday, we could see a “hiring blitz” by the Big Three, suggests a new study by the Center for Automotive Research, quoted in the Wednesday Detroit Free Press. Over the next four years, 36,000 hourly and salaried jobs will open up in Michigan alone, says the CAR report.

But not everyone is celebrating. Most of those jobs will open up to replace workers that have accepted buyouts from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. If that sounds like a strange sleight of hand, here’s the rest of the story: the new hires will be working for $14 an hour, or half of what the same jobs were paying previously, thanks to the concessions granted by the United Auto Workers Union, last summer.

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Comments (8)
  1. What's the big deal about Nissan letting people go at their design center?! I read on another site that it's a total of 12 people (gasp)!!! Whoopy friggin' do!
     
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  2. I don't think they'll be designing next gen concept Nissan from the states.
     
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  3. Geez... now that you can make $8.50 flipping burgers at many places and $11 an hour at some Starbucks, how is putting together world-class vehicles and working the assembly line worth only $14 an hour?

    This makes me sick.
     
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  4. Erick,
    It is simple- unskilled labor in the USA competes against unskilled labor in Mexico and China. Where do you think it is cheaper to assemble cars ?
    Keep buying foreign cars and products, only endorses and encourages more growth in those areas of the world. It also sends any profits made overseas only to be invested in their plants and infrastructure - not here in USA.
     
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  5. Erick,
    You're correct about buying vehicles that are made in the US, not necessarily by domestic OEMs however. People say that H, T, N, & Hyundi all ship their profits back to the motherland, but if you figure that profit is the smallest amount of the price composition, a US of A built car is the best purchase you can make. Keep in mind that GM, F, and especially Chrysler all have a large mfg presence in Canada and Mexico too. To help the US economy, you're better off buying a H, T, or N that's built in one of their US plants than you are buying a G, F, or C that's made abroad.
     
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  6. 1. I don't believe a new $14 worker will be allowed to work on an assembly line.
    2. Keep buying imports (even if they are made in the US or Canada) and betraying your country. Economy defines politics.
     
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  7. The new $14 workers will not be on the assembly line. This lower tier wage was agreed on only for non-core jobs, which includes things like janitorial jobs, so the line workers are still earning a higher wage.
     
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  8. Nissan should lay off its entire design staff and start fresh. What I see in their showrooms are a bunch of ugly duds. I would never consider a Nissan brand
     
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