Some Q&A from the 2013 CAR seminars in Traverse City
Q. What is the future of the Jeep Grand Cherokee?
A. It will be replaced next spring by an all-new model as Chrysler introduces a nine- speed transmission and phases out the Liberty.
Q. How is Fiat responding to its global ties to Chrysler?
A. It is pursuing “best value” goals at plants in Detroit, Kokomo, Toluca, and Belvidere. This is a five-year program.
Q. How is Ford reacting to its former issues with its suppliers?
A. “At a supplier conference we just held in Dearborn, one hundred of our suppliers shared their ideas on the best methods for sustaining top quality off the assembly lines.
Q. What is Nissan doing in the U.S. to enhance its global status?
A. Nissans’ senior engineer, Roy Goudy, said “Nissan is pursuing supplier parks at its assembly plants, driver assistance programs, and progress in the area of vehicle connectivity.
Q. What were the vehicle sales forecasts among seminar speakers?
A. Dr. Sean McAlinden opened the seminars with a prediction of 15.3 million to 15.4 million units in the U.S. this year, striking a downbeat note. Other speakers raised their sights to 15.9 million-a long down cycle from the end of 2009’s great recession scars.
Q. How are your relations with the UAW?
A. “We are solid with the UAW at plants in Kokomo, Dundee, Toluca, Windsor and Belvidere.
Q. What is the contribution to the industry of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant?
A. It has 2600 employees building Passat cars and setting a tone for future auto assembly plants worldwide.