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Inside this issue
Assembly Line Enters New Era
Ford Board Seen Discussing Mulally's Plans This Week
New Volvo U.S. Boss Gets Dealers' Praise
At a Nissan Plant in Mississippi, a Battle to Shape the U.A.W.'s Future
Don't Act Like You're Not Impressed: 'Anchorman' Character Ron Burgundy to Promote Dodge Durango in Ads
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Assembly Line Enters New Era

100 years later, manufacturers continue to build on Ford's pioneering innovation

Today's moving automobile assembly lines are part human and part machine, capable of switching on the fly to different models of cars and trucks according to demand. Computer-controlled robots perform precise welds on chassis parts, while workers carry out tasks that machines alone cannot. The automotive assembly line has come a long way from Ford Motor Co.'s first moving-vehicle line, which lurched into motion 100 years ago today. In 1913, a winch and a rope moved Model Ts through the Highland Park Assembly Plant, where 140 factory workers performed specific tasks toward a completed car. The assembly line created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs, but made others obsolete. It has refined car and truck manufacturing, improved quality and safety of cars around the globe, and duplicated its efficiencies to other industries such as aircraft. Domestic automakers Ford, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have assembly lines across the globe, and are adding new lines and manufacturing plants at blazing speeds, most notably in Asia. The production lines are more flexible than ever.
Source: The Detroit News
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Ford Board Seen Discussing Mulally's Plans This Week

Ford Motor Co. directors gathering this week in Dearborn, Michigan, are likely to discuss future plans by Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who is being considered for the top job at Microsoft Corp., according to a person familiar with the board's thinking. The matter will probably be covered informally over dinner Oct. 9 or before presentations begin on Oct. 10, said the person, who asked not to be identified because board gatherings are private. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Mulally and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields -- the heir apparent to the top Ford job -- all have reiterated Ford's plan for no change through 2014 at the top of the second-largest U.S. automaker. Getting clear direction from the CEO will be crucial to the board's efforts to pull off a smooth switch to a post-Mulally era, whenever he leaves. Ford's history of transitions is bumpy.
Source: Bloomberg

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New Volvo U.S. Boss Gets Dealers' Praise

Many frustrated Volvo dealers say the brand is finally on a path to a U.S. sales rebound. Volvo has new and freshened products, a soon-to-be-named new global advertising agency and now a new leader for the United States. Volvo tapped the head of its U.S. finance arm, Tony Nicolosi, as interim CEO of Volvo Cars of North America last week in an effort to improve lackluster sales and marketing. Nicolosi, 53, replaces John Maloney, 52, who held the job since late 2011. Maloney is leaving the company. Also leaving Volvo Cars of North America is Greg Swetoha, executive vice president of sales operations. Volvo's three North American regional vice presidents, who used to report to Swetoha, will now report directly to Nicolosi. Many U.S. dealers describe the past few years as difficult because of a product drought and poor sales despite the growing economy. They say this move signals that better times are ahead.
Source: Automotive News
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At a Nissan Plant in Mississippi, a Battle to Shape the U.A.W.'s Future

The United Automobile Workers — desperate to make inroads in the anti-union South where Toyota, Volkswagen and other foreign automakers have assembly plants — has never tried a unionization drive quite like the one at the Nissan plant [in Canton, Miss.]. It has enlisted thousands of union members in Brazil to picket Nissan dealerships there as the company prepares to co-sponsor the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The union has sent a team of Mississippi ministers and workers to South Africa, where Nissan has an assembly plant, to try to embarrass the company with accusations that it violates workers' rights at the Canton plant. Over the next few weeks, a delegation of U.A.W. leaders and supporters will travel to Tokyo, and to Paris, where Renault, Nissan's partner, is based, to publicize a report by a Cornell University professor that asserts that Nissan's managers have illegally threatened to close the Mississippi plant if workers vote to unionize. These efforts are largely directed at Nissan's part-Brazilian, part-French chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, a renowned cost cutter who has said the company prefers communicating with its Mississippi workers without a union.
Source: The New York Times
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Don't Act Like You're Not Impressed: 'Anchorman' Character Ron Burgundy to Promote Dodge Durango in Ads

Dodge has turned to legendary 1970s TV anchorman Ron Burgundy — a.k.a. comedian Will Ferrell — to promote the Dodge Durango in TV ads that will run through the end of the year. “He is very much like Dodge. He is unapologetic; he is irreverent; he has a great deal of attitude,” said Olivier Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer. Francois is trying to market Dodge as a brand whose cars and SUVs have style and flair that stands out from competitors because of bold styling and features such as the Durango's large, red tail lamp with 192 LED lights. That, Francois said, made Ferrrell's Burgundy character perfect for Dodge.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Quotable
"If you look at the way [the assembly line] changed the cost structure of the industry and the way it changed society, we'd be wrong not to consider it the biggest innovation ever." 

   
-- Bruce Hettle, Ford's executive director of global vehicle manufacturing, commenting on the success of the assembly line, The Detroit News, Oct. 7
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