Vaughan, Ontario, Canada-based Martinrea, a diversified global Tier-1 supplier, engaged in the design, development and manufacturing of metal parts, assemblies and modules for automotive applications, has announced a reduction in force of its heavy metal stamping plant in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Approximately 192 union employees represented by the United Autoworkers (Local 2383) are scheduled for layoff while the plant transitions to a redesigned 2020 Ford Escape. According to a company spokesperson, "The layoffs are due to the new model not having as much vehicle content to support the labor from the former model year. We have secured long-term work on a great platform for hundreds of people supporting the future of the plant and operations in Shelbyville."
Unfortunately, for both metalworkers and consumers, new fuel efficiency standards often means that it is far cheaper and easier to reduce the weight of the vehicle by substituting lighter parts or just bracing areas of anticipated stress. What the vehicle manufacturers never mention is that, in spite of all the electronic safety features to minimize accidents, the crash resistance of a vehicle is impaired and the cost to replace integrated assemblies is greatly increased.
An example of this type of integration can be found in the Nissan Altima where the failure of a shift-lever lockout solenoid (to keep you from accidentally putting the car in reverse while moving or starting the vehicle without your foot on the brake) which would normally cost less than $20 to replace plus installation labor – now requires the replacement of the entire shifter mechanism for $600 plus labor.
Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?