Michigan Assembly Plant

John Batchelor, host of the John Batchelor radio show, and I reflected on the year and the future.

Cerberus Capital Management LP sold Chrysler Financial Corp. to Toronto-Dominion Bank for $6.3 billion.  Most interesting is that Toronto-Dominion Bank estimates the size of the auto-lending market in the U.S. to be about $700 billion and that the auto industry is projected to grow by $200 billion over the next three years. That’s almost 1/3 more than it is now in just three years.

The more interesting news is the scrappage rates. R. L. Polk says that In late 2001, the average number of months Americans held onto a new car or truck was 47.5 months. As of September 2009, it was over 60 months.

Ford’s Wayne Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) looks like many other assembly lines with compact sedans ready to come off the line. My how things have changed for that Michigan plant.

It wasn’t long ago that MAP was producing large Ford SUVs. $550 million later and 1.2 million square feet (think 22 football fields) and MAP will become Ford’s most flexible high-volume facility in Ford’s global operation.

Ford, Detroit Edison, and Xtreme Power are teaming up to establish one of Michigans largest solar-powered generation systems and electric vehicle charging stations. A new 500-kilowatt solar panel system will be installed outside to help generate renewable energy for the production of Ford’s all-new Focus and Focus Electric cars. Ten new electric vehicle charging stations will be installed and used to recharge the electric trucks that transport parts between adjacent facilities.

Ford Motor Companys retooled Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., will build three production versions of electrified vehicles “ battery electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles

The same plant will build the all-new global Ford Focus, in four-door and five-door versions, with sales to begin early next year. The Focus Electric battery electric vehicle goes into production late next year followed by a new hybrid and plug-in hybrid in late 2012.

And we talked about the GMC all-terrain HD concept. Why is this important?

A concept is just a concept, unless it gets lots of rave reviews then the car company will produce it. But look at which concepts are being shown. A production takes two-three years to go from concept to being sold in the car dealership. If you see a similar type of concept coming out in a year you can deduce what the auto companies are forecasting to be a hit in 3 years.