Trade Sep-Oct Interactive - page 4

Let’s Go German: America’s
Car-workers’ Union Seeks a
Foot in the Door at VW’s plant
In 1979 the United Auto Workers
(UAW) had more than 1.5m members,
and nine of the country’s ten bestsell-
ing cars were American brands. The
Toyota Corolla came eighth: the first
time a foreign-branded car had
cracked the top ten. Today the UAW’s
membership is around 400,000, and
not all of those are car workers: over
the years the union has sought
recruits on farms, in casinos and at
universities. And of the top ten
bestselling cars in America last year,
seven were foreign-badged. Ameri-
cans are not only buying foreign-
badged cars, they are also making
them: seven of America’s 15 most
productive assembly plants last year
were foreign-owned. Although the
UAW has had some success at
unionising foreign-owned partsmak-
ers – such as Faurecia and ZF, a
French and a German company
which supply the Mercedes factory in
Alabama – it has so far failed to
organise workers at the carmakers
themselves. Its attempts in recent
years to get into Nissan’s plants in
Tennessee and Mississippi have failed.
Now it has set its sights on German
carmakers: Mercedes and, especially,
Volkswagen.
German Outdoor Brand
Jack Wolfskin enters South
American Market
Representatives of German outdoor
brand Jack Wolfskin, recently signed
a distribution agreement with
Heightsport, which operates across
five South American countries:
Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and
Chile. A few days ago, Heightsport’s
first Jack Wolfskin store opened in
Pucón, Chile. Existing stores will be
equipped with shop-in-shop systems
and franchised single-brand stores.
Heightsport runs various retail
operations on the continent, includ-
ing 17 of its own outdoor stores in
Ecuador alone. The opening of the
second “Paw-branded” shop is
scheduled for October in Santiago de
Chile.
Americas Mills Weigh
on ThyssenKrupp
Pressure is growing on ThyssenKrupp
to shore up its strained balance sheet
by raising new capital as talks on
selling its loss-making steel mills in
the Americas drag on. Once a symbol
of German industrial prowess, the
company has been trying for more
than a year to offload the mills in
Brazil and the US state of Alabama,
together known as Steel Americas.
With quarterly results due, no
agreement appears in sight despite its
aim for a deal by the end of Septem-
ber 2013. The longer talks last, the
more the benefit of any proceeds is
eaten up by losses at Steel Americas.
Bayer Planning to
Maintain its Presence
in Pittsburgh Region
Since Germany's Bayer announced its
top U.S. executive would be based in
New Jersey for the first time, the
company's Robinson, PA campus
appears to be shifting from the
conglomerate's North American
headquarters to simply the North
American headquarters for the Bayer
MaterialScience unit. Bayer said it is
still evaluating how many corporate
headquarters jobs may eventually
wind up in New Jersey and whether
the U.S. headquarters could officially
move there. According to Bayer, it is
aiming for a three-pronged approach:
Bayer MaterialScience in Pittsburgh,
Bayer HealthCare in New Jersey and
Bayer CropScience in North Carolina.
The true headquarters for Bayer is in
Leverkusen, Germany.
Campbell in Negotiations to
Sell European Businesses
Campbell Soup says it's in final
negotiations to sell its European
business to private equity firm CVC
Capital Partners for an undisclosed
sum, the latest move by CEO Denise
Morrison to reshape the company. The
proposed sale includes the company's
soups, sauces and other products that
are sold under a variety of names in
Belgium, Finland, France, Germany
and Sweden. The expected sale is the
latest structural change for the soup
maker since Morrison took over two
years ago. Morrison has vowed to
right the company's struggling
canned soup business in the U.S., and
has been moving to diversify with the
type of fresher products that are
growing in popularity.
Kayser Automotive Systems
Announces New Manufactur-
ing Operation in Kentucky
Kurt-Heinz Borth, CEO of Kayser
Automotive Systems GmbH, and
Governor Steve Beshear announced
company plans to establish a
manufacturing facility in Fulton,
Kentucky, which will be the com-
pany’s first plant in the United
States. The company expects to
create 120 jobs and invest more than
$17.5 million in the project. At eight
international production sites with
nearly 1,200 employees and revenues
of $252 million, Kayser Automotive
Systems produces high-quality
modules and ready-to-install systems
for automotive original equipment
manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers in
America, Asia and Europa.
T R A N S A T L A N T I C T I C K E R
German American Trade Sep/Oct 2013
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