Automakers are increasing production after U.S. light-vehicle sales rose by at least 10 percent for two straight years for the first time since 1984 and grew at a faster rate than China, the world's biggest auto market, for the first time in at least 13 years. States that were hard-hit by the downtown, such as Michigan and Ohio, are among the biggest beneficiaries.
GM, Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Nissan Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. have either added U.S. production beyond the traditional two shifts or announced plans to do so at 15 plants, including six in Michigan, since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in the middle of 2009.
"There's no question we're running full-out," said Kim Rodriguez, a principal at KPMG's auto-consulting business in Detroit. "After China, the U.S. was the market where executives expect the most growth, which is staggering considering where we were."
Businesses from auto suppliers to trucking companies are hustling to add capacity and find new workers to adapt to the increased production, she said.
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