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Auto blogSat, 20 Jul 2013 10:58:00 EST
Ford has come under fire from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations regarding asbestos exposure in a company metal stamping plant in Buffalo, NY. OSHA has cited Ford for eight violations in total, according to an Automotive News report, and faces fines of up to $41,800. 537 workers are employed at the stamping facility.
The violations include a pipefitter at the facility being exposed to asbestos-containing material while working on a steam line, other workers exposed to the material without respiratory protection and work areas that were not designed to limited the number of workers in contact with asbestos. Further, areas in which asbestos was present were not properly restricted, and levels of asbestos in the air were not monitored.
According to an unnamed Ford spokesperson in the AN report, the company feels that the OSHA citation is erroneous saying, "We have fully cooperated with the local OSHA officials and we don't believe the citations are warranted." Ford also maintains that it will work with the authorities to resolve the issue.
While monthly sales figures might be an easy way of tracking the progression of the auto industry and individual automakers, looking at market share might be more indicative of how each company is actually standing up against its competitors. For the Detroit Three automakers, they have collectively lost almost 30 percent of the market over the last 20 years, but now, for the first time since 1993, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have each posted market share gains at the same time.
According to Automotive News, Ford's share increased the most by 0.7 percent, GM was up 0.5 percent and Chrysler rose marginally by 0.2 percent, giving the Detroit automakers a total market share of 45.6 percent. As for the Japan's Big Three, the article reports that Toyota is up by 0.7 percent, Nissan is down the same amount and Honda has seen "little change."
In the next decade, the auto industry will see an explosion in its use of aluminum to cut weight and increase fuel economy, according to a study from market analysts Ducker Worldwide cited by The Detroit News. We are already seeing the lightweight metal show up extensively in luxury models from Europe, but with the impending launch of aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150 (pictured above), North America is using it even more, as well. The report predicts 70 percent of US pickups to have aluminum bodies by 2025.
It won't just be pickups that see the benefit, though. The average amount of aluminum in US vehicles is forecasted by the study to grow from an average of 350 pounds in 2013 to about 550 pounds by 2025. The most common parts to use it will be hoods, doors and - to some extent - roofs, as well.
The massive increase in pickups' aluminum content hardly seems surprising. The F-150 is predicted to use so much that it might cause a short-term shortage, according to one earlier report. At the same time General Motors is heavily rumored to be negotiating with suppliers for the next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Ram is the last holdout of the Big Three, but the study predicts that not to last.