WBEZ | Navistar http://www.wbez.org/tags/navistar Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Navistar asks for buyouts, GM gets sued and Olympic spirit prompts athletic gear purchases http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/navistar-asks-buyouts-gm-gets-sued-and-olympic-spirit-prompts-athletic-gear <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Factory-NavistarSpringfield.jpg" style="height: 371px; width: 620px; " title="The Navistar factory in Springfield, IL. (WBEZ/Niala Boodhoo)" /></div><p><a href="http://www.navistar.com">Navistar</a>, a local company that has received millions of dollars in state incentives to retain jobs, has reached out to 6,300 employees to see if they would like to take voluntary buyouts, the company said Monday. <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/02/us-navistar-sec-idUSBRE8711FY20120802">Last week</a>, the company pulled its prior earnings forecast, announced a new Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its accounting and disclosure practices and said it needs to take action to return to profitability.</p><p>Navistar - formerly International Harvester - has had <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-navistar-shares-rise-as-epa-review-moves-forward-20120806,0,5236453.story">trouble</a> with its engine technology complying with federal emissions regulations. The company said it will provide a full-year forecast when it provides its third quarter results next month.</p><p>&quot;The company&rsquo;s results for the first half of 2012 are not where they need to be,&quot; Navistar spokeswoman Karen Denning said in an email.&nbsp;&quot;The company must return to profitability and is taking action to control spending across the company.&quot;</p><p>She added that cost reductions could be achieved in &quot;many ways&quot; and that layoffs were the &quot;last option&quot;.</p><p>Navistar said about 3,400 of its employees eligible for the buyouts are in Chicago. &nbsp;</p><p>In other news, General Motors says a $3 billion lawsuit that was filed against the auto maker in&nbsp;United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan is &quot;baseless&quot;. The Dutch sports car maker Spyker is suing GM because of its failed subsidiary Saab, say it <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/business/global/spyker-sues-gm-over-failed-saab-deal.html">deliberately bankrupted the company</a> and prevented a deal with a Chinese investor. Spyker bought Saab from General Motors in 2010 for $74 million. Now <a href="http://www.spykercars.nl/?pag=50&amp;jaar=&amp;nid=692">it&#39;s saying</a> GM deliberately blocked a deal that would have saved Saab because <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/08/06/spyker-sues-gm-over-saab-bankruptcy/">it didn&#39;t want that technology in China</a>.</p><p>And finally: does watching Olympic athletes make you want to run out and buy athletic gear? NPD Group, a big consumer research company, thinks it will. <a href="http://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/pressreleases/pr_120806">Its research</a> shows that during big sporting events - like the NBA All Star game - basketball footwear sales increase. Let&#39;s see how Team USA does and if it helps even more basketball shoe sales. Back to school should help, too.</p></p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 08:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/navistar-asks-buyouts-gm-gets-sued-and-olympic-spirit-prompts-athletic-gear Navistar layoffs add to doubts about incentives http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/AP05060901633.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-23/Navistar_truck_SCALED.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 308px; height: 207px;" title="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)">Sears Holdings Corp. and Chicago’s financial exchanges have quit threatening to pull up stakes now that Illinois has enacted tax breaks for them. But it remains unclear whether state incentives to big companies are wise uses of economic-development resources. A personnel shift by Lisle-based Navistar International Corp. will add fresh doubt.</p><p>WBEZ has learned that some new jobs Navistar promised under an Illinois incentive agreement are coming to the state at the expense of unionized workers in Indiana.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Navistar incentives last year after the company threatened to pack up its headquarters in west suburban Warrenville and leave the state. The deal committed Illinois to a $64.7 million bundle of tax credits and job-training subsidies for the company. It committed Navistar to moving the headquarters to Lisle, a couple miles east, and to adding 400 full-time Illinois employees.</p><p>Navistar’s first report to the state about the jobs isn’t due until next year, so it’s hard to tell how many positions the company has created thus far. Employees confirm that dozens of new engineers and designers are working at the Lisle facility.</p><p>Navistar is creating those jobs as it phases out its Truck Development and Technology Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, just three hours southeast of Chicago. The latest Fort Wayne cuts came December 2, when the company laid off 130 employees, mostly engineers and designers who are United Auto Workers members. Before the layoff, some of the Fort Wayne workers had to help train their Lisle replacements.</p><p>Navistar has “rewritten the job descriptions so the people that used to do the work here — the union folks — don’t qualify anymore on paper,” said Craig Randolph, a design engineer the company laid off after 15 years at the Fort Wayne center. “So they’re eliminating the high-seniority, older employees like myself and replacing them with nonunion college kids — guys fresh out of school. And the taxpayers in Illinois are subsidizing the whole thing.”</p><p>Asked for a response, Navistar spokeswoman Karen Denning called it unusual for engineers to have union representation in the first place, a claim disputed by auto industry experts. Denning also sent a statement that said the company’s decision to shift the Fort Wayne jobs to Lisle was “based solely on our desire to compete in the global economy.” The statement added that Navistar has allowed many Fort Wayne employees to relocate to the Chicago area and stay with the company.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity sent a statement that doesn’t directly address whether the Navistar incentives have anything to do with the Fort Wayne layoffs. The statement says the state’s assistance to companies like Navistar over the last decade has “created and retained tens of thousands of jobs,” including unionized positions.</p><p>There’s not much proof to back up such claims. Scholars who study the effects of corporate incentives point out that companies decide where to operate based on proximity to suppliers, markets, transportation and so on. Another factor is whether workers are bargaining collectively. Just this summer, Navistar announced it was closing a unionized plant in Chatham, Ontario. The company has moved that work to nonunion facilities in Texas and Mexico.</p><p>“I don’t think that the [Illinois] incentives are causing Navistar to shift around its workforce,” said Rachel Weber, an associate professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “But they do send a message that the public sector and taxpayers are validating these kinds of activities. And, if you asked a lot of taxpayers in the state of Illinois whether they’d want to support these kinds of activities, I don’t think they’d be so happy about it.”</p><p>Weber pointed out that the economies of Illinois and Indiana intertwine closely and said it would help both states to quit poaching jobs from each other. Eliminating state incentives for corporations, she added, would free up resources for everything from workforce readiness to small-business incubation.</p><p>The union, for its part, didn’t return calls about the Fort Wayne layoffs and isn’t creating a public fuss about them. That raises questions about the role of UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, who serves on Navistar’s board of directors under a decades-old agreement that reserved the seat for the union. Because Williams draws salaries from both the UAW and Navistar, and because he once directed a UAW region that includes Illinois but not Indiana, some of the union’s Fort Wayne members accuse him of hanging them out to dry.</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives New fuel standards for trucks make waves at Illinois-based Navistar http://www.wbez.org/story/new-fuel-standards-trucks-make-waves-illinois-based-navistar-90326 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-09/navistar_ap_namyhuh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The White House has announced <a href="http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy">new fuel standards</a> for trucks and buses.&nbsp;They'll require trucks built between 2014 and 2018 to drastically reduce fuel consumption.</p><p>The&nbsp;new standards mean big changes for companies like Illinois-based truck manufacturer Navistar International Corporation, said&nbsp;Basili Alukos, an equity analyst with Morningstar.</p><p>According to Alukos, trucks have mostly removed their dangerous emissions.&nbsp;Now, 18-wheelers at Navistar will get their turn at better gas mileage.</p><p>"They typically do about a 150,000 miles a year and they get roughly six miles a gallon," said Alukos. "So I mean, it's ridiculous. If your car got that it'd basically make you broke."</p><p>Certain big-rigs will be required to cut fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20 percent by 2018. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transporation, this would save four gallons of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.</p><p>Navistar has <a href="http://www.navistar.com/Navistar/News/Newsroom">not yet announced</a> what changes they'll be making to their new trucks.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 09 Aug 2011 19:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-fuel-standards-trucks-make-waves-illinois-based-navistar-90326