It’s Friday and we all need a dose of positive news to start the weekend.  This is the fifth update to the series of posts I launched during the darkest days of the global recession, when there was literally no good supply chain news to share.  I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it easier to locate these positive tidbits which must be a sign that the bottom has come.

This week’s theme is focused on some positive in the midst of far negative news concerning U.S. automotive and discrete manufacturing industries.

The State of Indiana which was especially hard hit by the global recession as a result of its dependence on discrete and recreational vehicle manufacturing, announced a series of encouraging new developments.  They include a partnership among Electric Motors Corporation and Gulf Stream Coach to build a light duty electric powered pick-up truck, with the potential to create 1200 jobs by 2012.  Also, Autocar LLC announced a three year supplier deal with Balqon Corporation to develop and market zero emission heavy duty electric vehicles for on-road, short-haul applications.

VC mogul and Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr, along with Ray Lane facilitated an investment deal that helped a group of Louisiana business people purchase a former General Motors facility in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana with the intent to turn the plant into an electric car factory. The deal is expected to add 1400 jobs.

General Motors announced a decision to locate a new small car plant at its existing facility in Orion Township, Michigan.  The decision was no doubt influenced by political and union pressures to invest in a U.S. small vehicle plant as opposed to importing these vehicles. The Orion plant was selected because of the high unemployment rate in the state of Michigan, as well as the plant’s existing capabilities to build smaller automobiles. GM was evaluating three other alternative U.S. plants prior to this decision.

Finally, in another related story, GM and joint Chinese venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Group announced that it delivered its two millionth Buick sold in China.  “It took eight years for Shanghai GM to sell its first one million Buicks, but only three years to sell its second one million units” stated Kevin Whale, President of GM China.  GM sales in China have grown nearly 34% from the same period a year ago, surpassing 670,00o units.  This is an obvious bright spot for GM and its Shanghai Automotive. The Buick brand has special significance in China. It first arrived in 1912 and became the chosen vehicle for China’s emperors and political leaders.

If you have other significant positive stories that you feel are worth a mention, send them along to bferrari at blog1 dot com.

Bob Ferrari