Automotive Industry Needs Young Talent
The automaker executives say Detroit’s Big Three needs to hire young, innovative talent for a prosperous future.
Tim Leuliette, CEO of Visteon, the auto supplier spun off by Ford, explained that its U.S. hourly workers were paid $24 per hour back in the 1990s and paid practically nothing for their health care. Today those workers doing the same jobs make just $17 per hour and pay over $200 or more a month toward their health care.
“These people went from the middle class to the working poor,” he said, in order to make the company globally competitive. “But it came at a cost,” he added.
What Leuliette was saying was, that it’s important for automotive companies to create a path for all workers to achieve a middle-class life, not just the engineers and finance people.
Leuliette said the industry also needs to market the automobile as “the largest mobile device a consumer has” — a high-tech, cutting-edge product that offers the potential of careers full of innovation and potential growth.
While more luxurious and high-tech programs and additions used to be left to more luxurious cars like Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Cadillac, programs like Sync are now being put into the Ford Focus.
According Leuliette, it makes sense. “Starting from the bottom with vehicles that young people can afford, because they are the early adopters of technology,” he said.
There’s an opportunity now to rekindle excitement that’s been lacking among both investors and young talent for the auto industry.
Though, If that fails, there’s no guarantee that the US automakers like Ford, General Motors and Chrysler can continue to grow, or that foreign automakers will keep their engineering and technical centers here.
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