Three of the largest automakers that have plants in Michigan are GM, Ford, and FCA which are considered the “Big Three” in the auto world.
Detroit and the surrounding areas have experienced successes and failures that have been on a parallel path with the number of automotive plants in the area, the residents of the area are reliant on these three automakers for a lifestyle and livelihood. Recently, that livelihood was interrupted by something that was completely out of the control of all three automakers which seems to be a bit out of the norm lately.
The Norm has been Negative Announcements
We’ve become accustomed to and expect more negative announcements in the automotive world as automakers look to the future and what it will bring. Both Ford and GM have dialed back the number of cars they built to increase the focus on SUVs and trucks while preparing for more electric models to be added to the mix. These two companies made their announcements in a sudden move while FCA has slowly been phasing out cars over the past several yearsto leave us with some brands that have only a few models left in the lineup.
While Negative, this Announcement Couldn’t be Avoided
Michigan is an area that uses a lot of natural gas as a heating and energy source. Consumer Energy experienced a fire at a compressor station recently and this fire caused a serious shortage of natural gas for the residents and businesses in the area. All three automakers were asked to cut back on usage of the fuel and all three complied in some form by interrupting their production for a short period of time. While this was an easy and quick response to this disaster, the effects this fire has on the residents in the area was more significant.
Extremely Cold Temperatures Ensued
While GM was able to shut down eleven plants for a couple of days and FCA and Ford both handled the crisis in a similar way, the fire that Consumer Energy experienced has an effect on 1.8 million customers in Michigan. These customers were urged to turn down their thermostats to as tolerable a level as possible to cut the usage of the natural gas to their homes. The idea was to protect those facilities with critical needs such as hospitals and nursing homes.
The Crisis Survived
Thankfully, halting business for a couple of days, and the support of the large community gave Consumer Energy the needed relief to be able to supply natural gas to facilities that required it for the survival of those in their location. The company was able to send a message out via a text alert to customers to help ensure they wouldn’t have to face extreme cold and not be able to supply natural gas where it was needed most. This crisis has been averted and things are now back to normal, but we can see the effects of what cold weather can have on the automotive industry, even for only a short period of time.
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