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USA TODAY: Reasons why your dealership can manage down cycle

USA TODAY: Reasons why your dealership can manage down cycle

After a long boom since the recession, the auto industry is sending mixed signals.

Earnings reports this week should shed more light on its future, with some automakers appearing to be healthy and others slowing down.

For instance, Ford Motor is idling four assembly plants for two weeks in Louisville, and taking one week off at each of two plants in Mexico and a week off in Kansas City, where workers produce the F-150, the highly profitable Clydesdale of Ford’s lineup. Yet at the same time, General Motors is running so much overtime at its Flint Truck plant, where the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500s are assembled, it has been hiring temporary workers to give the regular crew a two-day weekend occasionally.

“They’ve told us we’re scheduled for 13 Saturdays between January and Easter of next year,” said Tim Shoup, who works in paint repair at Flint Truck.

On Tuesday, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler report third-quarter earnings. Ford follows on Thursday.

The numbers will provide important clues as to whether the U.S. market is softening or merely settling into a healthy plateau. But there are compelling reasons to believe that automakers and suppliers can easily manage any potential down cycle much better than they have in the past.

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