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Manufacturing's Winner and Loser of the Week

This week has been full of news from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, from amazing new cars to some questionable concepts. However, this week’s winners — Ford and Volkswagen — may have stolen the show. On the other end of the stick, oil producers are faced with even more losses as oil prices continue to tumble, earning them the title of ‘Manufacturing's Loser of the Week.’

This week has been full of news from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, from amazing new cars to some questionable concepts. However, this week’s winners — Ford and Volkswagen — may have stolen the show.

On the other end of the stick, oil producers are faced with even more losses as oil prices continue to tumble, earning them the title of ‘Manufacturing's Loser of the Week.’

Winners

This week the title of ‘Manufacturing's Winner of the Week’ is split between Ford and Volkswagen. They both receiving the winning nod this week in the wake of their victories at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Ford’s new aluminum bodied F-150 took home the award of North American Truck of the Year, while Volkswagen took home the Car of the Year for the Volkswagen Golf.

When speaking about the honor, Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs said "Clearly the materials have a lot to do with the story of the truck," and that Ford is "most proud" of what the new material does for the vehicle as a whole.

And it does a lot. The aluminum body reduces the overall weight of the truck by 700 pounds in comparison to last year’s model. As a result of the trucks lighter build, it has better fuel economy and also allows for quicker acceleration and better handling.

Volkswagen officials were quite pleased with their victory over the Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis. The AP reports even reports that the Volkswagen were surprised by the victory.

“We didn’t expect this award,” said Michael Horn, VW’s CEO in the United States. But regardless, "its confirmation of the way we've chosen to go forth. It's a starting point to get back on track here in U.S." adds Horn.

Loser

Like the winning title this week, the loser of the week is for more than one person. This week the ‘Manufacturing's Loser of the Week’ nod goes to oil producers. Oil prices have been plummeting in the past months and cutting into their profits.

In a USA TODAY interview, Saudi Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal predicted that the industry would not ever see $100-a-barrel of oil again. He explains that there is an oversupply as nations such as Iraq, Libya and the U.S. continue to produce oil, while the demand remains weak. “There’s less demand, and there’s oversupply. And both are recipes for a crash in oil. And that’s what happened. It’s a no-brainer,” says the Prince.

While decreasing oil prices are hurting producers, most consumers aren’t complaining as gas prices fall, however, consumers should be wary. They don’t want to find themselves in the losing spot sometime down the line. President Obama warns that this drop in prices isn’t forever:

“You're saving about a buck-ten a gallon at the pump over this time last year. Although I keep on reminding folks, gas prices, they go up and they come down and then they go up. So I just want everybody to know that you should enjoy this. Take the money you're saving, pay off the credit card or go get a new appliance, or buy a fuel-efficient car — so that when prices go back up, you're still well-positioned." 

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