Craftsman manufacturing leaves Texas, Ford’s next-gen electric truck, and more
Craftsman shutters Fort Worth, Texas, facility
Intake: Craftsman, the toolmaker owned by Stanley Black & Decker, is closing its Fort Worth, Texas, manufacturing facility along with transferring its Cheraw, South Carolina, operations to its facilities in Jackson and Gallatin, Tennessee. This move will impact 175 employees at the Texas facility and 182 employees in South Carolina and add 80 jobs in Tennessee. In a press release regarding the move, Stanley Black & Decker stated this move was “designed to deliver $2 billion of cost savings and [is] reflective of current economic conditions which highlighted needed changes in Stanley Black & Decker’s production and distribution network.”
Exhaust: Interestingly, the Fort Worth facility was one of the more recent, large investments for the brand, who only opened it in late 2022. As someone who has a box filled with Craftsman tools, this is disappointing to watch, but there are still places that will honor the lifetime warranty. Whether or not I want to exchange my Craftsman tools for newer ones is the real question. Investors feel similarly; Stanley Black & Decker’s stock is at a five-year low, despite the fact that many Craftsman still operates 40 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. — Kyle Smith
Our Fort Worth plant is getting ready to work. We can’t wait to make more tools right here in America.
Image 1: furnaces for heat treating tools. Image 2: Sockets rinsed and dried, ready for tool sets. #MadeInUSA pic.twitter.com/yuTKyMgwSy
— CRAFTSMAN Tools (@craftsman) March 12, 2021
Ford’s next-gen electric pickup takes shape
Intake: Ford announced on Friday that its next-generation electric pickup would take shape at the company’s massive Tennessee-based BlueOval City manufacturing plant, according to Automotive News. The truck is currently codenamed “Project T3,” which CEO Jim Farley said is short for “trust the truck,” the mantra that engineers and designers have used while developing it. Farley said that Project T3 will not be another F-150 Lightning, but rather a clean-sheet design and engineering effort. When it comes online in 2025, BlueOval City is expected to be able to produce 500,000 units each year.
Exhaust: The F-150 Lighting was Ford’s conservative first effort at an all-electric pickup, carrying styling and proportions that were virtually identical to its engine-powered F-150 stalwart. Expect Project T3 to push the envelope in terms of visuals and tech, akin to Chevy’s Silverado EV. — Nathan Petroelje
Report: Top Gear‘s future in doubt after host quits
Intake: The BBC put a stop to production on the latest season of the world’s most popular car show after host Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff was hurt during filming. The former England cricket star suffered broken ribs and facial injuries in a stunt at the show’s test track in December. Now, The Times is reporting that Flintoff won’t be returning to Top Gear at all, quoting a source as saying, “Freddie has been seriously emotionally and physically affected by the crash. He is a daredevil, that’s what he does, and he doesn’t feel like he is able to continue to play that role on the show.” An official statement from the BBC reads, “We have sincerely apologized to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery.”
Exhaust: The show went on after previous host Richard Hammond crashed a dragster at nearly 300 mph, putting him into a coma back in 2006, and Flintoff has also suffered several mishaps since taking the wheel, but this would be the first time one of its leads has actually quit over safety concerns. Could this finally be the end for Top Gear? — Nik Berg
Rising Brazilian actor steps into Senna spotlight role
Intake: Netflix has announced the actor set to play the title role in its upcoming miniseries Senna. The six-episode show, focused on the life of deceased Brazilian Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, will star Brazilian actor Gabriel Leone. Leone called the role “a huge responsibility” and “a great honor.” The series, which was announced in 2020, will be produced by filmmakers from Senna’s home country and with the cooperation of his family.
Exhaust: Nearly 30 years after his tragic death in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Senna remains one of Formula 1’s greatest and most compelling drivers. He was a fiery and divisive competitor, and his career and life have always seemed tailor-made for dramatic portrayal. It’s a good sign that Brazilians are involved—he remains a national hero in that country—and an even better one that the family is on board. We can’t wait. — Sam Smith
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Why would you question buying more Craftsman tools? They’re not moving offshore. They will still be made in America. Or did I miss something?
You are missing something. Sears offshored Craftsman some years ago. Then, they sold it to SBD who vowed to bring back manufacturing stateside. The plan was to start making them here in the Ft. Worth plant, but obviously that plan is dead.
Personally, I wish they’d let the Craftsman brand die. There are much better options these days.
I was not aware Craftsman made anything in the USA. My most recent stuff from them was not made in America.
Sorry to hear about Flintoff and Top Gear as he was a likeable guy. Top Gear has not been the same since Clarkson, May and Hammond left but with Chris Harris it has mentioned to keep going fairly well.
I am a proud owner and user of Craftsman wrenches, some of them being over 50 years old and still looking new. It helps that I wipe them off when I’m done, but they are nevertheless rugged and useful. Happy to read that they still produce products in the USA.
I’m also a big fan of F1 since the 1970s. Netflix hit a home run with its “Drive to Survive” series on the stories behind the racing; I hope that they get Ayrton Senna’s bio series right as well.
As to the wrenches and socket sets of Craftsman, I found them to be excellent tools (when coupled with their warranty) and have used and collected same since wrenching as a technician at Sears Automotive, forty years ago. Virtually unchanged in that time.
F1 is great but greater competition for 1st and 2nd is needed.
Their cordless tools are a totally different story. Having amassed a large 19.2V cordless tool selection the change of battery size/ compatibility had me junk the entire Craftsman cordless tool collection and move on to another brand. The same went for several of my family and friends. Stupid move Craftsman (B&D).
Like many young men in the 1960s, I started my tool collection by going down to the local Sears store after payday and picking out a few things I needed. The Craftsman name on a tool was a special cache and the lifetime warranty was pretty unique. As time passed, I discovered that there were other brands that had useful and reliable tools, but for many things, I still grabbed some of my favorites: the Craftsman stuff.
In “the olden days”, Stanley was its own brand, and Black and Decker also. Now, everything seems to be combined (at least corporate-ownership-wise), and it’s sad to see that those once proud companies seem to be racing to the bottom (where Sears has already landed). I don’t know how many more tools I will actually buy in my lifetime, but I will surely doubt that any new ones I get will be of lesser quality than those ‘old reliables’ which have served me so well for six decades.
I still have a large portion of Craftsman tools in my box, many close to 50 years old. When I have the choice I still buy them but fear the day I take the broken ones back to hear “we don’t honor the warranty anymore”.
Thank you for sharing this insightful article on manufacturing. As someone who has worked in the manufacturing industry for several years, I found your perspective to be both informative and thought-provoking.
I still have my made in U.S. Sears Craftsman tool set that I got in the mid 1970s. It is good to see that at least some of the Craftman tools are being made in the U.S.
Unfortunately, many manufacturing jobs here in western Pennsylvania do not pay well like they did in the 1970s before we offshored so much of our manufacturing thanks to our currency being taken completely off of the gold standard, supposedly temporarily, by Pres. Nixon via executive order on August 15, 1971.
Always bought Craftsman tools for the past 45 year still buy em but not as good as 20 year ago but still better than most other stuff
Craftsman productions has always moved around, my first big tool kit from 1988 came in several cardboard boxes, marked Blackhawk or K-D. AFAIK the power tools were all B&D like my impact wrench which is a dead ringer for a B&D industrial and a plain brown wrapper version of the Snap-On. Those had chrome front housings and were $250, compared to the $50 I paid for a Sears customer return.
Sear always contracted tools out. Like the Garage Door Openers they are made by Chamberlin.
I have always had great luck with the hand tools. I bought up many sets when the sears stores were going out. They offered set deals on Torx sets and other kits that have proven handy over the years.
I too was disappointed by the change in the cordless units. I changed to Milwaukee.
As for the Ford truck.
Ford played a game on the public. They were behind and rushed the Lighting to market to beat the dedicated GM and Ram truck to market. The lighting is just really a converted truck while the others use a specific dedicated platform.
Ford has raised this new truck and may see the same development isdues like the Mach E. I was just reading of the development mistakes and the internal engineering issues Ford is having.
Money is a real issue and moral is not goo there. It will be interesting if they get it right or if the marketing folks will be able to continue the bluff.
There are many issues at Ford and we all need to be wary of the false PR.
The head of Ford is under great pressure now and I will be surprised if Farly remains.
I brought a bent 1/4″ x 9″ screwdriver to trade in at Sears years ago and the floor sales guy said I damaged it beyond their warranty claim. I asked to see a manager and he said if I cut it in half with my cutting torch he would honor the swap for a new one. I said thank you and would be back to buy more.
A few years ago I purchased Craftsman tools at Lowe’s because I heard they bought the tool line. Definitely NOT the quality of their old line. Reminds me of foreign made junk. Never again. I only wanted them for emergency in my car. Hope I never have to use them.
Lowe’s did NOT buy the line, they just became SBD’s primary retailer of Craftsman.
It is junk. Not necessarily because it is is foreign made, but that certainly doesn’t help the matter.
Still have my 4-piece barbecue set with Craftsman screwdriver type handles.
Who is going to buy this EV junk? Nobody I know wants them! In addition, they create far more pollution than a gas or diesel powered vehicle, major issue with battery life and then you have hazardous materials to dispose of!