Auto http://michiganradio.org en GM CEO Mary Barra defends general counsel in congressional hearing http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-ceo-mary-barra-defends-general-counsel-congressional-hearing <p>Today brought the fourth appearance for General Motors and CEO Mary Barra before angry members of Congress.</p><p>This time a Senate subcommittee took a deeper dive into the ignition switch recalls and didn't like what it saw in GM's legal department.</p><p>Michigan Radio's auto reporter Tracy Samilton&nbsp;followed the event.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">According to Samilton, GM's chief counsel Michael Millikin was in the "uncomfortable Senate spotlight" today.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When senators asked why Millikin still kept his job, Barra&nbsp;said she "respectfully" disagreed with them, and she defended Millikin&nbsp;as a man of "incredibly high integrity."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">She said Millikin&nbsp;"had a system in place." Unfortunately, in this instance "it wasn't brought to his attention."</span></p><p></p><p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:59:17 +0000 Stateside Staff 18419 at http://michiganradio.org GM CEO Mary Barra defends general counsel in congressional hearing GM says it has replaced 491,000 ignition switches http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-says-it-has-replaced-491000-ignition-switches <p>DETROIT - General Motors says it has replaced faulty ignition switches on just under 20 percent of 2.6 million small cars that are being recalled.</p><p>The company has repaired just over 491,000 cars that are covered by the recall announced in February.</p><p>Switch maker Delphi Automotive says it has produced over 1 million parts and expects to have made 2 million by the end of August. GM says it expects all parts to be made by late October.</p><p>Delphi CEO Rodney O'Neal tells lawmakers his company has added three lines to speed up production.</p><p>Some car owners have complained it's taking too long for GM to finish repairs.</p><p>The switches can slip into the accessory position and unexpectedly shut off engines. That has caused crashes that killed at least 13 people.</p><p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:08:11 +0000 The Associated Press 18416 at http://michiganradio.org GM says it has replaced 491,000 ignition switches Teens should not be driving old, small cars, says safety group http://michiganradio.org/post/teens-should-not-be-driving-old-small-cars-says-safety-group <p>A new analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that a disproportionate number of teenagers who died in car accidents were driving older, smaller cars.</p><p>Small, older model cars tend to be lightweight and lack electronic stability control and side air bags.&nbsp;</p><p>Yet these are the cars parents typically buy for their teens, who are the least experienced drivers on the road.&nbsp;</p><p>Russ Rader of IIHS says cost shouldn't be the only factor when choosing a car for a young driver.</p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:36:08 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18405 at http://michiganradio.org Teens should not be driving old, small cars, says safety group No, car sales are not going to just keep growing and growing forever http://michiganradio.org/post/no-car-sales-are-not-going-just-keep-growing-and-growing-forever <p>Here's the main case to be made for annual car sales in the U.S. exceeding 18 million some day:&nbsp;</p><p>Unlike other mature car markets (Europe), the U.S. population is still growing.&nbsp; So....the more people there are, the more cars they will buy.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The argument acknowledges that many young people are postponing buying cars, but says that's just because it's hard to get a job right now.&nbsp; As soon as the economy improves, they'll buy cars, just like their parents.</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:07:09 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18352 at http://michiganradio.org No, car sales are not going to just keep growing and growing forever Some Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos recalled http://michiganradio.org/post/some-jeep-grand-cherokees-and-dodge-durangos-recalled <p>Chrysler says it is recalling 651,000 Jeep and Dodge SUVs in the U.S. because vanity mirror lights that have undergone repairs can short circuit and start a fire if not reassembled correctly.</p><p>The recall is for certain 2011 to 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango models. Chrysler says it has seen the problem only in lighted sun visor mirrors that have been repaired. But as a precaution, it says the recall applies to all of the vehicles.</p><p>The automaker says it knows of three injuries caused by the lighted mirror.</p><p>Chrysler will contact customers and let them know when they can have the problem fixed.</p><p>The recall will total 895,000 SUVs around the world. About 45,000 are in Canada, 23,000 are in Mexico and 175,000 are outside North America.</p><p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">Chrysler says customers with additional questions can call their customer assistance center at 1-800-853-1403.</span></p><p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:33:00 +0000 The Associated Press 18347 at http://michiganradio.org Some Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos recalled Europe auto industry faces headwinds....but more recalls not one of them http://michiganradio.org/post/europe-auto-industry-faces-headwindsbut-more-recalls-not-one-them <p>The auto industry in Europe may be on the way back up, after hitting rock bottom last year, but its woes are by no means over, says Ford's head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Stephen Odell.</p><p>Overcapacity is a persistent concern, he says.&nbsp;&nbsp; Some European factories are still operating at about 70% of their capacity, although Ford itself has taken steps to reduce its factory and labor costs - having closed one Ford plant in the U.K. and soon to close another in Belgium.</p><p>Odell says the biggest factor depressing car sales is the 20 to 25% unemployment rates in southern European countries like Spain and Greece.<br /><br />"I think the biggest inhibiters is probably employment levels," Odell told a roundtable of journalists in Dearborn.&nbsp; "Which is why, in our forecast, we have a sort of modest and slow recovery for the next four to five years."<br /><br />Odell says Ford does expect to regain profitability in Europe next year. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:39:42 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18321 at http://michiganradio.org Europe auto industry faces headwinds....but more recalls not one of them Ann Arbor latest city to tangle with Uber, Lyft http://michiganradio.org/post/ann-arbor-latest-city-tangle-uber-lyft <p>The app-based, taxi-like services UberX&nbsp; and Lyft are in talks with the city of Ann Arbor - after the city sent the companies a "cease and desist" letter.&nbsp;</p><p>This is just the latest of many legal tangles across the country for the companies, which are operating in a new grey area of transportation-for-hire.&nbsp;</p><p>The companies say they are "rideshare services."&nbsp; State and local transportation officials call them "transportation network companies," but insist that many of the&nbsp;regulations applying to traditional taxis also apply to these new services.</p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:01:15 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18291 at http://michiganradio.org Ann Arbor latest city to tangle with Uber, Lyft Where do auto museums flourish? Surprisingly, not in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/where-do-auto-museums-flourish-surprisingly-not-michigan <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There are many different auto museums – some dedicated to displaying cars with unique engineering and designs, and others dedicated to displaying the automobile’s impact on society.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Michigan's auto museums have had&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">little success.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Flint’s "Autoworld"&nbsp;theme park closed two years after opening, and the Walter P. Chrysler Museum closed its doors recently.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Europe has had a different experience.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Autostadt, which means “auto city” in German, is in&nbsp;Wolfsburg, Germany. It averages about two million visitors per year. BMW and Porsche also have notable museums in Germany.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Why do auto museums in Europe succeed, while those in the auto capital of the world have not?</span></p><p>“Europeans seem to have such a deep bond with their vehicles,” says Paul&nbsp;Eisenstein, publisher of &nbsp;<em style="line-height: 1.5;"><a href="http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/" style="color: rgb(1, 143, 226); text-decoration: underline;">The Detroit Bureau</a></em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. “They are seemingly more interested in the mechanicals and what have you. They have a tendency to be drawn to automotive exhibits, museums, parks, and everything at a much greater rate than Americans are.”</span></p><p><em>*Listen to our interview with Eisenstein at 3 p.m. today. We'll post the audio for that interview here around 4:30 p.m.&nbsp;</em></p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:01:15 +0000 Stateside Staff 18237 at http://michiganradio.org Where do auto museums flourish? Surprisingly, not in Michigan "Autoworld" opened its doors in Flint 30 years ago http://michiganradio.org/post/autoworld-opened-its-doors-flint-30-years-ago <p></p><p>30 years ago, "Autoworld" opened its doors on July 4, 1984 in Flint, Michigan.</p><p>It was an indoor theme park and museum dedicated to preserving and spreading automotive achievements. &nbsp;</p><p>Bill Shea, editor and reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business, said that the attraction wasn’t that popular and visitors were confused about what Autoworld was.</p><p>Was it supposed to be a museum or a theme park?</p><p>This led people to ask why a group of people invested $80 million into the endeavor.</p><p>Organizers hoped&nbsp;Autoworld&nbsp;would revitalize the inner city of Flint, develop Michigan’s tourism industry, and preserve the automotive history in the city.</p><p>But, in 1987, the attraction closed its doors permanently. Here's a video of them imploding the building from ABC News:</p><p>http://youtu.be/TOmifOLSSRs</p><p>*<em>You can hear our interview with Bill Shea today at 3 p.m. We'll add the interview to this post at 4:30 p.m.</em></p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:49:32 +0000 Stateside Staff 18236 at http://michiganradio.org "Autoworld" opened its doors in Flint 30 years ago Fiat Chrysler continues U.S. sales increase streak http://michiganradio.org/post/fiat-chrysler-continues-us-sales-increase-streak <p>Fiat Chrysler continued its climb back to health in June.&nbsp; It was the 51st month in a row the automaker increased its U.S. year-over-year sales.</p><p>The long streak of sales gains is being led by the Jeep and RAM brands.&nbsp;</p><p>Jeep sales rose 28% compared to last June, and RAM sales were up 14%.</p><p>"In spite of two fewer selling days in June versus a year ago, we were able to increase our sales 9% and post our strongest June sales in seven years," said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler.</p><p>The automaker remains weak in terms of small and midsize car sales.&nbsp; The Dodge Dart has performed well under expectations, selling only 7,225 in June.&nbsp;</p><p>But the company has higher hopes for the new Chrysler 200, which began shipping to dealers in late spring. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 21:24:20 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18231 at http://michiganradio.org Fiat Chrysler continues U.S. sales increase streak GM sales are not plummeting despite recalls, scandal http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-sales-are-not-plummeting-despite-recalls-scandal <p>General Motors' sales rose 1% in June - despite two fewer sales days in the month, despite a delayed recall scandal, and despite the company issuing a record number of recalls.</p><p>The Detroit automaker's sales were the best for June since 2007.</p><p>Karl Brauer is an analyst with Kelly Blue Book.&nbsp;</p><p>He says the media and Congress have displayed an intense interest in GM's admission that it delayed an ignition switch recall for eleven years.&nbsp;</p><p>Customers aren't paying as much attention.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>"Most people look at this recall as old GM and old models that has nothing to do with what's in the showroom right now," says Brauer. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:46:37 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18228 at http://michiganradio.org GM sales are not plummeting despite recalls, scandal GM issues massive recall of 7.4 million cars for ignition switch problem http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-issues-massive-recall-74-million-cars-ignition-switch-problem <p>GM recalled an additional 7.36 million cars&nbsp; for what it calls "unintended ignition switch rotation."</p><p>That's the same problem at the root of an earlier recall of cars with a defective ignition switch. In February, GM recalled 2.6 million Cobalts, HHRs, Saturn Ions and other small cars with a defective ignition switch.</p><p>In both recalls, the car's ignition switch can suddenly turn off, which disables the power steering, power brakes, and air bags.</p><p>The new recall is for:</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:10:38 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18213 at http://michiganradio.org Compensation for ignition-switch crashes announced http://michiganradio.org/post/compensation-ignition-switch-crashes-announced <p>GM will pay a minimum of $1 million to victims of serious or fatal crashes involving cars with a faulty ignition switch.&nbsp;</p><p>GM admits it delayed a recall of small cars with a defective switch for 11 years.&nbsp;</p><p>GM says 13 people died and 54 were injured when the ignition switch turned off, disabling the power steering, power brakes, seat belt pretensioners and air bags.&nbsp;</p><p>But attorneys for victims' families say there are many more such cases.&nbsp;</p><p>The program is run by Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw similar programs for victims of the BP oil spill and 9/11.&nbsp; He says it won't be easy to determine who's eligible.<br /><br />"So many of these accidents occurred long ago," Feinberg says. "The car is gone, and we've gotta come up with circumstantial evidence."</p><p>But Feinberg says he will work with families who wish to file claims, or their attorneys, to guide them through what kinds of evidence would substantiate a claim – such as police reports, medical reports, black box data, and witness statements.<br /><br />The program will also pay for victims' lost earnings and long-term care. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:51:28 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18212 at http://michiganradio.org Compensation for ignition-switch crashes announced Ford CEO Mulally leaves behind big shoes for successor to fill http://michiganradio.org/post/ford-ceo-mulally-leaves-behind-big-shoes-successor-fill <p></p><div><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Alan&nbsp;</span>Mulally<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;will hand over his Ford CEO job to Mark Fields next Tuesday.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Fields has been with Ford since 1989 and the chief operating&nbsp;officer since 2012.</span></p><p>Mulally&nbsp;came to Ford as an auto outsider and many questioned his ability to turn the struggling company around.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Detroit News business columnist Daniel&nbsp;</span>Howes<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;was one of the doubters.&nbsp;</span>Howes<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;is now happy to say he was wrong. And&nbsp;</span>Mulally<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;has&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140626/AUTO0102/306260044/0/OPINION0301/Can-Ford-keep-transforming-after-Mulally-exits-" style="line-height: 1.5;">created big shoes for Fields to fill</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span></p></div><p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:02:16 +0000 Stateside Staff 18162 at http://michiganradio.org Ford CEO Mulally leaves behind big shoes for successor to fill Mary Barra appears before House subcommittee on ignition-switch debacle http://michiganradio.org/post/mary-barra-appears-house-subcommittee-ignition-switch-debacle <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">General Motors</span>&nbsp;CEO Mary Barra appeared this week before a House subcommittee that is investigating the automaker's ignition-switch debacle.</p><p>Barra didn't sugarcoat the fact that GM bungled this terribly. She freely admitted their engineers knew about the switch problems 12 years ago, but didn't connect that to the airbag malfunction linked to at least 13 deaths.</p><p><br />And Barra had a litany of changes she's instituted in response, including firing 15 high-level employees.</p><p>Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this has to go deeper.</p><p>“Members of Congress, to put it gently, (are) skeptical that a company like this with the track record that it’s had, particularly in the last five years, would be able to do that,” Howes said.</p><p>Howes says with exception of the president of GM, those at the top of the company are longtime General Motors people.</p><p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:32:51 +0000 Stateside Staff 18076 at http://michiganradio.org Mary Barra appears before House subcommittee on ignition-switch debacle Car initial quality slips due to increased complexity: JD Power http://michiganradio.org/post/car-initial-quality-slips-due-increased-complexity-jd-power <p>The increased complexity of cars is causing an uptick in problems reported in the first 90 days of ownership, according to an annual survey by J.D. Power.</p><p>Problems reported by owners in the first 90 days rose 3% for 2014 model year cars over last year.&nbsp;</p><p>The group says that's because of the increased complexity and features in new cars, especially when it comes to voice recognition and Bluetooth syncing.&nbsp;</p><p>The harsh winter also caused some extra problems with paint, engine performance, and heating systems.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:28:32 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18068 at http://michiganradio.org Car initial quality slips due to increased complexity: JD Power Europe's car sales on the rise again http://michiganradio.org/post/europes-car-sales-rise-again <p></p><p>The word from Europe is new car sales were up in May.</p><p>It's the ninth straight monthly increase, which is good news for the U.S.&nbsp;carmakers who've been watching their bottom lines suffer through the European sales slump.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There were 1.1 million new cars registered in the European Union, an increase of 4.3%.</span></p><p>Increased auto sales include:</p><p>·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 7.7% in the United Kingdom</p><p>·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 5.2% in Germany</p><p>·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 17 % in Spain</p><p>Stateside’s partner, BBC Business reporter Russell Padmore, says the big reason for the uptick in sales is an "aging car fleet.” During the debt crisis, Europeans held off from buying new cars to save money. Now they can’t hold off any longer.&nbsp;</p><p><em>*Listen to full&nbsp;interview&nbsp;above.&nbsp;</em></p><p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 11:08:28 +0000 Stateside Staff 18056 at http://michiganradio.org Europe's car sales on the rise again GM chief Mary Barra back on Capitol Hill http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-chief-mary-barra-back-capitol-hill <p></p><p>General Motors CEO Mary Barra was back on Capitol Hill today.</p><p>She was there to offer more testimony on the growing ignition switch recall problem which has been linked to 13 deaths and the recall of some six million GM vehicles.</p><p>Mary Barra was not alone. She came with independent investigator Anton Valukas and his 300-page report.</p><p></p><p>Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David&nbsp;Shepardson says&nbsp;Valukas was able to answer questions about the report while Barra could focus on what GM was going to do in the future.</p><p>“Overall, the questioning was a lot gentler than last time, because the committees didn’t express frustration with Mary that she was not able to answer so many different questions,” Shepardson said.</p><p>“There are really no questions they could answer with the exception of the why.”</p><p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">*Listen to full interview above.</em></p><p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 01:13:46 +0000 Stateside Staff 18060 at http://michiganradio.org GM chief Mary Barra back on Capitol Hill GM recalls another 3.4 million cars http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-recalls-another-34-million-cars <p></p><p>The recall notices just keep coming.</p><p>The ignition-switch crisis took a big new turn Monday as General Motors recalled 3.4 million cars.<br />That's on top of the 2.6 million small cars already called back for ignition switches that can slip out of the "run" position if the key is carrying extra weight and is somehow jarred. That could cause the engine to stall and kill power steering, power brakes, and air bags.</p><p>The problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths and over 40 crashes. However, GM sales have not been greatly affected.</p><p>This latest recall comes as CEO Mary Barra prepares for what will undoubtedly be a rough session tomorrow on Capitol Hill before the House Energy and Commerce's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.</p><p><i>*Listen to full interview above.</i></p><p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 21:41:00 +0000 Stateside Staff 18040 at http://michiganradio.org GM recalls another 3.4 million cars GM recalls 3.16 million cars for another ignition switch problem http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-recalls-316-million-cars-another-ignition-switch-problem <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">General Motors has found another problem with ignition switches in vehicles.</span></p><p>In what's sure to become extra ammunition in Wednesday's Senate committee interrogation of GM Chief Executive Officer&nbsp;Mary Barra, the automaker this week is recalling 3.16 million mostly older model vehicles to replace slotted keys with keys with a hole.</p><p>The company says the fix will prevent the cars from inadvertently turning off if there is extra weight on the key ring and the car goes over a bump.</p><p>The cars involved in the recall:</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:54:09 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18034 at http://michiganradio.org GM recalls 3.16 million cars for another ignition switch problem