Fiat-Chrysler employees reject contract

Sep 30, 2015
Fiat Chryler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and UAW President Dennis Williams.

United Auto Workers union members have rejected a proposed contract with Fiat Chrysler in a rebuke of union leaders who had praised the deal.

Official totals weren't released, but workers at many large factories voted against the pact by large margins, making victory impossible.

There’s no other way to look at it: Volkswagen cheated and lied to its customers.

The German automaker admitted to cheating on the US emissions tests for half a million of its diesel vehicles.

CEO Martin Winterkorn has stepped down and more heads are expected to roll by week’s end, but Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this isn’t even the end of the beginning.

screen grab / U.S. House of Representatives

Updated: 4:22 pm

The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to dismiss two criminal charges against General Motors related to its handling of an ignition switch recall - that is, if the automaker forfeits $900 million, and cooperates for three years on an agreement that includes the appointment of an independent monitor.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams

After several days of marathon bargaining, UAW and Fiat-Chrysler leaders announced a tentative new contract for workers Tuesday night.

They weren’t willing to make many details public, however.

UAW President Dennis Williams said that’s because union members deserve to see the new deal first.

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat-Chrysler and the UAW are still at the bargaining table Tuesday, as the two sides look to hash out a new collective bargaining agreement for auto workers.

Talks ran through the night as the UAW’s 2011 contract with all three Detroit automakers expired at midnight.

Quentin Kruger / Wikimedia Commons

Robert "Steve" Miller is back in town.

The former Chrysler exec known as "The Turnaround Kid" is running International Automotive Components. 

It's been nearly 10 years since Miller and the Delphi directors decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - making Delphi an American company in name only. 

The reaction at the time was instantaneous and loud. 

Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz / wikipedia/creative commons

Michigan will have about 89 new E-15 pumps soon, due to federal grants.

Currently, most gasoline pumps in the state deliver gas with 10% ethanol, a fuel made from corn.  

The federal government is encouraging wider distribution of gas with higher blends of ethanol.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford have been making vehicles that run on E-15 and higher blends for years.


Alcantara, a small Italian manufacturer, is touting a rare achievement: carbon neutrality, meaning a zero carbon footprint.  

Alcantara is a luxury materials supplier for auto and other industries. Some of its products are used for interiors of luxury automobiles.

Ford Motor Company

It's crunch time for negotiators for the United Auto Workers, and Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors.

Union contracts with the car companies expire next week, on September 14.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

August auto sales may be down slightly.

Automakers will release their August sales numbers Tuesday.

Charles Chesbrough is an auto industry analyst with IHS Global Insight.     He says unlike most years, this year’s August sales numbers will not include Labor Day weekend sales.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you think your morning commute is taking longer in Grand Rapids and Detroit, a new report says you’re right.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s annual Urban Mobility Scorecard shows it’s taking longer for many Michigan motorists to get around.


More cars and trucks with flat tires are pulling over to the sides of Michigan’s roads.

AAA Michigan spokeswoman Susan Hilts says its road service providers are fixing more flat tires this summer than usual.

user Explorationofspace / Wikimedia Commons

Customer satisfaction with vehicle purchases slipped in the second quarter of the year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Managing Director David VanAmberg says people are having to take their new cars to the dealer for repairs more often, and that will take a toll on satisfaction.

United Auto Worker contingent at a protest in New York.
Thomas Good / wikimedia commons -

The current negotiations over the contracts are continuing pretty much out of the spotlight. There’s a delicate balance that both sides are trying to pull off.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes shared the "wants" and "needs" of both sides in these contract talks with us.

He penned a column today in the News about the talks.
cwazniak / Flickr/creative commons

Unemployment is improving, and gas prices are relatively low. That means more people are on the road, and they're driving more miles.

"During the recession, motor vehicle fatalities dropped by around 10,000," says the National Safety Council's Ken Kolosh. "Now with the economy improving, with gas prices at relatively low levels, we're beginning to see a rebound."

General Motors

A University of Iowa survey finds many people are uncertain how many safety technologies work – even those that have been around for a long time.  

27% haven't heard of traction control, and the same percentage don't recognize the symbol indicating low tire pressure. 

University of Michigan

"MCity" is the 32-acre replica suburb designed to let researchers test self-driving cars in real-world conditions, safely away from pedestrians and other vehicles.

Its recent opening in Ann Arbor is a clear sign that Michigan intends to be a leader in developing self-driving cars.

CZ marlin / wikimedia commons

Another auto lender is getting attention from federal regulators for its car loan practices.

Spanish bank Santander's U.S. division underwrites car loans at Fiat Chrysler dealerships. 

As many as 60% of its U.S. car loans are sub-prime.  Those are higher-risk loans made to people with low to very low credit scores. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people will be in Flint this week for the annual ‘Back to the Bricks’ auto showcase and cruise.

Flint police Captain Collin Bernie says a 6 p.m. teen curfew will be in effect again this year.

MEDC/Pure Michigan

Michigan economic development officials hope to change the sometimes negative perception of the state's auto industry using the power of the Pure Michigan ad campaign.

The state has launched the first in a series of new ads called "Michigan Runs on Brainpower."


A survey of global auto manufacturers and suppliers finds a 30% increase in the number of cyber attacks between 2013 and 2014.

Rick Hanna, PwC's global automotive leader, says it's possible that some of the reported increase is simply because the companies are paying more attention, "but it's a growing risk."

About two-thirds of hacking attempts are from employees and former employees.

General Motors

General Motors shut many of its Flint facilities over the past 30 years.  The devastating effect on the city of Flint was the subject of a famous movie, "Roger and Me," by filmmaker Michael Moore.

But Flint Assembly -- GM's oldest assembly plant in North America -- remains. 

The automaker's $877 million investment ensures the plant will be one of its most important facilities for the foreseeable future. 

deployed front airbags
Flickr user Mic /

There have been at least eight people killed in accidents related to defective airbags made by Takata. The potential number of vehicles affected by these Takata air bags has been boosted to more than 32 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But the watchdogs at NHTSA are keeping a wary eye on another safety issue brewing with airbags. What happens when airbags age?

The average age of vehicles on the road is more than 11 years old, and according to auto journalist and publisher of Paul Eisenstein that's the oldest average age we've ever experienced.  


The clock is ticking for parents who waited to get their children vaccinated, or who haven't yet acquired a waiver from vaccines.

A new state policy requires parents to attend an educational session with a county public health nurse to get a vaccine waiver for religious or philosophical reasons. 

In the past, parents could just pick up the waiver at school and fill it out.

The policy is intended to reduce the numbers of children who attend school without being vaccinated against diseases. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Despite having to pay $70 million of a record $105 million civil fine for U.S. recall violations, U.K.-based Fiat Chrysler made $333 million Euro in the second quarter. 

That's about $372 million, and a big jump from the same period a year ago. 

Ford Motor Company

Updated:  9:51 a.m. 7-30-15 This story was updated to reflect Ford's disputing the IIHS finding that the new F-150 is more costly to repair than the old F-150. 

Ford's F-150 pickup truck has been the best selling vehicle in the United States for 28 years — and the best selling truck for 33 years.

And the truck is Ford's most profitable vehicle, according to analysts.

So there were some raised eyebrows when Ford announced it would make the next F-150 with a mostly aluminum body, instead of steel.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Russia is in a recession. China's auto market, the largest in the world, is softening. 

The currency situation in South America is causing no end of headaches for global automakers.

Europe's market has improved, but it's still just coming out of a very deep trough.

International Students’ Committee / Wikimedia Commons

Fiat Chrysler was recently fined a record $105 million dollars for multiple recall violations. This has complicated the goal of the company's CEO Sergio Marchionne to merge with another automaker.

Business columnist Daniel Howes with the Detroit News says Marchionne has "made no secret of the fact that he's most interested in doing a deal with General Motors."


Fiat Chrysler will pay a record $105 million fine for multiple recall violations. That's bad enough.

"Fiat Chrysler does not have the deep pockets General Motors has, or Toyota," says Michelle Krebs of Autotrader, referring to two other car companies slapped with large civil penalties for recall violations.  "It certainly will pinch."


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has slapped Fiat Chrysler with a $105 million civil penalty for multiple violations of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The penalty surpasses the previous record, a $70 million civil fine against Honda last year, over recall violations related to vehicles with defective airbags.