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John F. Martin / General Motors

GM's announcement that it will add a second shift to its Hamtramck facility is being warmly welcomed by the Detroit Economic Development Corporation.

Ken Chapa is Executive Vice President of Business Development for the group.  He says these are good-paying jobs that help boost Detroit's economy.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra
flickr user David Pinter / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said Wednesday that, “GM is a vastly different company today than just five years ago,” and then went on to announce profits that were a little better than had been estimated.

But how much does that mean when times are good for all the car makers right now?

In the paper Thursday, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wonders if GM is as vastly different as Barra claims.

City of Detroit

Construction on a new, 70-acre manufacturing campus is officially underway in southwest Detroit.

India-based auto parts supplier Sakthi Automotive Group is behind the project.

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler Automotive's UAW members vote this week on whether to ratify the second contract put before them. The first tentative contract agreement went down to resounding defeat, forcing the union and FCA to try again.

Much of the opposition to the first deal was fired up on social media. At the same time, the union was widely viewed as having stumbled badly on its social media presence defending the deal.

They're not letting that happen this time.

Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press joined Stateside to talk about the negotiations. 

Fiat Chrysler

Members of the United Auto Workers union begin voting on a tentative new contract with Fiat Chrysler on Tuesday.  

Union leaders are being less passive after the rank and file rejected the first tentative deal in September. 

For the second tentative contract, the union hired an outside public relations firm and engaged with members on Facebook and Twitter to explain the terms. 

Voting on this contract will take place over two days, instead of two weeks, giving critics a lot less time to criticize and drum up resistance. 

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

Local leaders of the United Auto Workers have voted to approve a new, tentative four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler, after workers overwhelmingly rejected the first version last week.

Many workers were confused about the terms of the rejected contract, especially about the vague language describing a new health care co-op. 

VW showed off their Gold TDI Clean Diesel at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The company has since admitted to evading emissions standards for the last seven years.
wikimedia user Mariordo / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is facing the wrath of Congress.

The hearing before a congressional oversight panel is in response to VW’s admission that is has been cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests for the past seven years.

Last year General Motors CEO Mary Barra was lambasted by a congressional panel over GM's ignition recall scandal, and the Detroit News’ Daniel Howes expects today will be no easier for VW U.S. chief Michael Horn.

Fiat-Chrysler employees reject contract

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

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
UAW

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

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.

AAA

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 - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/77087921@N06/6910355817
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."

PwC

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 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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 TheDetroitBureau.com Paul Eisenstein that's the oldest average age we've ever experienced.  

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