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4:05 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Mark Fields to take the place of Alan Mulally as Ford CEO

Alan Mulally
Credit Ford Motor Company

All signs point to a big change at Ford Motor Company.

Although the automaker has not made an official announcement, there is much speculation today that CEO Alan Mulally is reportedly ready to retire before the year is out and COO Mark Fields will ascend to the top spot.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter Tracy Samilton joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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2:31 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

GM restructuring engineering in response to recall

Credit John F. Martin / Creative Commons

DETROIT – General Motors is adding 35 product safety investigators as part of a larger restructuring in response to a series of safety recalls.

GM says the new investigators will more than double the size of its current team, to 55.

The company is also dividing its global vehicle engineering organization into two sections. A product integrity section will oversee vehicle and engine engineering as well as safety, while a separate department will oversee parts engineering and advanced vehicle development.

GM's product development chief Mark Reuss says the changes were made to ensure that potential problems are spotted and handled more quickly.

The government is investigating why it took GM more than a decade to recall small cars with a defective ignition switch.

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4:25 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Reports: Ford Motor Co. to make CEO succession announcement

Ford CEO Alan Mulally sitting on a Honda. Just kidding. It's a Ford.
Credit Ford Motor Company

The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and The Detroit News report that Ford Motor Company will soon announce that Mark Fields, Ford's Chief Operating Officer, will be its next CEO – and give a firm date for current CEO Alan Mulally's departure from the company he has led since 2006.

Mulally has consistently said he'd stay at the helm of the second-largest auto company in the U.S. until the end of 2014.  But the reports say Mulally will now leave earlier.

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5:29 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Documents detail another delayed GM recall

GM's guide for contacting the company with questions about the ignition switch recall.
Credit GM

DETROIT (AP) - Government documents show that General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and warranty repair claims. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn't seek a recall of the 2004-2007 compact cars even though it opened an investigation more than two years ago.

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1:43 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Judge won't order recalled GM cars to be parked

A consumer alert from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NHTSA

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge in Texas has denied an emergency motion that would have forced General Motors to tell owners of 2 million recalled cars to stop driving their vehicles until their ignition switches are repaired.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued her order Thursday in Corpus Christi. Attorney Robert Hilliard, who represents some owners, had argued that the GM cars could at any moment lose power and expose their occupants to serious injury or death.

GM had urged the court not to intervene and instead let a recall overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proceed. The carmaker said extensive testing had shown that if the recall instructions were followed, there was no risk that the ignition switch would fail.

GM has linked the switch to 13 deaths.

Stateside
4:14 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

GM asks bankruptcy judge to look at its liability

GM Renaissance Center in Detroit.
Credit John F. Martin / Creative Commons

General Motors is asking a bankruptcy judge in New York to take a look at its "shield" – the shield that protects it from liability lawsuits that stem from crashes or defects that happened before its bankruptcy.

Veteran auto analyst Michelle Krebs joined us today. She explained what GM is trying to find out. *Listen to the audio above.

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Stateside
5:12 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Record high reached for fuel economy in the US; what comes next?

Credit carhumor.com

There was an encouraging report last month from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute about fuel economy.

We hit a record high in February in terms of gas mileage for new vehicles sold in the U.S.: 25.2 miles per gallon. It's the fifth-straight month gas mileage for new vehicles has topped 25 mpg.

That got us wondering how we're faring in the quest to squeeze out better mileage from our cars and trucks, and in the quest to create electric, hybrid, natural gas and fuel-cell vehicles and technologies.

Charles Griffith is the climate and energy program director at the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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11:57 am
Thu April 10, 2014

GM puts two engineers on paid leave in wake of ignition switch problem

Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-CO, demonstrates the ignition switch in question during a congressional hearing on April 1, 2014.
Credit screen grab / U.S. House of Representatives

Two engineers have been put on paid leave at General Motors as the company has an outside attorney investigate why it took more than 10 years for GM to recall millions of cars with faulty ignition switches.

GM says the switches have been linked to at least 13 deaths.

More on the suspension of the engineers from the Associated Press:

The company says in a statement Thursday that the action was taken after a briefing from former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas. He's been hired to figure out why GM was so slow to recall the cars.

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8:09 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Despite recall, Cobalts, HHRs are selling - and at a higher price

Credit GM

A recall crisis at General Motors hasn't slowed sales of Cobalts, HHR's and other cars with a defective ignition switch.

In fact, the cars are selling for more than they did just a month or two ago.

Alec Gutierrez of Kelly Blue Book says used car prices go up in the spring.

"So, it's a matter of a rising tide lifting all boats," he says.

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12:42 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

The Long Road To GM's Ignition Switch Recall

Chevy Cobalts on the assembly line in Ohio in 2008. Documents show General Motors was aware of problems with the car's ignition switch years before, but failed to act.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:08 pm

The new head of General Motors, Mary Barra, goes to Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin two days of testimony.

It's the first time she'll be questioned about a safety defect that's been linked to at least 13 deaths and has sparked a 2.6 million-vehicle recall.

At issue for the Detroit CEO is a classic question: What did GM know about the problems with ignition switch problems in its cars, and when did the company know it?

And just as important for GM and government regulators is the follow-up question: Why did no one act sooner?

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11:24 am
Mon March 31, 2014

General Motors CEO to face gauntlet before Congress

Mary Barra, GM's CEO for less than three months, has inherited a recall scandal. Here, she is listening in to customer calls about the recall at one of GM's Customer Engagement Centers.
Credit General Motors

This week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra will testify in Washington about last month's recall for a defective ignition switch. The defect is linked to at least 13 deaths and 30 injuries. GM has known about it since at least 2004.

Testifying will be a test of Barra's leadership – she's been in charge of GM a mere two and a half months. But Barra may be unable to answer the most haunting question: Why did GM delay the recall for so long?

The question is on the minds of lots of customers, as well as politicians.

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4:21 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

United Auto Workers membership grows slightly

The Flint sit-down strike against General Motors, Feb. 11, 1937
UAW/Facebook

NEW YORK (AP) - A filing with the U.S. Department of Labor shows the United Auto Workers' membership grew by nearly 9,000 people last year. 

UAW's membership in 2013 was 391,415, compared to 382,513 in 2012. The union has been steadily adding members since 2009, when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

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1:24 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Ford CEO's pay up 11% to $23.2 million in 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally earned $2 million in salary, the same as 2012. But he earned more in bonuses, at $5.9 million, and in stock and option awards, which totaled $14.7 million.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Ford CEO Alan Mulally's compensation rose 11 percent to $23.2 million in 2013, as the company reported record profits in North America.

Mulally earned $2 million in salary, the same as 2012. But he earned more in bonuses, at $5.9 million, and in stock and option awards, which totaled $14.7 million.

The company's board said Mulally exceeded profit and cash flow targets. The company also earned a record pretax profit of $8.8 billion in North America.

Auto
6:12 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

GM adding 824,000 vehicles to ignition recall

The Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky are all involved in the recall.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is adding 824,000 small cars to its ongoing recall tied to defective ignition switches.

The company will add vehicles from the 2008-2011 model years to a recall that initially covered cars only through the 2007 model year.

The Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky are all involved in the recall.

GM says around 5,000 of the faulty switches were used for repairs on 2008-2011 model year cars. GM says it's expanding the recall to make sure it finds all the switches.

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Stateside
4:38 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Daniel Howes on "old" GM, "new" GM, and Mary Barra

Next week will bring a big test for new GM CEO Mary Barra.

She will present herself to Congress for a two-day grilling over the ever-growing ignition switch crisis, a problem that GM says is linked to 12 deaths.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes thinks Barra has a whole lot of heavy lifting to do to get this "new" GM out of the shadow of the missteps of the "old" GM. He joined us today for our weekly check-in.

Listen to the full interview above.

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6:55 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

New videos feature GM CEO Mary Barra on the delayed recall

GM CEO Mary Barra, right, at customer engagement center.
General Motors

GM released four additional videos featuring CEO Mary Barra to try to answer the most common questions customers have about an ignition switch recall that was delayed for nearly 10 years.

The most pressing question is probably: "Is it safe to drive my car?"

GM has recalled more than 1.5 million late-model Cobalts, HHRs, Pontiac Solstices, Saturn Skys and Saturn Ions.

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Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Are U.S. consumers facing recall fatigue?

GM's Headquarters in Detroit
John F. Martin Creative Commons

An interview with Sonari Glinton, who covers the auto industry for NPR.

General Motors has been in the headlines recently over its recall of more than 1.5 million vehicles due to ignition switch problems that are being blamed for some 13 deaths.

Toyota is also in the news after having agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle with the Justice Department over a delayed recall of millions of its vehicles.

But are U.S. consumers facing recall fatigue?

Sonari Glinton covers the auto industry for NPR, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Auto
3:33 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

GM chief prepares to testify before Congress on recalls

Mary Barra has only been on the job as CEO for three months. Now she’s facing scrutiny for how the automaker handled or mishandled a major safety recall affecting more than one-and-a-half million cars.
General Motors

Members of Congress will have tough questions for the new CEO of General Motors.

Mary Barra is expected to testify in front of the Energy and Commerce Committee next month.

Barra has only been on the job as CEO for three months. Now she’s facing scrutiny for how the automaker handled or mishandled a major safety recall affecting more than 1.5 million cars.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she’s confident in Barra’s leadership.

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Stateside
4:25 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Daniel Howes on the General Motors recall crisis

General Motors headquarters.
user paul (dex) Flickr

An interview with Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News.

It was announced yesterday that Toyota has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle with the U.S. Justice Department over a delayed recall of millions of vehicles.

The Justice Department is also investigating General Motors for delaying a recall of more than 1.5 million cars. The cars have defective ignition switches that can turn the car off at high speeds.

There's also news that GM executives are being summoned to D.C. to face Congressional inquiries.

Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News, joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Auto
11:50 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Toyota To Pay $1.2B To End Safety-Related Probe

Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 12:43 pm

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Saying that "Toyota intentionally concealed information" and misled the public about the danger that some of its vehicles might suddenly accelerate, Attorney Gen. Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the automaker is being fined $1.2 billion for not being forthcoming after car owners started to complain in 2009.

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