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IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says some automakers are still struggling to pass a tough new crash test, but that many lives depend on them getting it right.  

The small overlap front crash test is done to see how well a driver or passenger is protected in a front crash when the side is clipped, either by another car, or an obstruction. 

The Institute's Russ Rader says the crashes are particularly dangerous. Of fatal accidents that happen in a front crash, 25% are small overlaps.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

After more than a quarter of a century, the Michigan Central Depot is changing owners. The Moroun family has sold it to Ford Motor Company.  

The once-thriving Beaux Arts gem became a symbol of Detroit's decay, after Amtrak sold it to the Moroun family in 1992. Matthew Moroun says now "the depot will become a shining symbol of Detroit's success and progress."

The Chevy Bolt plug receptacle.
GM

General Motors and Honda will collaborate to develop new advanced chemistry battery components, "to accelerate both companies plans' for all-electric vehicles," according to a press release from GM.

The battery will have higher energy density, be smaller, and faster to charge.

Once it has been developed, GM will produce the batteries for both companies, mainly for cars sold in the North American market. 

The joint venture is expected to save research and development costs as well as lower per-battery costs because of economies of scale.

V2V technology can warn drivers of many dangerous situations
General Motors

Despite being the first automaker to put vehicle to vehicle technology in a car in the U.S.,  it appears General Motors is not yet ready to match Toyota's April announcement that it will voluntarily put the life-saving technology in most of its vehicles by the mid 2020s. 

General Motors

Many people don't know about the life-saving potential of V2V (vehicle to vehicle), a wifi and GPS-based technology that allows cars to communicate with each other and with traffic signals.

Oakland County hopes to change that for its residents – and find out if they'd be willing to pay for it.

Levi Hutmacher / Michigan Engineering, Communications and Marketing

The University of Michigan's latest self-driving vehicle research project isn't on its enclosed test campus, Mcity.

Launched on Monday, staff and students on the university's north campus can now catch a ride on a driverless shuttle, which will travel about a one-mile route between two traditional bus stops.  

A steel plant
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

 


This week, President Donald Trump announced he will move ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, including imports from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada. Effective today, steel imports will be taxed at 25 percent and aluminum at 10 percent. 

So how will this affect the huge amount of automotive parts that go back and forth from plants in Ontario and Michigan?

public domain

Automakers are urging the Trump administration not to freeze fuel efficiency standards after the year 2022. 

The standards were meant to help the United States reduce carbon emissions and meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. In the final days of the Obama administration, federal regulators finalized rigorous fuel economy improvements for 2022 to 2025, reaching a real-world mpg average of about 35 miles per gallon.

Chevy Volt at charging station
Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) / Wikimedia

Consumers Energy is proposing a $7.5 million rebate and education pilot project to encourage electric vehicle adoption.

a fuel economy (mpg) sticker
wikimedia

Seven national environmental groups are challenging the EPA's decision to freeze fuel economy standards in the year 2022.

dog97209 / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

In 2009, it was official: China leapfrogged past the United States to become the largest auto market in the world.

The world's most populous country offers lots of opportunities for both domestic and foreign car makers, and Chinese automakers want to go global.

Chrysler logo
Garret Voight / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Twenty years ago this week, Germany's Daimler-Benz AG acquired Chrysler.

 

The Germans described it as "a merger of equals." 

Ford suspends all F-150 production after fire at supplier

May 10, 2018
Ford has halted all production of its best-selling vehicle, the F-150 truck.
Ford Motor Company

Due to a component shortage after a fire at one of its suppliers, Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday it is suspending all production of its best-selling F-150 trucks.

The fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America in Eaton Rapids, Mich. occurred May 2, injuring two people, forcing nearly 150 people to evacuate the building, and destroying portions of the roof, according to The Lansing State Journal. In a news release yesterday, Meridian Magnesium General Manager George Asher said the company is “planning to recall some employees for critical operations as soon as possible.”

Ford display at the 2018 NAIAS in Cobo (with a bit of Chevrolet in the background)
Matthew P. L. Stevens / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

For decades, January in Southeast Michigan has meant it's time for the auto show.  

Thousands trek to Cobo Center for the North American International Auto Show, often picking their way through snow and ice, but it seems that the snow may give way to autumn leaves. 

Starwood Energy Group

General Motors says a new wind farm being constructed in Ohio brings it one step closer to running all its facilities worldwide on 100% renewable energy. 

The 100 megawatt wind farm in northwest Ohio was grandfathered in, before a new law made it almost impossible to build wind farms in that state.

Rob Threlkeld, head of global renewable energy for GM, says the Ohio project, along with one being constructed in Illinois, will offset carbon emissions from seven GM plants in the Midwest.

Gambler car shooting flames
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This weekend, an automotive freak parade stretched from the streets of Detroit to the back woods of Northern Michigan.

It's the second year for the Gambler 500 in Detroit. Piece of junk cars were lined up bumper to bumper for close to half a mile in downtown Troy early Saturday morning.

Road sign inside the self-driving car test site, American Center for Mobility
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

One of the nation's biggest testing grounds for self-driving cars held its grand opening Wednesday.

The American Center for Mobility near Ypsilanti puts the historic Willow Run site to a new and important use.  500 acres surrounding GM's former transmission plant will feature miles of roads to test autonomous cars in all kinds of circumstances and weather.  

2018 Ford Escape
Ford Motor Company

One of Ford's most popular cars, the Escape, has flunked a new crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

The passenger side small overlap crash test shows how well the passenger is protected when the impact is on the right front side of the car, clipping or shearing  25% of the right front area. Such accidents can be extremely dangerous, and kill several hundred passengers a year.

Old White Truck / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Trump administration continues rolling back regulations set under the Obama administration. This time, it’s looking like it could be fuel-efficiency and pollution standards for the auto industry. These guidelines were one of President Obama's signature moves to fight climate change.

Is the Trump administration rolling back standards to a greater degree than auto companies expected? Michelle Krebs, a Detroit-based executive analyst for Autotrader, joined Stateside to discuss what this weakening of the federal targets could mean to the Michigan economy.

An electric car charger with a car in the background
Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, joined Stateside today to talk about what he's calling the "Great Auto Disconnect."

Ford Media Center

What kind of conveniences do you want in your future car? We're talking more than Bluetooth connection, or climate control, or even an autonomous car. How about a water dispenser that you don’t have to fill?

How would that work?

We’re glad you asked, because one of the inventors of a prototype, patent pending, of the On-the-Go H2O joined Stateside today. His name is Doug Martin and he’s a Powertrain Controls Engineer for Ford.

Julie Falk / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation recently joined Stateside to answer your questions about our roads.

It turns out, you had a lot of questions.

potholes in Vandercook Lake
Charlotte Finnegan, an MI Curious question asker

As Michiganders drove to work or school today, many were dodging potholes or rumbling along on cracking or crumbling pavement.

It’s the time of year when the condition of Michigan’s roads makes its way into conversation after conversation. Many wonder what it’s going to take to get Michigan’s roads and highways in better shape.

Jean Beauford / public domain pictures.net

Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard minced no words to describe his reaction to President Trump's announcement that he will impose new tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum.

"What this looks like to me is macho nationalism," says Ballard, "unhindered by any serious thought about the economic repercussions."

Ballard says the tariffs may help workers in the U.S. steel and aluminum industries.

"But for the overwhelming majority of Americans this will raise costs of things that we produce using steel and that we buy using steel and aluminum."

The State of the Takata Airbags

Michigan and 23 other states have settled their lawsuit against airbag maker Takata. 

But the states aren't going to try to collect the money. 

Takata is going bankrupt, so it has limited money for fines, paying automakers for recalls, and compensating victims. 

The states won't go after the $650 million settlement to protect the funds that are available for victims. Twenty-two people have been killed and hundreds of people have been injured with the defective Takata airbags in their vehicles deployed with too much force, spraying them with metal fragments.

public domain

The Trump administration could try to dramatically weaken the vehicle fuel economy standards adopted during the final days of the Obama administration.  

One of the options being considered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would reduce the average fuel economy standard for 2025 from 46 miles per gallon to 36 miles per gallon. 

The agency says that would mean only about 10% of new cars and light trucks would have to be hybrid or plug-in electric, compared to 61% under the previous standard. 

Michigan History Center

 

 

In the early days of making cars, many companies quickly appeared and then disappeared just as fast. 

 

In an article in Michigan History MagazineSteve Ostrander noted there were 34 automakers in the 1920s. One of them was named after a World War I flying ace — Eddie Rickenbacker. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The 2018 North American International Auto Show begins tomorrow, after Friday night's famous must-see and must-be-seen charity gala.

But the most exclusive event associated with the auto show was actually last week. It's a special show featuring ultra-luxury automobiles including the latest Aston Martins, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Rolls Royces.

TRACY SAMILTON / Michigan Radio

 


The 2018 North American International Auto Show has been holding media previews all week.

Tomorrow night is the black-tie Charity Preview, which raises millions for children's charities. The doors open to the public on Saturday.

 

But the Detroit Auto Show may not be as important as it once was. That's the conclusion drawn by Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes after this year's lackluster press days and a shift to holding events outside of the auto show.

Tracy Samilton

The theme of this year's North American International Auto Show is trucks - with a new RAM from Fiat Chrysler, a new Silverado from GM, and a new Ranger from Ford.  

But Honda is showing off a prototype of something a lot more fuel efficient.

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