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 Automobile workers on an assembly line.
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.

Courtesy photo / Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.4 million vehicles to prevent hackers from being able to remotely control the cars and trucks.

A couple of professional hackers worked with a reporter for Wired magazine to remotely access the computer system in a Jeep Cherokee. The magazine has posted a video showing what hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek could do.

They kill the engine, disable the brakes, mess with the A/C and the radio.

Harsha KR / Flickr/creative commons

It can certainly be risky to keep an older loved one behind the wheel if he or she is no longer driving safely.

It can also be risky to take away the keys. Social isolation and the many ills associated with social isolation can be the result.

Ford Motor Company

The United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company are officially in talks for their next four-year contract.

This time, the kickoff ceremony was held off Ford and UAW premises, at Cass Tech High School. The site was chosen to highlight Ford and the UAW's team effort to help the Detroit community.
Raido /

Fiat Chrysler says it has a software remedy available to customers, after two hacking experts took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee using the Internet.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek used the Jeep's UConnect system to gain access to the moving vehicle, which was being operated by WIRED's Andy Greenberg.

Clement Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia/creative commons

It's getting harder and harder to find a car that's worth hating.

For 20 years, the J.D. Power APEAL study has scored brands and vehicles on a scale of 1,000 to determine how gratifying they are to own and drive.

Renee Stephens, V.P. of U.S. automotive quality, says two decades ago, it wasn't unusual for some brands and cars to score in the mid 500's.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan held an opening ceremony for Mcity, a realistic test environment that will be used to develop autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles can navigate without human input. 

Mcity is a 32-acre controlled environment that includes intersections, traffic signs, a highway entrance and exit, and construction obstacles.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan celebrates the completion of "MCity" in a grand opening ceremony on Monday.

MCity is a 32-acre autonomous vehicle test track, designed to resemble a real city and suburb, with stoplights, artificial pedestrians that can be launched suddenly in front of a driverless car, and movable buildings.

Atlanta Jeep Ram Dodge

Earlier this year, Fiat and Chrysler cars ranked at the very bottom of  the 2015 Initial Quality Survey by J.D. Power.

That survey rates brands based on how many problems new car owners experienced in the first 90 days of ownership.

Now, turn that survey on its head, and you'll basically have the results of the 2015 Total Quality Index by Strategic Vision.

Fiat Chrysler was the number-one automaker in the survey, with six vehicles that were rated best for total quality:  The Fiat 500, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Durango, and Ram truck.

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company will build the new Lincoln Continental at its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant, which currently builds the Mustang and Fusion.

Ford did not provide details, including whether there would be additional hires. Flat Rock has about 3,100 employees now.

Lincoln is bringing back the Continental name for its new flagship sedan, expected in 2016. 

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is still wrangling over what to do with the new Wrangler.

The current Wrangler is made in Toledo. 

It could be a victim of its own success.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Why is it that the poorest people in Michigan, the ones who face the biggest struggle to find jobs and get to those jobs, are paying the highest auto insurance rates in the country?

Fiat Chrysler

Is there trouble in store for Fiat Chrysler come September?

Some analysts believe so, saying the automaker faces the greatest risk of a strike by fed up Tier 2 workers at Chrysler.

Tier 2 workers make roughly half the pay of the higher-seniority Tier 1 workers – while doing the same job.

Tier 2 workers also get a lower level of benefits, and they do not get health insurance upon retirement.

Both union leaders and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne agree that it's unfair.

UAW President Dennis Williams chats with GM CEO Mary Barra at the kickoff of the 2015 contract negotiations
Jeffrey Sauger / General Motors

The United Automobile Workers and Fiat-Chrysler open contract talks today. General Motors talks started Monday, and Ford begins late next week.

According to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes, these talks are new territory for the Detroit Three and the UAW.