Auto

Ford CEO Alan Mulally
5:52 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Mulally: "My plan is to continue to serve at Ford"

Ford CEO Alan Mulally in New York on Tuesday, touting the new hybrid Fusion's segment-leading fuel economy
Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally says he has NOT told his company's board when he will retire-- contrary to recent media speculation.

Mulally's retirement date is an obsessively pursued story in the auto press.

Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal especially are all vying to be the first to get it right.

Bloomberg said last week that the Board of Ford Motor Company was poised to promote Mark Fields, Ford's President of the Americas.

Read more
3:16 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers and Ford close to agreement, others to follow?

Lead in text: 
The Detroit News has an update on the "Big Three" and their negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union. The deadline for a deal is midnight tonight.
Toronto - Talks between the Canadian Auto Workers union and Chrysler Group LLC may have turned the corner ahead of today's 11:59 p.m. contract deadline. Discussions with the Auburn Hills automaker - which shot back at Ford Motor Co.
Ford, Mulally and Fields
2:38 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Bloomberg, Reuters trying to out-scoop each other on Ford succession story

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's (F.N) board of directors is considering keeping Chief Executive Alan Mulally involved with the No. 2 U.S. automaker after his retirement as nonexecutive chairman, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Auto
1:29 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Mulally leaving Ford? AP lists 3 reasons to worry, and 3 reasons to be hopeful

Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Ever since he turned 65, there's been speculation about his retirement.

Henry Ford's great-grandson said it plainly to the Associated Press... Ford Motor Company was once plagued by internal divisions that dragged the company down.

"At the old Ford, you had heroes and villains," [Bill Ford Jr.] said. "Now, it's, `OK, where do we have issues and how do we solve them?'"

Alan Mulally was brought in by Bill Ford Jr. in 2006 as Ford's new CEO.

Mulally has been credited with righting the ship. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton wrote about how Mulally has changed things at Ford over the last six years.

She writes about how Mulally's retirement has been a point of speculation ever since he turned 65:

...one question invariably comes up during media scrums at Ford Motor Company events. "When are you going to retire?" some reporter or other asks. Now that he's 67, the question is being asked even more frequently

Yesterday, Bloomberg News broke a story about moves the company plans to make:

Ford Motor Co. (F) directors are preparing to promote Mark Fields to chief operating officer from president of the Americas, a move that anoints him as probable successor to Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, according to a person familiar with the plan.

Bloomberg writes Mulally is expected to retire at the end of 2013. Really? So far the company itself is mum.

But the retirement talk, has AP auto reporters Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher writing about life at Ford after Mulally.

They highlight six points about the company.

3 of which they say should worry investors, and three of which they say are encouraging signs.

Read more
Auto
12:07 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

The man brave enough to take Alan Mulally at his word could be Ford's next CEO

ford.wieck.com

Ever since Ford CEO Alan Mulally turned 65, one question invariably comes up during media scrums at Ford Motor Company events.  "When are you going to retire?" some reporter or other asks.

Now that he's 67, the question is being asked even more frequently -- even though the man is by all accounts healthy, extremely fit, and a fierce competitor on the tennis court and golf course - and even though he seems to relish his job.  

Read more
CAW talks
10:02 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Will Canadian Auto Workers union strike? We may know in 5 days

Canadian Auto Workers union

Just five days remain before an existing contract between the Canadian Auto Workers and Ford, GM, and Chrysler  expires. 

Members of the union previously authorized their leaders to call a strike - but it's a double edged sword for the union.

Ken Lewenza is National President of the Canadian Auto Workers.

He says the union is willing to come up with a deal that preserves the Detroit Three's Canadian labor costs as they are now.

Read more
6:03 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

The math behind the Chevy Volt, will it ever add up for GM?

Lead in text: 
Reuters reports on the numbers behind the Volt - "There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce."
Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:18am EDT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August - but that probably isn't a good thing for the automaker's bottom line.
Auto
2:36 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Big 3 U.S. automakers facing strikes in Canada?

Jeff Smith Flickr

There's one week left in contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union, and it appears there are still some major sticking points in negotiations.

We posted last week that the union voted to authorize a strike if they determined one was needed.

Reuters reports plans for a potential strike are moving forward.

Strike captains at the union, which represents about 20,000 members at the three companies, were to meet in Toronto on Monday to advance plans for a triple strike.

"All three bargaining committees are determined to reject these demands and reach a fair deal," the CAW said in a leaflet distributed to members on Monday.

"The union recognizes the fragility of the industry and the need to stabilize fixed costs, while finding a solution rewards members' work. Unfortunately, our efforts have not been met with equal willingness by the companies to negotiate fair terms," the leaflet said.

The last time the Canadian Auto Workers went on strike was in 1996.

August U.S. car sales
5:25 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

GM's Chevy Cruze top-selling compact in August

General Motors

General Motors says sales rose 10-percent in August, compared to the same month a year ago.

The Detroit car company also broke several sales records.

GM says it got a noticeable bump from advertising aired during the Olympics.

Sales of the Chevy Cruze, Volt, Spark and Sonic hit an all-time high.

Those are all small cars.  

The Chevy Cruze, a compact car, even beat Honda's perennial top-performer, the Civic, in August.

Read more
Auto
10:37 am
Tue September 4, 2012

U.S. automakers report strong sales numbers for August

August was a good month for U.S. automakers
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

August was a good month for U.S. automakers compared to a year ago. In total, the big three sold more than 585,700 vehicles last month.

Chrysler had its best month since August 2007, according to the AP, and had sales of more than 148,000 vehicles. They say their sales were led by demand for the Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Ford sold 197,249 vehicles in August, and in a press release said high gas prices led more people to their lineup of vehicles.

“As fuel prices rose again during August, we saw growing numbers of people gravitate toward our fuel-efficient vehicles – cars, utilities and trucks,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

And General Motors sold 240,520 vehicles in August. More than Ford or Chrysler.

In their press release, GM said it's ready for gradual improvements in the economy.

“The single message Chevrolet communicated this summer was ‘confidence’ and it rang true with customers when they saw how our product lineup is being transformed,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. “All four of our brands are building momentum behind new products so we’re very well positioned as the economy continues to slowly improve.”

2:02 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

400 to 500 jobs at American Axle in southwest Michigan

Lead in text: 
American Axle told the Detroit Free Press this morning it plans to "add 400 to 500 jobs in the next couple years" at its Three Rivers driveline plant in southwest Michigan. The company builds drivetrains and driveline systems and components for auto and truck manufacturers. Its biggest customers are Chrysler and GM.
Richard (Dick) Dauch, the combative and sometimes controversial cofounder and CEO of American Axle & Manufacturing since its creation in 1994, is handing over the reins as chief executive to his son David Dauch, effective Saturday. Dick Dauch, 70, will stay on as executive chairman of Detroit-based AAM.
Auto
10:57 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers authorize strike against Ford, Chrysler, GM

User: dmealiffe flickr.com

The Canadian Auto Workers union said today its members have voted to strike against Chrysler, Ford, and GM, if necessary.

The Detroit News reports the CAW is negotiating new contracts with the automakers. Current contracts are set to expire on September 17:

The CAW is expected to meet with the automakers Monday and Tuesday in downtown Toronto.

Read more
Auto
11:42 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Ford's touch screens get thumbs-down from Consumer Reports

Randy Stern Wikimedia Commons

Consumer Reports says it's not just picking on Ford with its latest blog, entitled "Why the MyFord Touch control system stinks."  The magazine says Ford is one of the worst offenders, but it says any car touch screen that takes the driver's eyes off the road is a bad idea. 

MyFord Touch controls the radio, heat or air conditioning, navigation, trip computer, and, well,  just about everything except the gas, brakes and steering wheel. 

Read more
Connected vehicles
11:34 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Brave new connected vehicle world launches at UMTRI this week (VIDEO)

UMTRI technician Stan Baldiss installing a transmitter in a study participant's vehicle
Tracy Samilton Michigan Radio

The world's largest-ever test of connected vehicle technology got underway in Ann Arbor this week.

Experts predict that our cars will one day routinely "talk" to one another with wireless communication devices -- preventing huge numbers of traffic accidents.

Already, ordinary motorists have experienced driving with the devices on closed courses.  One study was held last year at the Michigan International Speedway. 

Now, in the next step, the technology is being tested under real-world conditions.  By October, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI for short) plans to install some version of wireless car-to-car communication devices in nearly 3,000 people's cars, as well as on some city and school busses.

Traffic signal-to-car communication devices will be installed at numerous intersections; others will be mounted near potentially dangerous sections of roadway.

See a video of how the technology works: 

 

For a year, the motorists will travel their usual ways, occasionally crossing paths.

UMTRI will collect the data, which will eventually help researchers determine how well the technology works in real life.   Researchers may be able to prove that a handful of accidents were averted. 

But the real potential for the technology is when it is adopted on a wide scale, in millions of vehicles.

UMTRI Director Peter Sweatman thinks the potential to save lives is huge.

"Motor vehicle injuries and fatalities are the number one public health problem in this country -- I don't think people realize that," Sweatman says, standing in a big garage bay where technicians are installing the devices in study participants' cars.  "Between the ages of 1 and 35 - that's the no. 1 cause of death!"

Read more
Auto
12:30 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Ford sets sights on Toyota with C-MAX news

The 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid.
Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is taking on Toyota in a market the Japanese automaker once dominated - fuel efficient passenger vehicles. The 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid and Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in Hybrid are going on sale this fall.

Ford announced today that the 2013 Ford C-MAX can go further on a tank of gas than the Toyota Prius v.

  • 570 miles for the C-MAX vs. 450 miles for the Prius v.

The 2013 C-MAX hybrid gas-electric vehicle has an mpg rating that is the same for the city and the highway - 47 mpg. Ford notes that is 7 mpg better than Toyota Prius v on the highway.

Read more
Seat belts
6:10 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

State officials remind motorists, 'Wear seat belts,' after L. Brooks doesn't

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt -- in violation of state law -- when his car was struck by another driver on Friday.

Patterson sustained a broken femur and two broken wrists.

Patterson's driver was also not wearing a seat belt - nor was the driver of the Volkswagon Passat that struck Patterson's car.

Anne Readett is a spokeswoman for the state Office of Highway Safety Planning.

Read more
New crash test
1:39 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

New crash test means getting IIHS "top safety pick" a lot harder

Acura TL and Volvo S60-G only two midsize luxury cars to be rated "good" on small overlap crash test.
Acura

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will probably be handing out a lot fewer of its coveted "Top Safety Pick" awards in 2014.

Not because cars will suddenly be less safe - but because of a new test the agency is requiring.  

The Insurance Institute will soon add a test for a so-called "small overlap" crash.

Read more
Auto
3:52 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Dodge to withdraw from NASCAR racing in 2013

Dodge

Dodge will withdraw from NASCAR competition at the conclusion of the 2012 season - this after its partner Penske Racing announced earlier this year that it had decided to switch to Ford Motor Company in 2013.

Chrysler's Ralph Gilles said the company "couldn't make the pieces of the puzzle fit together" in trying to find a new racing team that would maintain the level of competition Dodge wanted to maintain.

He didn't rule out re-entering NASCAR competition at a later time.

Auto
10:55 am
Tue August 7, 2012

GM needs to take Spyker lawsuit "seriously" say experts

Dutch car company Spyker is suing General Motors for three billion dollars over the bankruptcy of GM's former brand, Saab.

Spyker says GM illegally interfered with a sale of part of Saab, and claims it was that interference which caused Saab's bankruptcy. 

GM sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, with a stipulation that Spyker would have to obtain GM's permission to sell Saab to anyone else.

Spyker almost immediately ran into financial problems trying to keep Saab afloat.  

Read more
Auto
2:09 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Ford adds 225 jobs in Sterling Heights to build hybrid transmissions

Ford Focus C-Max
user: Matthias93 Wikimedia Commons

Ford Motor Company is hiring 225 workers to run a new hybrid-electric transmission assembly line at the Sterling Heights plant.

The Associated Press reports Ford is investing $220 million in the Van Dyke Transmission plant to make the new transmission.

Ford used to purchase its hybrid transmissions from Japan, but the Van Dyke plant's new assembly line will construct Ford's first domestically designed and produced hybrid transmission.

Hybrid versions of the C-Max, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans will sport the new transmission beginning this fall, as well as the plug-in hybrid versions of the Fusion and the soon-to-be-released C-Max.

In a press release, the company says the plant already added 130 jobs as part of the launch, and the remaining employees will start work by the end of the month.

Ford says the plant is now the only producer of front-wheel-drive hybrid transmissions in North America, though General Motors Co. makes rear-wheel-drive hybrid transmissions in Maryland, the AP reports.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Pages