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12:19 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Chrysler becomes subsidiary of Fiat

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
media.chrysler.com media.chrysler.com

MILAN (AP) - The Italian carmaker Fiat says its acquisition of the final Chrysler stake is complete, making the U.S. car company a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fiat.

Fiat SpA said Tuesday that it closed the deal announced Jan. 1 with the cash payment of $1.75 billion to a union-controlled trust fund. That's on top of an initial $1.9-billion payment, which was arranged through a special distribution from Chrysler. Fiat also made the first installment on an additional $700 million payment.

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Auto
4:47 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Detroit auto show opens to the public

A Fiat product specialist at the auto show
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has opened its doors to the public.

The annual event began Saturday at Cobo Center following a week of previews for journalists and others in the industry. A race-worthy Corvette, a sumptuous Mercedes C-Class and other glitzy models catch the eye at the show, which runs through Jan. 26.

Auto
9:47 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Meet the workers who power Detroit's Auto Show

A Fiat product specialist at the auto show
Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, the focus is naturally on the cars.

But behind the scenes, more than 2,000 people labor to make sure visitors are impressed by what they see.

Detroit has hosted an auto show for over a century now. And in a place known as the Motor City, it’s always been a pretty big deal.

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Stateside
3:46 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

News from the Detroit Auto Show: The future of GM, a new Chrysler headquarters, and driverless cars

Shots of the 2012 Auto Show.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Media preview days are in full swing at the North American International Auto Show.

Over 5,000 reporters from around the world have converged on Cobo Center, including Daniel Howes, a business columnist with The Detroit News.

Howes talks with us about the big car news to come out of the auto show.

Listen to full interview above.

Auto
9:56 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Driverless car test site aims to open by fall in Michigan

A glass panel display shows how vehicles equipped with the new technology will be able to communicate with one another and roadway infrastructure, like traffic signals at an August, 2012 Ann Arbor event on driverless cars.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - University of Michigan and state government officials aim to have a 32-acre driverless car test site running by September - in time for a global conference on intelligent transportation systems.

Gov. Rick Snyder and other state and university officials gathered Tuesday at Detroit's auto show to outline plans for the Mobility Transformation Facility, a $6.5 million site on the Ann Arbor university's North Campus.

It will offer a simulated urban environment with roads, intersections, building facades, traffic circles and a hill.

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Auto
6:26 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

General Motors' quarterly dividend is back

General Motors (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors Co. says it will resume paying a quarterly dividend, its first since the height of the financial crisis in 2008

The U.S. automaker's CEO Dan Akerson had hinted that a dividend may be coming and the company confirmed the move Tuesday. General Motors says its dividend of 30 cents per share is payable March 28 to stockholders of record as of March 18.

The Detroit-based company says investors should share in the company's success and that the dividend is a signal of confidence for a profitable future.

Auto
12:37 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

With the Chrysler 200, automaker is looking to "redefine" a changing brand

The Chrysler 200

Chrysler introduced the car it’s promising will “redefine the brand” at Detroit’s auto show Monday.

The “flagship” 2015 Chrysler 200 is the Auburn Hills-based automaker’s first venture into the highly competitive mid-size sedan market in more than a decade.

Chrysler officials say the model will go “head-to-head” with its competitors in terms of quality, design and – at just under $22,000 – price.

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Auto
9:05 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Ford takes calculated risk with aluminum F-150

One of the F150s owned by Plantwise at site of controlled burn.
David Mindell

Ford Motor Company revealed a groundbreaking change for its top-selling F-150 truck at the North American International Auto Show on Monday. The new truck will have a body made mostly of aluminum instead of steel.

Ford is taking the calculated risk to retain its crown as the number one seller of pickups in the world.

Ford is banking on the loyalty of F-150 owners like David Mindell, CEO of Plantwise, a company that specializes in native plant landscaping and wetlands restoration.

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Auto
5:10 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Detroit's auto show celebrates 25 years in the big leagues

Detroit's North American International Auto Show (file photo).
Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

This week's opening of the auto show at Cobo Center in Detroit marks 25 years since the show took its jump into the big time. 

What used to be the "Detroit Auto Show" became the North American International Auto Show, putting Detroit square in the center of the auto show universe. 

Detroit Free Press Business columnist Tom Walsh explores the show's history.

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F-150
9:42 am
Mon January 13, 2014

NAIAS: New F-150 with aluminum will be tough and strong, says Ford

New Ford F-150
media.ford.com

In a calculated risk meant to ensure Ford remains the leader in full-size pickups – and to meet upcoming truck fuel economy standards – the Dearborn automaker revealed a new F-150 that will shed about 700 pounds of its weight by switching much of the body to aluminum.

The company stresses that the frame of the truck will remain high-strength steel, but, "pound for pound, aluminum is stronger than steel," Ford CEO Alan Mulally told reporters after the event, which featured several F-150s bursting through a paper barrier designed to look like a concrete wall.

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Auto
9:04 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Reporter's notebook: No one crushed during new GM CEO's first scrum

GM CEO Mary Barra introduces GMC Canyon
General Motors

Media had their first chance to see General Motor's new CEO Mary Barra in action Sunday night.  Barra introduced the new GMC Canyon.

Afterwards, she went through the trial by fire known as a media scrum, her first.  Barra was surrounded on almost all sides by a huge crowd of reporters.  Her GM handlers made sure her back was to a truck, to give her an exit strategy.

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Auto
7:21 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

New GM CEO hopes to inspire science students

Mary Barra
Credit gm.com

The incoming CEO of General Motors hopes her appointment as the first woman to lead a global automaker will inspire young women and men to pursue careers in science.

Mary Barra's first appearance before reporters since getting the job eclipsed the rollout of the GMC Canyon small pickup truck.

Barra unveiled the truck and was immediately surrounded by hundreds of journalists Sunday at an old industrial site in Detroit.

She hopes her background as an electrical engineer encourages young people into studying science, technology, engineering or math.

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Auto
6:52 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Detroit auto show 'super' boost for ailing city

North American International Auto Show (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Call it a 21st century paradox.

The city of Detroit is in bankruptcy, mired in debt of at least $18 billion. But the industry it's synonymous with has left its own financial problems in the rearview mirror.

This month, the industry comes to the Detroit area's aid, with an economic boost estimated near $400 million from its annual North American International Auto Show.

The impact isn't solely financial. A successful show can help give local residents and businesses confidence that the city can get back on its feet again.

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Stateside
8:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Daniel Howes on the upcoming North American International Auto Show

A photo from the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
Wikipedia

It's Thursday, time for the first check-in of this New Year with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Understandably, he has the auto industry on his mind as we prepare for next week's opening of the North American International Auto Show. He got an early look at the show, and he joined us today to discuss it. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Auto
7:48 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Ford CEO Mulally says he's not leaving for Microsoft

Ford CEO Alan Mulally (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he will not leave the automaker for Microsoft and will stay at Ford at least through 2014.

Mulally is widely credited with saving Ford after being hired away from Boeing in 2006. But in recent months there have been numerous reports that he was in the running for the top job at Microsoft, where CEO Steve Ballmer has said he plans to leave the company sometime this year.

Stateside
4:32 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Looking at the year ahead for the auto industry

The North American International Auto Show is even tough for the Michelin Man.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

The 2014 North American International Auto Show is just around the corner.

Reporters from around the world will descend on Detroit's Cobo Center next week for the media preview days, the big black-tie Charity Preview is on Jan. 17, and the doors open to the public on Saturday, Jan. 18.

With that in mind, we wanted to see what the upcoming year might bring for the auto industry. For that we turn to Michelle Krebs from Edmunds.com, and Michigan Radio’s auto reporter, Tracy Samilton.

*Listen to the audio above.

Auto
6:45 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Fiat to own 100% of Chrysler by January 20

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Fiat began the new year with a pretty big announcement: It will soon have full ownership of Chrysler.

The Italian automaker owns 59% of Chrysler, and will buy the 41% stake owned by the VEBA -- a trust set up to pay for union retiree health care -- by January 20.

The company will pay $3.65 billion. The company will also pay the VEBA an additional $700 million, split into four equal payments, made over the next four years.

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Auto
9:55 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Ford calls 2013 one of best financial years ever

Ford Motor Company

DETROIT (AP) - Ford says it expects 2013 to be one of the best financial years in its history with a pretax profit of about $8.5 billion.

The automaker expects 10% revenue growth, improved market share in all regions except Europe and stronger cash flow than a year ago.

The company released its forecast Wednesday ahead of a presentation to analysts by Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.

Ford also expects next year to be solid. It plans to launch the highest number of new vehicles in a single year in more than a century.

Auto
4:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson says they've 'been trying to fix this airplane while in air'

Dan Akerson speaking at the National Press Club.
NPC screen shot from YouTube

Outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson spoke to the National Press Club this afternoon cataloging all the changes the company has made to make it profitable once again.

The U.S. Treasury sold the last of its holdings in the company earlier this month. The government said they lost about $10 billion on its bailout of over $49 billion.

Akerson said over the last four years, the company has invested more than $10 billion in its U.S. operations, including $1.27 billion announced today.

"There's that $10 billion again. But we're investing it - that will keep paying dividends to the American public that supported this company in its darkest hour," said Akerson. 

Akerson said the company is still in the early chapters of the comeback story and that they still have a lot to prove to people who left the brand for other car companies.

Akerson will step down as CEO on January 15, 2014. Akerson was with the Carlyle Group prior to taking the helm at GM in 2010. The global auto industry will see its first female CEO when Marry Barra takes over in January.

You can watch Akerson's address to the National Press Club below:

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Auto
1:25 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

GM to invest $1.27 billion into plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

GM's Flint Assembly will get an upgrade.
GM

GM made the announcement today and said the investments in the manufacturing plants "will create or retain about 1,000 jobs."

The investments will be made in these five plants:

  1. Flint Assembly 
  2. Romulus Powertrain Operations
  3. Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly
  4. Toledo Transmission Operations
  5. Bedford Castings in Indiana

GM says the investments "will support production of a new V6 engine, new 10-speed transmission and an existing 6-speed transmission. They will also fund assembly plant upgrades, including a new paint shop and logistics optimization center."

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