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auto industry

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

  LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says a major automotive supplier could expand its operations in Michigan and an Italian biotech company is considering Michigan as a place to which to locate in the U.S.

Snyder is wrapping up a weeklong trade trip to Europe. He met with business executives in France, Germany and Italy - both to touch base with those whose companies already have a presence in Michigan and to explore potential new opportunities.

Emilio Labrador / Flickr

New car sales have reached a plateau, according to Michelle Krebs of Autotrader. 

Krebs says May's sales could be flat or just slightly higher compared to last year.  That follows several months of sales being down slightly.

She says one reason is the cost of everything, including a new car, is going up, but incomes aren't.  The average price for a new car is now $30,000. 

"The price of shelter, of health care, of education have gone up even more," says Krebs, "and yet household income has stagnated."

Ford Motor Company's headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford Motor Company

Slumping stock was the undoing of Mark Fields as CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes said Fields’ successor Jim Hackett must rally his team to full battle mode, even though times are good and profits are fat.

Two auto workers on an assembly line
AUTOMOTIVEAUTO.INFO

Michigan is not the only place where car manufacturers have left to find cheaper labor and materials elsewhere. By the end of this year, not a single new car will be made in Australia.

Ford Motor Co. headquarters
Ford Motor Company

The Ford Motor Company is planning to cut its global workforce by about 10%.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the cuts aim to boost the company's profits and stock price. The report states that the company's stock has fallen in the three years since Mark Fields become CEO.

Auto sales fell in March and April, with Ford falling 7.2% in year-over-year sales.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Auto companies posted their second consecutive monthly sales decline in April.

Some analysts believe this is a sign the automakers’ seven-year winning streak is coming to an end.

Since 2010, Ford, General Motors and other automakers have seen their monthly sales grow and grow. Automakers sold a record 17.55 million vehicles in 2016.  

However, the car companies have been relying more and more on discounts and deals to bring buyers in.   But even that hasn’t been enough lately.

Case in point: April, which was not a good month for the auto companies.

GM Building in Detroit
ANDREA_44 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

After nearly 70 years, General Motors is no longer operating in Venezuela.

Venezuelan authorities unexpectedly seized a GM plant yesterday earlier this week, a trend that has been common over the past few years as the country is in political unrest.

The GM plant stopped making cars in 2015 due to poor economic conditions in the country, but had been making auto parts instead.

NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

These days, Detroit is all about showing it’s new. It’s different. That it’s learned from the past.

Then what happened at the New York Auto Show this week? Markets collided, and the winners are buyers of trucks, SUVs and even muscle cars, not investors hot for all things electric.

Major players transformed the Big Apple into a shameless celebration of size and horsepower. It’s more evidence that the emissions-free future touted by the industry and rewarded by traders is trumped by reality, that is: consumer demand, low interest rates and cheap gas.

Lincoln

 

The big auto shows are a chance for automakers to show everyone what they're all about.

 

Automakers are making huge investments in electric cars and autonomous driving technology.  But muscle cars and big, luxurious SUVs were the stars at this week's New York International Auto Show.

 

 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes spoke with Cynthia Canty about the New York show’s “shameless celebration of size and horsepower.”

A Tesla electronic car at a charging station
Austin Kirk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's a tiny company packing a big punch with investors.

Electric car maker Tesla now has a higher market value than Ford. It's just behind General Motors at the top of the list. 

Ford Motor Co. headquarters
Ford Motor Company

U.S. automakers sold 1.56 million new cars and trucks in March. That's down 1.6% from this time last year.

American and Chinese flags
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

President Donald Trump wants U.S. automakers to build their vehicles in the United States. U.S. carmakers want him to ease up on upcoming emissions regulations.

That's the framework for the president's visit with auto leaders today in Ypsilanti. The visit comes right on the heels of Ford's announcement that its luxury Lincoln unit will start building SUVs in China with a local partner.

GM Building in Detroit
ANDREA_44 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The big story from General Motors is its decision to bail on the European market by selling off its Opel and Vauxhall units to the French PSA Group.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes thinks there will be more to come in this worldwide automotive "dating game."

Steve Shotwell / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

During the presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump blasted Ford Motor Company for building cars in Mexico. But despite the rocky start, a recent Bloomberg piece explains how Bill Ford, Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, is trying to maintain a relationship with the president.

Michael Vadon / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With a new president comes new challenges for America’s business leaders, Detroit automakers included.

In a recent column for The Detroit News, Daniel Howes wrote that President Trump “isn’t making things easy for CEOs.” Today, the Detroit News columnist joined Stateside to explain.

“Essentially he’s saying, ‘Look, we’re going to cut taxes and reform regulations, but I’m going to tell you how to run your business,’” Howes said.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The president rightly credited with saving Detroit’s auto industry from itself is gone. Barack Obama’s $80 billion-dollar decision remains controversial but the outcome is much less so.

President Barack Obama in Detroit on Labor Day in 2011.
screen grab from YouTube video

President Barack Obama leaves office tomorrow and he leaves behind a complicated legacy when it comes to the auto industry.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes reviews Obama’s relationship with automakers in his latest column.

The Honda Ridgeline won the 2017 North American Truck of the Year.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Reporters from around the world have spent the week checking out the offerings at the North American International Auto Show.

Today, suppliers got their turn. The black-tie charity preview is tomorrow night and Saturday morning, the doors at the Cobo Center open to the public.

Paul Eisenstein is the publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com and he joined Stateside to talk about the buzz surrounding this year's auto show, a major shift in the industry and the latest news about Chrysler getting in trouble with the EPA. 

President Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's been something besides the shiny new cars, SUVs and trucks grabbing attention this week at the North American International Auto Show.

That something is the uncertain future for the auto industry under incoming President Donald Trump.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about some of the anxiety that exists in the auto industry and what some experts are saying about a potential repeal of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

According to Daniel Howes, if automakers have to pay more in taxes and tariffs for building outside the U.S., the cost of vehicles could go up for American consumers.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The U.S. auto industry came into the crosshairs of President-elect Donald Trump's Twitter feed this week. Trump aimed a Tweet straight at General Motors, grumbling about GM's building of the Chevy Cruze in Mexico.

Andrea_44 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President-elect Trump was busy on Twitter Tuesday morning, this time firing a warning shot across the bow of General Motors.

To quote Mr Trump: "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to US car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A or pay big border tax!"

Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst for Autotrader, joined Stateside to talk about the situation between the president-elect and the power he is attempting to show over the auto industry.

The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant has been producing the Chevy Volt since 2011.
user calypsocom / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was recently announced that General Motors will cut the second shift from its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant next March. Nearly 1,200 workers will be affected.

This comes on the heels of GM's announcement that five of its U.S. assembly plants -- including Detroit-Hamtramck and Lansing Grand River -- will close down for anywhere from one to three weeks in January.

That will temporarily idle over 10,000 workers.

2013 North American International Auto Show
wikimedia user F. D. Richards / wikimedia user F. D. Richards

Michigan has historically had an uphill climb to attract investor dollars.

But that’s changing.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says the smart money is placing bets on Detroit and on Michigan, and that's changing the narrative of both.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Business leaders are coming to terms with the brave new Trumpworld and the hometown automakers think they may have a new ally in the White House.

Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields says the automaker’s brass is in “constant communication” with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.

Bill Ford at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland
flickr user Web Summit / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

In a little over two months, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes is digging into what that could mean for our auto industry.

Trump rally in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
user Michael Candelori / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

“The Rust Belt revenge.”

That’s how Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes views the Election Day surprise that put Donald Trump in the White House and secured both Houses of Congress for the Republican Party.

In Howes’ view, the Rust Belt vote came together as a many-throated cry of “Listen to us!”

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says Ford could stand to refresh its model lineup, and should invest more in connected vehicles.
Ford Motor Company

The Next Idea

Start talking about Willow Run and chances are pretty good that images of Rosie The Riveters building B-24 bombers in World War II come to mind.

But there are big plans being cooked up to transform the old factory grounds near Ypsilanti into a highly advanced proving ground for autonomous and connected vehicles.

Pete Bigelow spells it all out in his story for Car and Driver.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says Ford could stand to refresh its model lineup, and should invest more in connected vehicles.
Ford Motor Company

Picture the starting line at a foot race. In one lane, you've got the auto companies and the supply side. In the other lane, Silicon Valley heavyweights and enterprising start-ups. At the finish line: who gets the big momentum and the money.

The future of the mobility business is ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles which could be a multi-trillion-dollar worldwide industry. So there is a lot on the line. 

Detroit skyline as viewed from Windsor, Ontario
flickr user Michael Stout / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The ties between Michigan and Ontario just got stronger. 

Governor Rick Snyder and Ontario Premier Kathleen Winne recently signed an agreement to set up an alliance between the auto industries of Michigan and Ontario. 

Ontario Minister of Economic Growth and Alliance Brad Duguid joined us today to talk about the two regions' strengths and weaknesses in the auto industry, and why, given the choice, Ontario and Michigan chose to work together rather than compete with each other. 

1948 Tucker sedan
Courtesy of Steve Lehto

In the 1940s, Preston Tucker had a dream. The car salesman from Ypsilanti wanted to give a war-weary America a brand new car. A car for the future.

But that dream was torpedoed by the Securities and Exchanges Commission, which chased him down with accusations of fraud.

Tucker's is one of the most interesting and sad stories in American business history. 

Writer Steve Lehto explores the rise and fall of this fascinating entrepreneur in his newest book, Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow.

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