auto

Auto
5:23 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Ford, GM and Chrysler posted gains in February sales

February was a good month for the Big 3.

The increase is a sign that U.S. auto sales remain strong even in an uneven economy.

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10:19 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Maserati not coming to Detroit

Lead in text: 
Having a Maserati built in Detroit was seen as a symbolic win for the comeback of manufacturing in Michigan. But now it turns out that won't be happening.
Fiat SpA will not build a Maserati in Detroit after all. The Maserati Levante, which shares a common architecture with the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, was supposed to have been built at Chrysler Group LLC's Jefferson North Assembly Plant starting later this year. The decision had been heralded by Gov.
Auto
4:58 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Automakers report double-digit gains

DETROIT (AP) -Last year's momentum in U.S. auto sales is continuing into this year.

Ford, Chrysler and GM are all reporting double-digit gains for January.

Sales at Ford rose 22 percent compared with a year earlier. GM and Chrysler each reported 16 percent gains.

Ford's sales rose on strong sales of pickup trucks and new vehicles.

Auto
1:24 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

GM to close plant near Flint, workers shocked by news

GM announced today the Weld Tool Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan will be closing.
GM Facebook

In another blow to the Flint area, GM announced it will close its Weld Tool Center in Grand Blanc.

The plant is located just southeast of the city of Flint.

Workers at the plant make robotic welding tools used to build cars like the Chevy Cruze, the Volt, and the Sonic.

GM spokesman Tom Wickham said the plant's 323 hourly workers and 28 salaried workers will be offered jobs at other GM plants in the region, according to MLive:

The employees were notified this morning the plant would be shut down, Wickham said...

There are no immediate plans as to what the facility will be used for in the future, Wickham said.

Shaun Byron of MLive talked with some of the workers at the plant who were shocked by the news:

Brad Keskinen of Davison worked with GM since 1977 and at the Grand Blanc Township plant since 2007.

“I’m really disappointed. I thought we had a smart, productive workforce. But it’s evident that the work model was set up for failure,” Keskinen said. “And the announcement comes to a shock to us.”

GM recorded the 'economic impact' of the plant as follows:

  • Wages: $46.5 million (2011)
  • Payroll Taxes: $9.7 million (2011)
  • Property Taxes: $866,000 (2011)

Operations at the plant are expected to wind down in July of this year.

The plant was first built by the U.S. government in 1942. Sherman and Pershing tanks were built there.

Auto
10:06 am
Wed January 16, 2013

GM predicts modest profit growth in 2013

GM Headquarters in downtown Detroit.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors says it expects only a modest increase in pretax profits this year, as it rolls out many new cars and trucks worldwide.

The company also expects global auto sales to grow modestly this year, driven by the U.S. and China.

The company told investors at a Deutsche Bank industry conference in Detroit that its pretax profit margin in North America should rise from 8 to 10 percent in the next three or four years. Profit margin is a measure of how much the company earned after costs of doing business.

GM posted nearly $4 billion in net income during the first nine months of last year, including almost $1.5 billion in the third quarter. The company will announce fourth-quarter and full-year earnings in a few weeks.

Auto
4:50 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Workers fight the dust and fingerprints at the Detroit auto show

Carlos Bryant has been keeping the Bentleys dust and fingerprint free at the Detroit auto show for more than a decade.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

When you walk onto the showroom floor at the North American International Auto Show, the bright lights and polished shine of the cars surround you.

You'd think a wash, wax, and polish for the cars would be good enough.

I mean, these things are indoors. What can muck them up?

Dust. That's what.

And not just dust... fingerprints too! (for heaven's sake)

So at the North American International Auto Show, you see a small army of people hovering over the cars with feather dusters, a little towel, and a spray bottle.

Carlos Bryant has been keeping the Bentleys looking sharp at the Detroit auto show for more than a decade.

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Auto
2:12 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Jeeps to be built in China, Chrysler and Guangzhou announce deal

An electric concept car from Chinese automaker GAC Group at the Detoit auto show.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

At the North American International Auto Show today, the Chinese-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group, or GAC Motors, announced plans to build Jeeps to sell in the Chinese market.

GAC Motors is a state-owned automobile business located in the city of Guangzhou in southern China.

More on the announcement from Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press:

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Auto
11:44 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Judge allows Ohio GM workers to sue over back pay

GM MEDIA

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge says General Motors workers in northeast Ohio can move forward with a lawsuit against the automaker and the United Auto Workers.

The union's request to dismiss the lawsuit was turned down late last week.

Nearly 30 workers at GM's Lordstown factory say they were improperly classified as temporary employees after losing their jobs and then being rehired.

They say the change in classification cut their pay by more than 40 percent and are seeking back pay of $3 million to $4 million.

A local union official at the Lordstown plant where GM makes the Chevy Cruze has said that the workers weren't misrepresented.

Both the union and the company have denied the allegations in court documents.

Auto
2:42 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

GM's new Camaro will be built in Lansing, Canadian union upset

GM says the next generation Chevy Camaro will be assembled in Lansing.
GM

General Motors announced today that the next generation of the Camaro will be built at the Lansing Grand River (LGR) Assembly Plant. The Cadillac CTS and ATS are currently assembled at the Lansing plant.

The move could take a few years, according to the Detroit News.

The current model Camaro is built in Oshawa, Ontario.

The announcement sparked concerns that the move would lead to job losses at the plant in Canada.

Dana Flavelle of the Toronto Star reports the effect on jobs is not known yet.

“At this stage, there’s no immediate impact on employment. In the longer term, we really can’t speculate at this time,” GM Canada spokesperson Faye Roberts said in a conference call with reporters.

The timing will depend on when the product life cycle of the current generation Camaro comes to an end. “We haven’t said a specific time,” Roberts said.

In a statement, GM said "lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies" were reasons for their decision.

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Auto
12:44 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Ford unveils new 'Lincoln Motor Company,' Super Bowl ad to follow

Ford execs unveiling the 2013 Lincoln MKZ earlier this year.
Ford

Ford's luxury brand is being renamed Lincoln Motor Company today. Ford execs introduced the new "The Lincoln Motor Company" during an event at New York City’s Lincoln Center Plaza this morning.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reported that's the name the company had when Ford acquired it in 1922:

Ford's Lincoln brand is troubled.  Sales are poor and the quality of the brand has eroded in recent years.  

Ford promises it will revitalize the Lincoln Motor Company brand, just as it revitalized the Ford brand, and Lincolns will become desirable cars once again, starting with the new 2013 MKZ.   

The hybrid version of the M-K-Z get 45 miles per gallon combined and Ford will sell it for the same price as the non-hybrid.  Other unusual features include a retractable glass roof and a push-button gear shifter.

Three other new Lincolns are in the works.

The company says as proof that it plans to invest in the brand, the company plans to air a spot during the next Super Bowl in February. The ad will be developed "in an unprecedented way," they say.

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Auto
10:27 am
Mon December 3, 2012

A November to remember for U.S. automakers

GM and Chrysler suffered through bankruptcy in large part because it relied so heavily on SUV sales.
user ep_jhu Creative Commons

GM, Ford, and Chrysler all say November sales were the best they've seen in a long time.

More from the Detroit News:

General Motors Co. said Monday it had its best November sales month since 2007, as its 186,505 sales rose 3.4 percent over the same month in 2011...

Ford Motor Co. posted November sales of 177,673, an increase 6 percent, with retail sales jumping 12 percent...

Chrysler Group LLC earlier reported its best November sales since 2007, as it sold 122,565 vehicles in the month, up 14.4 percent from the same month in 2011.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton will have more for us on these numbers later today.

Auto
11:03 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Domestics just don't fit into L.A. lifestyle, LA Auto Show kicks off

Angelinos would rather be seen in one of these than a Ford Focus.

The L.A. Auto Show begins this Wednesday. The big car show on the West Coast is increasingly important to carmakers based in Detroit.

GM, Ford and Chrysler have long struggled to sell their cars on the West Coast.   You'll find a lot of Toyotas, a lot of German luxury cars, and a lot of Lexuses; not so many Chevys, Fords and Jeeps.  

Analyst Jesse Toprak of TrueCar.com says domestic car companies are making progress.

At the very least, fewer people on the West Coast give "poor quality" as the reason they don't drive a domestic brand.   Instead, it's image.

"You know, if you live in a wealthy area in L.A., you just simply won't consider a domestic car because you won't fit in," said Toprak.

Toprak says the LA Auto Show is an important venue for Detroit car companies to reach a lot of people and try to change their minds about buying an American brand.

12:12 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Mulally staying at Ford, Fields promoted

Lead in text: 
Guessing when Ford CEO Alan Mulally will retire has become a favorite game for some auto beat reporters. But now Ford and Mulally have taken all the fun out of it.
Mark Fields, currently Ford president of the Americas, further cements his chances of becoming chief executive of Ford with today's announcement he is being promoted to the new position of chief operating officer, effective Dec. 1. Bill Ford also announced that Alan Mulally, who orchestrated a financial, cultural and product-led turnaround, will remain as CEO and president through 2014.
Economy
2:56 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

DuPont opens innovation center in Michigan

TROY, Mich. (AP) - Chemical giant DuPont Co. is opening an innovation center in suburban Detroit that's aimed at speeding the introduction of new products for the automotive industry.

The Wilmington, Del.-based company's facility opened Thursday. It is DuPont's eighth-such center and is located at its Automotive Development Center in Troy. The innovation center connects DuPont's Detroit-area customer base with 9,500 company scientists and engineers worldwide.

DuPont says one aim of the innovation center is to boost collaboration with customers, government, educational institutions and business partners.

The company already had automotive industry-focused innovation centers in India, South Korea and Japan.

Auto
1:47 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Chrysler leads monthly sales numbers for Big Three

General Motors says its U.S. sales rose about one and a half percent last month, as a big jump in car sales was offset by falling truck sales.

Ford says its U.S. sales were flat in September, like GM, Ford was weighed down by lower truck sales even as sales of its cars rose.

But Chrysler had the best September of the Detroit Three, with a 12 percent increase in sales.

More from the Detroit News:

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11:16 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers and Chrysler reach tentative deal

Lead in text: 
The CAW union and Chrysler have reached a tentative deal similar to the agreements reached with GM and Ford. Ford workers in Canada ratified their agreement earlier this week. GM workers are expected to do so sometime tomorrow. More from CBC Windsor.
The Canadian Auto Workers union Wednesday night announced a tentative deal with Chrysler. Ken Lewenza, the union's president, said the deal is similar to the ones struck with Ford and General Motors on Sept. 14 and 20, respectively.
Transportation
10:58 am
Fri September 21, 2012

GM recalling 480,000 Malibus, Saturns, and Pontiacs; Sonics also recalled

A 2008-2010 Chevy Malibu. One of the models being recalled by GM.
IFCAR wikimedia commons

The Detroit News reports GM is issuing two recall campaigns.

The smaller recall affects bulb indicators on 2013 Chevrolet Sonics.

The larger recall has to do with four-speed automatic transmissions on 2007-10 Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6 models.

More from the Detroit News:

The Detroit automaker said Friday it is recalling 426,240 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn sedans in the United States to repair a condition in which the transmission gear position may not match the gear on the shifter. That could lead to the vehicles rolling when drivers think they are in park.

"The driver would be able to remove the key from the ignition, but the door locks may not unlock automatically and the PARK indicator lamp would not be illuminated. The driver may not be able to restart the vehicle and the vehicle could roll away," GM said.

An investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sparked the discovery of the transmission problem.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports the problem has caused four accidents that GM knows about, but no injuries have been reported.

Dealers will either replace the transmission cable or put reinforcement on it.

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.
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
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.

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