Daniel Howes

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

So Bill Ford wants the Blue Oval to buy the decrepit Michigan Central Depot. You know that toothless edifice, empty and decaying since 1988, towering over Detroit’s Corktown. It’s an 18-story high reminder of the industrial and financial decline that has been synonymous with this town.         

Until very recently.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The Blue Oval has seen the future, and it looks a whole lot like its past.

Ford Motor claims a rich heritage building the nation’s best-selling pickup and the best-selling three-row SUV. Its Mustang is an American icon. And its performance pedigree is enjoying a renaissance under product planners who understand emotion still matters in the business.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Doesn’t matter to Donald Trump what his fellow Republicans say.

Or what Wall Street and America’s closest allies say.

The president wants tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and this week he got them, along with some last-minute carve outs for those national security threats known as Canada and Mexico.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

There’s a new automaker in town.

Mahindra comes from India. It’s been assembling Jeep-derived vehicles in Mumbai for 70 years. Now, it’s got its own version for the off-road utility market of hunters, farmers and groundskeepers, and it’s going to be rolling off a metro Detroit assembly line.

All just a few miles from Jeep’s headquarters.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

In the land of Big Three universities and football wins, tiny Marygrove College doesn’t much matter. That’s the Michigan way – a not-so-flattering reflection of its warped values.

That’s a mistake. Marygrove is the creation of Catholic sisters from Monroe still deeply committed to helping Detroit. They opened Marygrove in 1927, establishing what became the state’s only predominantly African-American small liberal arts college. In later years, many of the students were the first in their families to go to college and most of them hailed from Detroit.

The old library entry at Marygrove College in Detroit.
Marygrove College Library / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


The wolf was at the door for Marygrove College.  

After nearly a century, the small liberal arts college in Northwest Detroit was drowning in debt and enrollment was shrinking

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The push is on to change the way Michigan selects trustees for its Big Three universities.

Using statewide ballots to choose trustees is no way to govern highly paid university presidents running multi-billion dollar institutions.

Michigan is the only state in the country to do it that way.

In the school of bad practices, the home of the Green and White perennially contends for Number One. Time for that to change.

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler speaks at Hillsdale College on on January 25, 2009.
Chuck Grimmett / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University is consumed by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. It’s so far claimed the school’s president, its athletic director and a growing chunk of its reputation. So, what does MSU’S partisan Board of Trustees do? They tap former Republican governor John Engler as interim president.

As confidence-building measures go, the move doesn’t rank among the best of them. It nakedly exposes just how partisan the governance of MSU really is – and how irrelevant the students, the faculty and transparency are to those making the decisions.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Michigan’s Big Three universities have a big problem, and it starts in the boardroom.

Michigan is the only state in the country that elects its major university trustees by at-large statewide ballots. They don’t represent districts.

Few have the sharp business acumen needed to govern multi-billion dollar institutions. And as the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal in East Lansing shows, it doesn’t hold them accountable, either.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page


Michigan’s hopes of hosting Amazon’s second headquarters crashed into pieces when Detroit failed to make the list of 20 finalists.


It’s a sign that there’s a lot of work to do to burnish Michigan’s business image across the country and around the world.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s comeback narrative doesn’t play in Seattle.

That’s the home of Amazon, the giant online retailer. It dropped the Motor City this week from its list of towns vying to land the company’s second North American headquarters.

Realists will not be surprised.

TRACY SAMILTON / Michigan Radio


The 2018 North American International Auto Show has been holding media previews all week.

Tomorrow night is the black-tie Charity Preview, which raises millions for children's charities. The doors open to the public on Saturday.


But the Detroit Auto Show may not be as important as it once was. That's the conclusion drawn by Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes after this year's lackluster press days and a shift to holding events outside of the auto show.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The future arrived Friday, courtesy of General Motors.

Just in time for the Detroit auto show. Imagine that.

Yep, that alleged archetype of American industrial decline says it will have a fully self-driving car on the road next year.

Not in three years, like its rival Ford. Not in whenever, like Elon Musk and his Tesla. Next year.

But let’s be clear: This isn’t the end of road for anything. It’s barely the beginning of the revolution transforming the auto industry.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The American car is dying.

And it took an Italian to point it out.

That’d be ol’ Sergio Marchionne. He’s the heretical CEO who shocked the industry when he said Fiat Chrysler would stop producing cars in its U.S. plants. They’d be converted to building higher-margin SUVs because that’s what Americans want in more shapes and sizes. 

Eric Neitzel / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg



Time's running out on the American car.

That's the conclusion drawn by Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes after the automakers released their year-end sales results, and after some news coming out of the Ford Glass House.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

For way too long, the Detroit narrative arced only one way – and it was down.

It’s the nation’s poorest major city. It’s home to “ruin porn,” an American affliction so fascinating to condescending Europeans. Nearly half of the city’s adults are functionally illiterate, we’re told. And economic revival of this moribund municipality is about as likely as achieving peace in the Middle East.

Detroit People Mover
Sönke Biehl / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0



Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, joined Stateside to look at Detroit's year in review. He shared his takeaways about Detroit's progress post-bankruptcy and what to look forward to in Detroit's future from the auto industry and its neighborhoods.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

After nearly 20 years of waiting, nostalgia-mad Detroit got what it’s long been waiting for. Mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert, architect of downtown’s revival, cut the ribbon on the site of the ol’ J.L. Hudson’s store.

It’ll be a, quote, “city within a city.” It’ll be a “vertical” statement. It’ll be the tallest building in Detroit, overtaking that one built by the last pair of heavyweights who aimed to change the city's direction by sheer force of will.

Max Fisher and Al Taubman meant well with the Renaissance Center. But their timing stunk. Gilbert? Not so much.

Detroit's Renaissance Center
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0




Just weeks after being linked with a federal grand jury probe into auto industry corruption, a retired UAW vice president has resigned his seat on the board of General Motors.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes co-reported this story with his colleague Robert Snell. Howes joined Stateside today to share his updates.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

With apologies to Mark Twain, rumors that Detroit’s clunky ol’ auto industry can’t compete for talent and can’t compete with Silicon Valley may be greatly exaggerated.

A set of surveys by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto unit, out this week, shows an auto industry regaining favor with would-be employees and the people who influence them. It shows a 14-point gain when asked whether young people would consider a career in the auto space.

Delphi car
Marco Verch, https://goo.gl/3xb6Mt / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Re-inventing the future by reckoning with the past and dealing with the realities of the present.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says that's what we're seeing with a major change in the big auto supplier Delphi.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The global auto industry descended on La-La Land this week, and the biggest buzz came from – wait for it – General Motors.

Not because its electrified nemesis, Elon Musk’s Tesla, didn’t carve out a corner of the Los Angeles Convention Center. It did. By parking a long-awaited Model 3 compact – in the corner. America’s greenest state is Tesla country.

But even belief bordering on religious faith in Tesla can’t change the fact that grubby ol’ GM appears to be beating Musk’s baby to the autonomous punch.

Imagine that.

2018 Lincoln Navigator
David Pinter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Word came from the LA Auto Show this week: Ford's luxury brand Lincoln is doing a reboot.

They're ditching the confusing letters-only name of MKX, and giving their midsize SUV a real name: Nautilus.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Our Canadian friends at Enbridge Energy may have a Trump problem with their Line 5. You’ve heard about Line 5 by now. It’s the pipeline – laid in the mid '50s – before the Mighty Mac connected the Upper and Lower peninsulas.

Just a few months ago, tiny patches of coating were said to be worn off the pipeline. Now the company is telling the state and anyone else who cares – and in the Great Lakes State a lot of people care – there’s more missing.

A dive team works on Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It’s been a steady drip-drip-drip of revelations from Enbridge Energy about its Line 5 — the oil and gas pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The latest revelation is that there are more spots where the protective coating has worn off — lots more spots, even though a year ago we were told there weren’t any coating gaps.

The latest admission from the Canadian energy company drew a quick response from a plainly exasperated Governor Snyder, who called Enbridge’s “lack of transparency” to be “deeply troubling.”

But what are we hearing from Michigan's business leaders?

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Mayor Duggan cruised to re-election on Tuesday. 

Now comes the hard part.

During the city's bankruptcy, heavyweights used the city's dire economy to do what the mayor couldn't do in his first term. 

That included restructuring the city's budget, retiring debt, and renegotiating labor contracts with the city’s unions for the first time in decades.

Now, the mayor has to sustain the momentum behind Detroit’s reinvention. He needs to work with his departments — and persuade business investors — to broaden the redevelopment push into the city’s neighborhoods.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers may be facing a crisis of credibility.

Credit the justice department. What started as an investigation into corruption at Fiat Chrysler’s union training center is now broadening to General Motors and Ford Motor. As my dad would say: This is no joke.

For decades, the UAW enjoyed a reputation mostly free of financial scandal and corruption allegations. Now many of its ranking leaders and their charitable non-profits are part of subpoenas seeking records and raising one big question:

Who’s benefiting?

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
Bill VanderMolen/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Four months ago, corruption charges were filed against a former Fiat Chrysler labor executive, and the wife of the late UAW vice president General Holiefield. They're accused of funneling millions intended for training UAW workers into their own pockets.

Today, the Detroit News reported that federal agents have broadened this corruption investigation to include a member of the General Motors board, plus the head of the UAW's GM department. The feds are also looking into the UAW training centers funded by GM and Ford.

Flint only has one choice for its water supply

Oct 28, 2017
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

This week's boil-water disaster in Oakland County may not instill much confidence in Flint City Council members.

They’re being pushed to green-light a deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority. But they should consider the alternatives.

There aren’t any.

Not for a place marinated in the politics of water, bureaucratic incompetence at all levels of government, and the high cost of bad decision-making.

University of Michigan Professor Rosina Bierbaum says scandals like Flint's water crisis have eroded public trust in the safety of drinking water
Courtesy of Raiz Up

There's a political and legal battle happening over Flint's drinking water.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson ordered Flint's City Council to choose a long-term source of drinking water, scolding the council for taking so long to green light the city's deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The Council punted this week, okaying a short-term deal with the GLWA. But the tug of war between Flint's Mayor Karen Weaver, the council, the state, and Judge Lawson continues.