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Daniel Howes

M-1 RAIL / Facebook

Sixty one years after General Motors buses replaced Detroit’s streetcars, they’re back.

The QLine fleet started rolling along Woodward yesterday, tracing a 6.6-mile round trip that is the next step forward in the reinvention of Detroit. As signs go, it’s about as positive as you can get for the downtown a lot of Detroiters — in the city and in the suburbs — long ago gave up for dead.

M-1 Rail streetcar design
M-1 Rail

The QLINE is a new streetcar system that will run along a 3.3 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The line debuts this Friday.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wrote this week about the QLINE and what it means for the city’s reinvention.

Although some in the city have criticized the project, Howes said critics should give the project a chance.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Anthony Quintano / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Facebook’s 32-year-old billionaire founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has been touring the country. He made stops in Michigan recently. He toured Ford’s Rouge plant and even tried his hand at putting parts on an F-150 pickup truck. Turns out time on the assembly line is hard work. He also privately met with Muslim students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

flickr.com/photos/briansolis/2321406871

You may have heard that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently chose little ol’ Dearborn to lean into the real world. Good choice, even if the mogul’s posts after his visit proved Detroit isn’t the only patch of America living and working in a bubble. Silicon Valley is, too.



Audio FileDaniel Howes, April 29, 2017Edit | Remove

  As wake up calls go, think tank reports ain’t much.

Yeah, they marshal the grim statistics. They make harsh comparisons. They tell the people who bother to read them, mostly the already converted, just how Michigan is failing in education and job growth, in per-capita income and in the number of adults who work.

General Motors headquarters in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio file photo

Recent reports show that auto sales have slipped more than expected. That’s the fourth month in a row of declining sales.

And Wall Street responded. Share prices of the big three took a hit.

Fiat ensignia on a vehicle
Martin Abegglen / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's a double dose of good news for Fiat Chrysler.

First-quarter profits are coming in, and Fiat Chrysler net profits are up 34% over year-ago levels, including a strong showing in Europe.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

By now you’ve heard about Michigan’s “Comeback.”

You can find it in booming auto sales and fat corporate profits. You can feel it in a 5.1% unemployment rate. That’s roughly a third of its high point in the throes of the Great Recession.

You can see the revival all over downtown Detroit. That’s where billions in fresh capital are remaking an urban core into the kind of hip and happening place that a lot of folks thought they’d never see in the city America gave up for dead.

But that’s only part of the story.

A photo collage of Flint, Michigan
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's the newest twist in the tragic story of Flint and its water.

Mayor Karen Weaver wants her city to keep drawing its water from the Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority for the next 30 years.

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.”

The Tesla Model S, first introduced in June 2012
Tesla Motors

Here’s the latest Detroit indignity: Tiny Tesla, the electric automaker, is felling giants.

The Silicon Valley startup created in 2003 is worth more in market value than the American industrial icon founded exactly 100 years earlier by Henry Ford, the premier innovator of his time.

Tesla’s not far behind General Motors, either. The promise of game-changing innovation, the hope that someone new can crack the emissions-free code is causing tons of smart money to flow into Chairman Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Nearly $49 billion-worth, to be precise.

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

Forget the “Lost Decade.”

Profitable automakers racing for the new-new thing of mobility are starting to create the "Next Decade." On one track are the likes of General Motors and Ford Motor, each booking record profits on the strength of trucks and SUVs. On the other track is a whole new world with the power to change the perception – and reality – of Michigan as we know it.

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

Daniel Howes' column today in the Detroit News looks at some decisions by Ford Motor Company, and what they say about the future of the auto industry and Michigan.

Howes wrote about Ford’s investments in three plants, including an engine plant, and one retooling to make the returning Ford Ranger and Bronco. But he says it's what’s happening with that third investment that says a lot about what Ford is doing. 

Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
flickr user fiatontheweb / creative commons

By now it should be obvious that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is for sale.

Not in a desperate do-a-deal-now kind of way. But in a persistent, strategically logical way.

Why? Because CEO Sergio Marchionne says as much, repeatedly. He understands better than most the capital demands of today’s global auto industry -- and FCA’s limited capacity to meet them.

online commerce giants like Amazon are taking some of the blame for a retail slump at brick-and-mortar stores.
Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

They used to be a shopper’s first choice.

These days, Sears and Kmart seem to be on a fast track to extinction.

MARK BRUSH / MICHIGAN RADIO

 

President Donald Trump was in Michigan yesterday, visiting the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run in Ypsilanti.

While there, he announced changes to fuel economy and emissions standards that some worry will be an “environmental apocalypse,” said Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Big Three New World

Mar 11, 2017
user paul (dex) / Flickr

GM is bailing out of Europe. The company is cashing in its Euro-chips and choosing to focus more on other markets. And GM’s not alone in that. While it might look like the Detroit car makers are turning tail and running, Daniel Howes of The Detroit News explains why it could be a good thing for Michigan.

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."

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Mike Duggan knows politics.

That’s partly why Detroit’s mayor is alleging that former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr misled him about the city’s pension exposure. It’s an insurance policy.

Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently made some significant claims against the city's former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Duggan accused Orr and his team of misleading the city of Detroit on the future cost of pensions.

Mike Ilitch (center) with Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander (right) and Alex Avila (left) in 2011.
Dave Hogg / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

They don’t make ‘em much like Mike Ilitch anymore.

Here was Detroit distilled, the local guy done good, the former Marine and aspiring shortstop, his Tigers career cut short by a bad knee. The guy who told his teammates he'd open pizza shops across America if his baseball thing didn't work out.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

Who would ever think there could be so much riding on a county jail?

Mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert is ready to spend $420 million to build a new criminal justice complex for Wayne County. And he only wants $300 million to do it.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

In his column for the Detroit News this week, Daniel Howes analyzed an interesting proposal offered by billionaire Dan Gilbert to Wayne County officials. Gilbert wants to secure a Downtown Detroit site where an unfinished jail currently stands.

The Quicken Loans leader says he will build Wayne County a brand new jail and court offices just east of Midtown in exchange for the site. Wayne County officials are currently vetting the offer. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Donald Trump is not making things easy for business and state government, and that includes Gov. Rick Snyder’s Michigan.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Nearly half the country may have found the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency full of depressing news, but Detroit arguably shouldn’t be one of them.

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 biggest stars at this week’s Detroit auto show aren’t the usual, splashy new car or truck. They’re the futuristic autonomous vehicle from Google and President-elect Donald Trump. Trump’s incessant tweeting this week has transfixed a global press corps and roiled the auto industry it covers.

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