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Daniel Howes

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)

Donald Trump’s showing no sign of easing up on his whacking of the auto industry.

His latest target is Toyota. Apparently Detroit’s automakers aren’t the only ones building cars in Mexico for sale in the United States. 

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.

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.

Very cold Detroit is hot again.

Look at what the people whose business is to place bets on the next new thing are doing. They’re coming to Detroit, and doing it with a regularity and purpose that are changing the narrative of the city and Michigan.

Nothing’s stopping Donald Trump from bullying businesses.

He bashes Ford Motor and Carrier, the air-conditioning maker, for shipping jobs to Mexico. He accuses Boeing of using contracts for a new Air Force One to rip off American taxpayers. He asks for a list of all U.S. companies planning to move jobs outside the country.

All of which shows a president-elect using his new bully pulpit to bend business to his will — and strengthen his populist chops in the industrial Midwest.

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

It was Theodore Roosevelt who declared the Presidency was a "bully pulpit." Our incoming 45th President clearly agrees.

Donald Trump doesn't take the oath of office for 49 days, but he's already used his favorite tool, Twitter, to send some crystal clear messages to businesses and unions.

A rally in Indiana protesting Carrier's announcement to move its manufacturing plant to Mexico.
United Steelworkers

Donald Trump descended on Indiana this week to praise Carrier Corporation’s decision to partly reverse its plan to ship 2,000 jobs to Mexico.

The president-elect and his running mate, Mike Pence, credit Trump’s deal-making prowess, of course. But the real prowess belongs to Indiana’s use of the almighty dollar. It’s the fungible asset that drives where business invests to create jobs and build communities. Or doesn’t.

Willow Run Factory and B-24 bombers.
U.S. Army Signal Corps

It’s been 74 years since Ford Motor finished building its Willow Run plant to build B-24 Liberator bombers. Now the site credited with helping to win World War II is preparing a new chapter in the transportation revolution that Henry Ford’s Model T sparked a century ago.

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.

Republican presidential candidate at a campaign stop in Warren, Michigan.
Jake Neher / MPRN

Call it the revenge of the Rust Belt.

The little people of the industrial Midwest paved Donald Trump’s electoral college path to the presidency in red, straight through the heartland. He promised to represent the “forgotten” men and women left behind by globalization and trade, and to rewrite the economic rules governing the past generation’s consensus on trade. 

Lower Community College / Creative Commons

The presidential race is not over in Michigan.

Donald Trump doesn’t think so. New polls show his 13-point gap has been narrowed to three points in just two weeks. That’s why two of his kids hit the state again. It’s why his running mate was here. It’s why Trump is looking to land here sometime over the weekend.

GM Renaissance Center in Detroit.
John F. Martin / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Car and truck sales are plateauing in the lucrative U.S. market, but you wouldn’t know it from the big jump in auto profits.

General Motors exceeded Wall Street expectations this week with record third-quarter earnings of $2.8 billion. Ford Motor showed that discipline can have its price. And Fiat Chrysler demonstrated that exiting small-car production may not be as costly as first feared.

Inside the Chevy Bolt.
GM

Detroit should not be in the business of gloating.

Its automakers have closed too many plants and cut too many jobs. They’ve lost too much market share and destroyed too much capital. They’ve disappointed too many investors to claim the high ground in the global auto industry.

That image is not likely to change until they successfully weather an inevitable slowdown. The industry also needs to parry the competitive threats posed by Silicon Valley, the coming mobility revolution and the battle for young, tech-savvy talent. Could Detroit be holding its own?

General Motors' Chevy Bolt is expected to be in showrooms by the end of the year.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

With a new development in the march to lead the mobility movement, we check in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Howes joined Stateside to talk about his latest column "Tough auto game challenges Silicon Valley stars" where he says Silicon Valley has gotten a reality check in terms of what it takes to get a vehicle to market on schedule.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Leave it to the former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party to demand a grand jury investigation of Republican Governor Rick Snyder over his legal fees tied to the Flint water crisis.

Business has a better idea – lend its expertise, free of charge, to projects that promise to get Flint back on its feet after getting walloped by lead-tainted water and financial retrenchment.

The "Flint Sprint" will tackle 20 different projects in the city over the next 60 days.
Wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit bankruptcy brought government, foundations and business together, working to get through that historic crisis. Today marks the public launch of an effort to do the same for Flint.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about his latest column about the "Flint Sprint." This project brings a number of businesses -- both big and small -- to tackle 20 different projects over the next 60 days. 

Kaiketsu / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Bill Ford Jr.’s used to taking shots.

He got whacked repeatedly for touting environmentalism in the global auto industry long before going green was cool. That prompted rivals, even his own employees, to wonder if the son of America’s preeminent industrial dynasty was becoming unmoored from the realities of the family business.

President-elect Donald Trump.
user Gage Skidmore / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Donald Trump’s trashing again this week of Ford Motor Company and Michigan’s economy isn’t playing well with state business leaders. That’s at least two reasons why many of them are choosing to sit out this year’s bizarre presidential race.

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

Tesla’s legal challenge to Michigan’s dealer franchise laws exposes the hypocrisy of the state’s theoretically enlightened take on the transforming auto industry. Enlightenment has its limits.

Here’s the epicenter of the U.S. auto industry, the repository of enormous engineering talent, falling all over itself to lead the autonomous-vehicle bandwagon to master mobility to beat Silicon Valley at its own game.

Donald Trump gets it wrong about Ford's Mexico move

Sep 17, 2016

Facts detailing how the global auto industry operates shouldn’t muck up the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Nor should they slow the candidates’ flailing efforts to score cheap political points in the industrial Midwest, right?

Yet, this week, Trump predicted the Dearborn automaker will “fire all of their employees in the United States” because it’s ending small car production in Michigan. And a CNN anchor actually asked Ford CEO Mark Fields whether the allegation is true.

Flint paying price for red tape, politicking

Sep 10, 2016
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The water crisis in Flint is giving the troubled city renewed attention and a jolt of economic opportunity. But two things are standing in the way: bureaucracy and politics.

Just ask Michael McDaniel. He’s the retired brigadier general in the Michigan National Guard who Mayor Karen Weaver hired last February to head the city’s Flint Action and Stability Team. He’s still waiting to be paid for the work he’s doing.

Trump’s dark take on Detroit, Michigan is wrong

Sep 3, 2016

Donald Trump says Michigan manufacturing is “a disaster.” He predicts Mexico soon will replace the United States as the heart of the North American auto industry.

He’s wrong.

You’d think a guy described as a quick study would do a little of it before opening his mouth. But no.

That’s why Governor Rick Snyder is correcting Trump’s dark take on Detroit and manufacturing. 

Purple car at the Dream Cruise.
Kelly Kline / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Could the Woodward Dream Cruise become more than a week-long gaze into the rearview mirror? Let’s hope so.

There was an era — say, pre-2008 — when the cruise’s glorification of Detroit’s muscle cars represented the best and worst of this town’s defining industry. A decade ago, I wrote that it projected a “chronic inability to relegate the past to the past and to move on.”

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Judging by this year’s wild campaign, accountability is a foreign concept in presidential politics. But not in, say, the auto industry.

Ask Volkswagen AG. The $14 billion price tag for its diesel deception is creeping closer to $20 billion. And new lawsuits from three states say knowledge of the long-running global fraud runs all the way to the office of the new CEO. What a surprise.

Forget the cheering, bravado and juvenile attacks that came from Republicans in Cleveland this week.

Ignore the apocalyptic predictions of what could become of the United States should either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton be elected president.

Ask yourself only this: Is this the best we can do?

Road to self-driving cars depends on people

Jul 16, 2016

The talk of the auto industry this year isn’t about Detroit’s record profits. Rather, it’s about racing to field vehicles that drive themselves.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The road to self-driving cars isn’t just about technology.

GOP schism deepens after Flint water crisis

Jul 9, 2016
The Detroit News

Credit good ol’ politics for the widening split separating Michigan’s top two Republicans.

The legal jeopardy posed by the Flint water crisis—and controversial decisions affecting special interests—are exposing Attorney General Bill Schuette’s unmistakable desire to succeed Rick Snyder as governor come 2018.

Not that the AG will say so. The growing record of disagreements between Schuette and Snyder is producing a special kind of political fallout: It’s positioning the AG for the state’s top office, and sometimes doing it at the expense of the sitting governor.

Left courtesy of michigan.gov/Right courtesty of Michigan Attorney General's office

This week, State Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision regarding teacher pay, he'll have to hire his own attorney.

The AG is sitting this one out.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the ever-widening split between Michigan's two top Republicans. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Don’t believe the smart folks who say Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and the wild show that passes for American presidential politics today, are just evidence of one big, transatlantic hissy fit. They’re wrong.

Republican and Democratic leaders here, political classes on both sides of the pond and financial markets around the globe are demonstrating, once again, a remarkable disconnect from the concerns of everyday people from Liverpool to Lansing.

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