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General Motors

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

Ford announced this week it's joining forces with four tech companies and doubling its staff in Silicon Valley. 

Their goal is to put a fully self-driving - that means no steering wheel and no gas or brake pedals - on the road by 2021.

In his Detroit News column todayDaniel Howes  wrote that Ford's move is a sign that, "your father's auto industry is gone and it's not coming back."

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.

General Motors headquarters
FLICKER USER THOMAS HAWK https://flic.kr/p/nUAw76

General Motors earnings are up by 157%. They made $2.87 billion in the second quarter of this year.

This is up from $1.1 billion last year.

“General Motors continues to be on a roll,” said Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Howes said CEO Mary Barra is now trying to convince the investment community General Motors is an “earning machine.”

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It’s all about the money for some Ford and General Motors shareholders. 

Their money, to be exact.

Doesn’t matter that the Blue Oval booked all-time high North American profits last year, and probably will again this year. Or that GM is making roughly a billion dollars a month selling cars and trucks. Or that both are betting shareholder cash on an emerging mobility space said to be worth more than $5 trillion.

Lester Graham

Ever since Ed Welburn designed cars as a toddler, it seemed like destiny would lead him to working at General Motors. The first time he entered the company’s campus as an employee was an emotional experience he would never forget.

pixabay

A jury has awarded no damages in the second of six bellwether cases against General Motors related to its ten-year delay of a recall of cars with faulty ignition switches.

The bellwether trials are intended to help courts around the country try to settle hundreds of similar cases, which allege physical or financial damages due to the defective switches.

The jury found that the plaintiff, who was not seriously injured in the accident, lost control of her car because of icy conditions, not because of the faulty switch. 

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you were to ask the average Michigander what the origins of Flint’s downfall were, you might get a few different answers. Some of those answers would likely be related to the auto industry – specifically, when General Motors left the city in the 1980s.

General Motors

General Motors is launching its first new brand in 20 years.

But it's not a car brand.

"Maven" is GM's new personal mobility service.

The new brand is in response to a trend, slight but noticeable and growing, of millennials and urban residents deciding car ownership isn't worth the cost or hassle. 

But they still need to get around. Peter Kosack is GM's head of Urban Mobility. He says Maven will give customers easy access to car-sharing and ride-sharing services.

Chevrolet Corvette
Anthony Brown / Michigan Radio

During the press days of the North American International Auto Show, Detroit's Big Three unveiled their latest 2016 models and made announcements about what's to come. Here are the highlights of what GM, Ford, and Chrysler brought up on stage and displayed on their stands.

MARIORDO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Autonomous vehicles promise to dramatically reduce congestion in large cities and save thousands of lives, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

That's why the Obama administration will ask Congress to budget $3.9 billion over the next ten years to help spur the development of the technologies that enable cars to drive themselves.

ford, dash board, car
antefixus21/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The march of technology continues, bringing us closer to the day when owning your own car may be less important than on-demand transportation services.  And closer to the day when we expect our cars to be super-connected to just about everything.

Automakers are laying the groundwork for this new era, as seen in some  announcements this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UAW employees at Nexteer in Saginaw County are voting on a new contract today.   A ‘No’ vote could affect General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.  

This is the second time around for Nexteer’s three thousand workers at its Buena Vista plant. They resoundingly rejected a previous deal and walked picket lines for a day before this new offer.

Nexteer supplies steering and driveline systems to General Motors. It also supplies parts to Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota.

The contract includes a two thousand dollar signing bonus, as well as a wage increase. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nexteer workers are back on the job.

Less than 24 hours after members of UAW local 699 walked out of the Buena Vista plant, the strike is over. 

The union announced on its Facebook page Tuesday night that it has reached a tentative contract with the auto parts supplier.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A major General Motors parts supplier is on strike.

Members of United Auto Workers local 699 walked off the job at Nexteer in Saginaw County just after midnight.   

Nexteer supplies steering and driveline systems to General Motors.   It also supplies parts to Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UAW workers at a major General Motors parts supplier have resoundingly rejected a new contract.

Nexteer is based in Saginaw County.   The company employs more than 3,000 employees.  Almost all of them voted against the contract.

The results of Sunday’s voting: 3103 against to 80 for.

UAW President Dennis Williams chats with GM CEO Mary Barra at the kickoff of the 2015 contract negotiations
Jeffrey Sauger / General Motors

This summer, as contract talks with the Detroit Three kicked off, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams warned that negotiations are "never easy."

He was right.

Last week, the union came within a hairsbreadth of having a contract with Ford Motor Company sent back by rank and file with a big "NO DEAL" stamp on its face. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Union local presidents will learn more about a tentative deal between General Motors and the United Auto Workers Wednesday.

But not much is public about the deal yet. 

Just hours after the tentative deal was announced, the first next generation Camaro rolled off the assembly line in Lansing.

UAW President Dennis Williams chats with GM CEO Mary Barra at the kickoff of the 2015 contract negotiations
Jeffrey Sauger / General Motors

The United Auto Workers has reached a tentative four-year contract with GM, averting the possibility of a strike for now.

The union had also set a strike deadline with Fiat Chrysler during a second round of negotiations, after the first tentative contract reached with that automaker was rejected by workers.

A strike deadline puts pressure on both sides, which view a strike as a failure of contract talks.

Neither GM nor the UAW are providing details.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Contract talks are continuing between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union as a midnight deadline approaches.

  GM spokeswoman Katie McBride said Sunday afternoon that talks were on a fast pace and the company still hoped to get an agreement by midnight.

striking UAW workers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The United Auto Workers union says its workers at General Motors will strike if it can't agree on a new contract with the company by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

  Both sides are still negotiating. The union made a similar threat in recent discussions with Fiat Chrysler before agreeing to a new four-year contract.

More than 10,000 GM workers will be idled next month including plants in Hamtramck and Lansing.
John F. Martin / General Motors

GM's announcement that it will add a second shift to its Hamtramck facility is being warmly welcomed by the Detroit Economic Development Corporation.

Ken Chapa is Executive Vice President of Business Development for the group.  He says these are good-paying jobs that help boost Detroit's economy.

The Chevy Bolt from above.
GM

General Motors Co. says it's cutting the second shift at its Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit in a move that's expected to result in about 500 hourly worker layoffs.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra
flickr user David Pinter / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said Wednesday that, “GM is a vastly different company today than just five years ago,” and then went on to announce profits that were a little better than had been estimated.

But how much does that mean when times are good for all the car makers right now?

In the paper Thursday, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wonders if GM is as vastly different as Barra claims.

I know a couple who bought two brand-new General Motors cars in the mid-1980s. She bought an Oldsmobile station wagon, and he bought a beautiful sleek Buick.

They carefully maintained them, didn’t abuse them, and the cars fell apart. The Oldsmobile finally died after barely seventy thousand miles. The Buick had massive electrical problems for which the company refused to take any responsibility.

Fiat Chryler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and UAW President Dennis Williams.
UAW

A tentative contract agreement has been reached by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and United Auto Workers, one that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne describes as “transformational.”

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this proposed deal sets a high bar.

screen grab / U.S. House of Representatives

Updated: 4:22 pm

The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to dismiss two criminal charges against General Motors related to its handling of an ignition switch recall - that is, if the automaker forfeits $900 million, and cooperates for three years on an agreement that includes the appointment of an independent monitor.

UAW President Dennis Williams chats with GM CEO Mary Barra at the kickoff of the 2015 contract negotiations
Jeffrey Sauger / General Motors

Just a week and a half from now, the United Automobile Workers contracts with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will expire.

In a recent column for The Detroit News, Daniel Howes points out some some things that set these talks apart from years past.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

August auto sales may be down slightly.

Automakers will release their August sales numbers Tuesday.

Charles Chesbrough is an auto industry analyst with IHS Global Insight.     He says unlike most years, this year’s August sales numbers will not include Labor Day weekend sales.

United Auto Worker contingent at a protest in New York.
Thomas Good / wikimedia commons - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The current negotiations over the contracts are continuing pretty much out of the spotlight. There’s a delicate balance that both sides are trying to pull off.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes shared the "wants" and "needs" of both sides in these contract talks with us.

He penned a column today in the News about the talks.

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