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auto industry

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Tributes have poured in for Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Chrysler and Fiat who died Wednesday. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wrote: "His impact on the global auto industry cannot be overstated.”

Howes joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss the qualities that made Marchionne a great leader.  

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The automakers found their proverbial spines this week. After months of President Donald Trump’s haranguing about tariffs on finished vehicles and auto parts, the industry presented the country with a bill. Realizing the president’s protectionist dream would not come cheaply. The average cost of a vehicle would increase $5,800, says the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

General Motors is warning that President Trump’s threatened tariffs on car imports could shrink the company and cost U.S. jobs.

Auto Manufacturers
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

 


Earlier this month, President Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. 

American automakers have indicated that these tariffs could be detrimental to the industry, estimating that just under 200,000 jobs will be lost in the first one to three years. 

Daniel Howes is a business columnist with the Detroit News. He sat down with Stateside’s Lester Graham to discuss how automakers are confronting the Trump administration. 

Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

 


Last week, Canada’s Minister of International Trade made an official visit to Detroit to meet with auto industry officials and other business leaders. 

Francois-Philippe Champagne sat down with Stateside to discuss the future of trade relations between the U.S. and Canada and the impact that relationship has on Michigan.

A steel plant
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

 


This week, President Donald Trump announced he will move ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, including imports from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada. Effective today, steel imports will be taxed at 25 percent and aluminum at 10 percent. 

So how will this affect the huge amount of automotive parts that go back and forth from plants in Ontario and Michigan?

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Trump says America needs tariffs on foreign-made cars and trucks to safeguard our “national security.”

Really? How many pickups do the Russians sell in the United States? Zero.

How many cars do the industrious North Koreans and Iranians ship here? Zero.

And how many Chinese-brand cars sit in U.S. showrooms? Essentially zero.

multicolored shipping containers in a ship yard with imported goods
Jan Buchholtz / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

President Trump is considering tariffs on imported cars, trucks, and parts.

That word came after a Wednesday morning tweet from the president, promising "big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers."

Ford display at the 2018 NAIAS in Cobo (with a bit of Chevrolet in the background)
Matthew P. L. Stevens / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

For decades, January in Southeast Michigan has meant it's time for the auto show.  

Thousands trek to Cobo Center for the North American International Auto Show, often picking their way through snow and ice, but it seems that the snow may give way to autumn leaves. 

President Trump
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Trump spent Saturday night rallying his supporters in Michigan.

The president told his Macomb County audience he had another invitation for Saturday night.

“You may have heard I was invited to another event tonight. The White House Correspondents Dinner,” Trump told the crowd, which began booing. “But I’d much rather be in Washington, Michigan than Washington, D.C. right now.”

The president talked about a wide range of topics, from de-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula to Michigan’s auto industry.

An electric car charger with a car in the background
Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, joined Stateside today to talk about what he's calling the "Great Auto Disconnect."

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.

Jean Beauford / public domain pictures.net

Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard minced no words to describe his reaction to President Trump's announcement that he will impose new tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum.

"What this looks like to me is macho nationalism," says Ballard, "unhindered by any serious thought about the economic repercussions."

Ballard says the tariffs may help workers in the U.S. steel and aluminum industries.

"But for the overwhelming majority of Americans this will raise costs of things that we produce using steel and that we buy using steel and aluminum."

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OR OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

President Trump's first State of the Union speech touched on Detroit’s auto industry. The president said that he “halted government mandates,” and his actions would “get the Motor City revving its engines once again.”

Daniel Howes, business columnist for The Detroit News, joined Stateside to talk about the truth of these claims and the landscape of the U.S. 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.

UN Women / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Robert Lutz began his automotive career in 1963. He rose to the ranks of top-tier executives at GM, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and Opel.

He's someone who's seen a lot of change in the auto industry through the decades.

During a recent interview, Stateside host Cynthia Canty asked Lutz for his thoughts on the recent floodgate of stories of powerful men being held accountable for actions and behaviors committed against women in the workplace — sexual assault, harassment, and bullying. Is American business truly having a watershed moment?

Ed Schipul / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

It’s fair to say that the automobile has been central to the life of Bob Lutz. He’s 85 now, but before he was semi-retired he held top-tier positions at BMW, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, where he was vice chairman.

He recently wrote an article for Automotive News with the striking headline, “Kiss the good times goodbye.” It’s about where the world of cars is headed, for better or worse. 

Chuk Nowak / Courtesy of Detroit Public Theatre

After lots of praise from critics in New York, a play set in Detroit, written by someone from Detroit is coming to Detroit. The play is “Skeleton Crew,” and it’s beginning a four-week run at the Detroit Public Theatre this weekend.

The play “is a peek into the world of the auto industry,” said Dominique Morisseau, the playwright who is originally from Detroit. “This is about a small fictional stamping plant,” one of the last in the city. The play focuses on a group of workers who are threatened by plant closure.

blue car fueling up at gas pump
Mike Mozart / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When your biggest customer talks, smart companies listen. For car makers, that customer is China.

So when China recently announced it's preparing to ban vehicles powered by fossil fuels, auto executives around the world quickly took notice.

Russell Padmore, a BBC business reporter, joined Stateside to talk about the future of the auto industry, and he says China’s not alone.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Forget the notion that the Chinese are coming to the auto industry near you. They’re already here.

Geely has controlled Sweden’s Volvo for seven years now. Tencent Holdings owns a five percent stake in Elon Musk’s Tesla. Pacific Century Motors acquired Delphi’s Saginaw-based steering division to create Nexteer Automotive Corp. And Chinese companies spent $140 billion last year on mergers and acquisitions, second only to the United States.

a chevy bolt
General Motors

The U.S. House will vote on bills after Labor Day that would let automakers test self-driving cars in every state, replacing the current state-by-state patchwork of regulations, and allow cars without steering wheels and other human-operated controls.

Two Michigan members of the House, Democrat Debbie Dingell and Republican Fred Upton, helped draft the bills.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An auto parts maker will soon be setting up shop on the site of a former iconic auto assembly plant in Michigan.

Buick City in Flint closed nearly 20 years ago.  Since then, the land has sat largely vacant.

But the Michigan Strategic Fund this week approved more than $4 million to assist Lear Corporation, which plans to build a nearly $30 million auto seat assembly plant on the old Buick City site.

user cmh2315fl / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two driverless cars traveled some 300 miles today, crossing from Detroit over to Windsor, before making their way back into Michigan and up to Traverse City.

The road trip was part experiment, part advertisement: there's a big auto industry shindig happening in Traverse City right now and Michigan is really trying to cement itself as "the place" to build driverless cars.

So to show off, state and Canadian officials got two auto supply companies to do this test drive.

Both cars were in driverless mode on all the highways, and even underwater in the Detroit Windsor tunnel, says Kirk Steudle, Director of Michigan’s Department of Transportation. Although he says the cars got tripped up a couple of times, like right after the toll booths.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

  LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says a major automotive supplier could expand its operations in Michigan and an Italian biotech company is considering Michigan as a place to which to locate in the U.S.

Snyder is wrapping up a weeklong trade trip to Europe. He met with business executives in France, Germany and Italy - both to touch base with those whose companies already have a presence in Michigan and to explore potential new opportunities.

Emilio Labrador / Flickr

New car sales have reached a plateau, according to Michelle Krebs of Autotrader. 

Krebs says May's sales could be flat or just slightly higher compared to last year.  That follows several months of sales being down slightly.

She says one reason is the cost of everything, including a new car, is going up, but incomes aren't.  The average price for a new car is now $30,000. 

"The price of shelter, of health care, of education have gone up even more," says Krebs, "and yet household income has stagnated."

Ford Motor Company's headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford Motor Company

Slumping stock was the undoing of Mark Fields as CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes said Fields’ successor Jim Hackett must rally his team to full battle mode, even though times are good and profits are fat.

Two auto workers on an assembly line
AUTOMOTIVEAUTO.INFO

Michigan is not the only place where car manufacturers have left to find cheaper labor and materials elsewhere. By the end of this year, not a single new car will be made in Australia.

Ford Motor Co. headquarters
Ford Motor Company

The Ford Motor Company is planning to cut its global workforce by about 10%.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the cuts aim to boost the company's profits and stock price. The report states that the company's stock has fallen in the three years since Mark Fields become CEO.

Auto sales fell in March and April, with Ford falling 7.2% in year-over-year sales.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Auto companies posted their second consecutive monthly sales decline in April.

Some analysts believe this is a sign the automakers’ seven-year winning streak is coming to an end.

Since 2010, Ford, General Motors and other automakers have seen their monthly sales grow and grow. Automakers sold a record 17.55 million vehicles in 2016.  

However, the car companies have been relying more and more on discounts and deals to bring buyers in.   But even that hasn’t been enough lately.

Case in point: April, which was not a good month for the auto companies.

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