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Ford Motor Company

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Two years ago, residents of Alden Village, a small subdivision directly east of Ford Motor Company's Livonia Transmission, got a letter from the automaker.

It was not good news.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The Blue Oval is stuck in neutral. Again.

Just a few years after superstar CEO Alan Mulally retired and left town, Ford Motor is embarking on another 25 billion dollar restructuring. If you think this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that’s because it is.

What happened?

Ford’s second largest business – China – is in free-fall.

South America remains a money loser.

Its European business -- just a couple of years ago hailed for its turnaround -- is losing steam.

old school Ford logo
James & Carol Lee / Unsplash

Ford Motor Company got some troubling news this week from Moody's Investors Service.

It has downgraded Ford's investment rating to just one level above junk status. To Moody's, this signifies the chance of default.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Lately, Detroit has more good news to report than bad. Its bankruptcy is in the rear view mirror, the streets have lighting again, and more businesses are moving downtown.

Michigan Central Station circa 2018
Ford

It was a near thing, but Michigan Central Station has a new lease on life, thanks to its purchase by Ford Motor Company.

The historic building is in terrible shape, stripped of much of its glory by former owners, thieves, and vandals. So Ford has its work cut out for it.

But the automaker's plans (and finances) for the building seem much more firm than many of the pie-in-the-sky visions floated by other developers.

Ford's Corktown Play

Jun 16, 2018
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Ford Motor is planning a big party on Tuesday. It’ll be at the Michigan Central Depot, that gap-toothed hulk looming over Detroit empty and rotting for thirty years.

But not anymore, once Ford’s plans for what it’s calling a campus in Corktown become more clear.

Here’s what you need to know: Detroit’s oldest neighborhood could be transformed by Ford’s plans. The automaker wants to anchor its next-generation mobility, autonomy and electrification work in the 105-year-old train station.

This is huge, people. Detroit hasn’t seen a business move this big in eight years. That’s when Dan Gilbert moved his Quicken Loans headquarters to the city and followed with a downtown real estate buying spree.

This may be even bigger because it’s eight years later. Because Quicken blossomed into a major corporate presence downtown. Because Ford’s presence is likely to turbo-charge redevelopment of a neighborhood … and set the example for more.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

After more than a quarter of a century, the Michigan Central Depot is changing owners. The Moroun family has sold it to Ford Motor Company.  

The once-thriving Beaux Arts gem became a symbol of Detroit's decay, after Amtrak sold it to the Moroun family in 1992. Matthew Moroun says now "the depot will become a shining symbol of Detroit's success and progress."

Michigan Central Station in Detroit
Jason Mrachina / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The city is abuzz with the rumor that Ford is taking over Michigan Central Station, after reports that the once-glamorous train depot — an iconic symbol of Detroit’s decay since it closed in 1988 — has changed owners.

Ford Service Department employees assault a UAW organizer in what came known as the Battle of the Overpass
James E. (Scotty) Kilpatrick of the Detroit News / Battle of the Overpass photo courtesy of the Archives of Michigan

Do corporations have too much power and too little oversight? That question has dominated American society since the Civil War and it does not seem to be going away any time soon.

Over the decades, the political pendulum has swung back and forth between workers’ rights and corporate power.

Ford has halted all production of its best-selling vehicle, the F-150 truck.
Ford Motor Company

Due to a component shortage after a fire at one of its suppliers, Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday it is suspending all production of its best-selling F-150 trucks.

The fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America in Eaton Rapids, Mich. occurred May 2, injuring two people, forcing nearly 150 people to evacuate the building, and destroying portions of the roof, according to The Lansing State Journal. In a news release yesterday, Meridian Magnesium General Manager George Asher said the company is “planning to recall some employees for critical operations as soon as possible.”

Courtesy of Public Citizen

A coalition of environmental and consumer advocates says Ford Motor Company and other automakers are lobbying the Trump administration to roll back fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards known as clean car standards, and they should stop.

The coalition includes Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace USA.

The Ford Taurus at an auto show
Dave Pinter / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ford this week announced plans to stop making almost its entire line-up of cars by 2022. That means we can say farewell to the Fiesta, the Taurus, the Focus, the Fusion, and the C-Max hybrid. Only Ford's iconic Mustang and a small crossover will remain in production in the North American market. 

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Ford's decision to focus on its better-selling lines of trucks and SUVs, and whether GM might follow suit.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

A few years after the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, I found myself on the long porch of Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel chatting with Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

He was talking about the Chapter 11 process to help failing companies and how it helped Chrysler and GM survive – thanks to Obama's auto task force and American taxpayers.

It also forced the people running those companies – and those who would follow – to make hard decisions. I was reminded of that this week. In less than 24 hours, those who care got three separate looks at the financial health of Detroit’s three automakers and things looked different.

The 2015 Ford Mustang.
Ford Motor Company

In 1908, Henry Ford sent the first Model T rolling off the assembly line at his Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit.

A hundred and ten years later, the Ford Motor Company is no longer betting on cars for its future.

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.

GORDON / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The oldest surviving neighborhood in Detroit is Corktown. Irish immigrants started settling there in the 1830s, and many of them were from County Cork.

You could make a good case that the most famous symbol of Detroit's decline and urban decay is right there in the heart of Corktown: the Michigan Central Station.

The once-glorious train station closed 30 years ago and has since been ravaged by scrappers and weather. Now we hear that Ford is in talks to buy Michigan Central and return to the city.

Michigan Central Station in Detroit
Jason Mrachina / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

As Ford talks of buying Michigan Central Station, residents in the surrounding neighborhood might be the ones seeing the most impact.

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.

Ford Media Center

What kind of conveniences do you want in your future car? We're talking more than Bluetooth connection, or climate control, or even an autonomous car. How about a water dispenser that you don’t have to fill?

How would that work?

We’re glad you asked, because one of the inventors of a prototype, patent pending, of the On-the-Go H2O joined Stateside today. His name is Doug Martin and he’s a Powertrain Controls Engineer for Ford.

Lloyd Hartnett assembly line in 1957.
flickr user John Lloyd / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If you grew up in Michigan, you've probably got a pretty fair idea how the auto business works, including the basic fact that the vehicles rolling off assembly lines are going to be driven by people.

Daniel HowesDetroit News business columnist, joined Stateside to talk about the auto industry's innovative practices and what lies ahead. 

Updated 10:30 a.m. ET

Ford Motor Co.'s North American President Raj Nair has been forced out over allegations of "inappropriate behavior." The company didn't offer many details.

In a statement, Ford said that Nair, 53, is leaving the company effective immediately.

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.

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.

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.

screen grab Ford Motor Company

For the second time in 20 years, Ford Motor Company has settled an investigation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over complaints of sexual and racial harassment at its Chicago Stamping and Chicago Assembly plants.

The EEOC says Ford also retaliated against workers who reported the harassment.

Ford has agreed to pay up to $10.1 million to victims, as well as institute training for workers.

The Ford Focus
Ford Motor Company

In the rhetorical battle between President Donald Trump and Ford Motor’s investors, the president is losing.

The Blue Oval is moving American production of the Focus to China – presumably because shipping it to Mexico from Michigan wasn’t sufficiently controversial.

For the first time, a Detroit automaker will, quote, “globally source” an established model and use Chinese labor to assemble it for sale to American consumers. Let the tweet storm commence – or not, as it turns out.

red ford focus
Asya Apelsin / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Ford has announced for the third time where the next generation of the Ford Focus car is going to be assembled: China.

Daniel Howes tells Stateside what this means for the city of Wayne, where the car model is currently being assembled. He also talks about potential future moves for Ford.

The Ford Focus
Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company will export vehicles from China to the U.S. for the first time starting in 2019.

The company announced Tuesday the plan to export the next-generation Focus from China rather than Mexico, as previously planned. Production of the Focus will phase out of Wayne, Michigan in mid-2018.

Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's global operations, says the move will save the auto maker $1 billion, including $500 million from canceling a new plant in Mexico that was intended to build the Focus.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would get zero dollars if the plan is approved as is. Over the past seven years, it received $2.2 billion in funding to preserve the Great Lakes.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how that cut could affect Michigan residents.

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

He has headed up the world's biggest office furniture company and hired Jim Harbaugh as head football coach at the University of Michigan.

Now, Jim Hackett is replacing outgoing CEO Mark Fields as the new head of Ford Motor Company.

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