Daniel Howes | Michigan Radio
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Daniel Howes

Contributor

Daniel Howes is columnist and associate business editor of The Detroit News. A former European correspondent for The News, he has reported from nearly 25 countries on three continents and in the Middle East. Before heading to Europe in 1999, Howes was senior automotive writer and a business projects writer. He is a frequent contributor to NewsTalk 760-WJR in Detroit and a weekly contributor to Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor.

Howes is winner of multiple International Wheel Awards for column writing; a four-time winner of Northwestern University’s Medill award for general markets coverage; three-time winner for commentary from the Society of Business Editors and Writers; and a three-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Awards, including an honorable mention for commentary in 2007.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from The College of Wooster in Ohio, and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is all about economics and job security. Yet for just about everyone else, it’s about political opportunity.

Democrats running to take on President Donald Trump are one-upping each other in a race to publicly support striking auto workers, especially in the politically crucial states of Michigan and Ohio. They should be careful.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

In President Donald Trump’s America, it matters where automakers bend metal.

That’s one reason General Motors CEO Mary Barra journeyed to the Oval Office this week to meet with the man behind the desk. Among other things, Trump wants know what the Detroit automaker’s really going to do about the plants it’s moving to close across the industrial Midwest — a region he needs to win next year if he wants to remain president.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The UAW once prided itself on being America’s “clean union.” The latest evidence and eight federal convictions so far suggest that moniker no longer may be accurate.

A former UAW vice president, Norwood Jewell, is headed to federal prison for 15 months.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Here in the industrial heartland, some old auto towns are getting some love.

It’s about time.

The latest is Flint, the “Vehicle City” laid low by its lead-tainted water crisis and General Motors’ decades-long exodus from so many operations there. Mahindra Automotive, the North American unit of its Indian parent, is angling to acquire the iconic Buick City site to build its first major assembly operation in the United States.

The Democratic debates took place over two nights at Detroit's Fox Theatre.
Malak Silmi / Michigan Radio

Twenty Democrats angling to unseat President Donald Trump graced the Fox Theatre over two nights to show what their party learned from their 2016 shellacking. The answer: not much.

When moderate contenders warned that Medicare for All would be too expensive – or that people working union jobs may not want to surrender their private insurance – progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren mocked them for thinking small. And they wondered why such killjoys would even bother to run for president.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Trump proved the road to the Oval Office runs through the industrial Midwest. The Democrats vying to replace him should keep that in mind. Twenty of them will debate over two nights next week at Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

They’re waiting for the end at Lordstown, the giant auto plant General Motors says it no longer needs.

Local 1112 President Dave Green comes in every day. He fields calls from worried members, offers counsel about whether to take a transfer or take a chance that union bargainers back in Detroit might get a product to save the plant.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Not since the dark days of bankruptcy a decade ago are contract talks between the United Auto Workers and Detroit’s automakers likely to be as tough as the round beginning next week.

It’s not because times are bad. It’s because times are good – a run of profitability and strong sales not seen since the 1960s. Yet change is coming faster than four-year contracts can manage. And that’s an ominous sign for both sides, especially union members seeking certainty.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Ford Motor is cutting another 12,000 jobs in Europe.

And global automakers have confirmed plans to close 16 plants around the world and eliminate 120,000 jobs, because the profit party is winding down.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Not since two Detroit automakers emerged from bankruptcy a decade ago has the hometown industry faced as much uncertainty as they do now in President Donald Trump's Washington.

Chaos on tariffs and trade, emissions standards and self-driving vehicle legislation. It conjures an F-word that hasn’t been used to describe the industry in recent years in recent years: And that word is “fragile.”

college building exterior
Marygrove College

Marygrove College is folding, three years after its financial crisis became undeniable.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler’s deal of the decade is dead.

Good ol’ French politics killed it this week – exactly what you get when the federal government in Paris controls 15 percent of the hometown Renault.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Public education in Michigan is facing a crisis ever bit as threatening to its future as the bankruptcies of Detroit and two of its automakers.

And remedies to fix the deepening problems may prove even more difficult.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s first new auto plant in nearly 30 years is a go.

Fiat Chrysler will invest some $2.5 billion to upgrade its Jefferson North assembly and convert a nearby site into a second Jeep Grand Cherokee plant. The upshot: nearly 5,000 new jobs paying an average annual wage of $58,000 in one of the nation’s poorest major cities.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China is exposing an inconvenient truth for Detroit’s automakers. Their bet on the world’s largest market may need a rethink.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It’s by now undeniable that President Donald Trump expects to get his way – all the time.

So imagine the surprise in the White House this week when the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed from the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s gleaming new Little Caesars Arena is a hot venue in a reviving downtown. But the surrounding district is controversial because the Ilitch family has yet to deliver the vision it promised.

Ford Motor Co. sign
Mike Mozart / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Ford Motor’s Rodney Dangerfield days may be over.

You remember him – the ol’ comedian who always complained he “got no respect.” Neither did Ford for the past few years: its stock price stuck in neutral, despite minting money with SUVs and F-Series trucks; its product strategy doubted; its CEO, Jim Hackett, considered a lame duck from the start.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Business leaders wondering whether they have a new ally in the governor’s office got an answer this week: not so much.

The net effect of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s business tax proposals — aside from her plan to raise the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon – amounts to a tap on the economic brakes just as the hometown auto industry’s sales and profit pace is beginning to slow.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The last time Detroit got a new auto plant, Papa Bush was in the White House and Detroit’s real reckoning was years away. In the nearly 30 years since, Ford Motor mortgaged the Blue Oval to survive Detroit’s two other automakers collapsed into federally induced bankruptcy, and all three found profitability.

John Dingell, 29, is sworn in as a member of Congress in 1955 by House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas
John Dingell website

John Dingell died the same day the “Green New Deal” appeared in Washington. Michigan’s legendary congressman would not have approved.

This driving force behind the Clean Air, Medicare and Affordable Care acts was notoriously suspicious of what he called the, quote, “damn enviros” and their idealized prescriptions for the economy. They, in return, pretty much hated Dingell, considering him too cozy with Detroit’s automakers and their union members.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Generous Motors is officially gone.

The automaker’s plan to idle and try to close five North American plants is hurtling toward a Titanic battle over the direction of Detroit’s auto industry.

Two sides with totally opposed views of the market today where technology is heading and how it will affect jobs and investment will play out this year  the most consequential since the auto bankruptcies a decade ago.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Remember Foxconn Technology Group?

It was eyeing an investment in Michigan to the tune of $10 billion, but it ended up in Wisconsin. And it turns out that may be a good thing.

The Taiwan-based contract manufacturer now is reversing its promise to employ thousands of blue-collar workers making liquid-crystal displays outside Milwaukee.

President Donald Trump touted the deal nearly two years ago at the White House, on Twitter and in remarks calling it “the eighth wonder of the world.”

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Washington’s dysfunction is weighing on the auto industry. The Trump administration was supposed to be Detroit’s best friend in a couple of generations. The president was supposed to understand the industrial Midwest, if only because its voters delivered him to the White House and his team would enact policies the industry purportedly would like.

It’s not working out that way.

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It didn’t take long.

Just a few weeks after Democrats gained a 6-2 majority on Michigan State’s board of trustees, interim President John Engler is out. Exactly what you’d expect for the former Republican governor … especially after he handed his overseers yet one more rhetorical club to wield against him.

Namely, his own words.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Thirty years after the Detroit’s auto dealers rebranded its hometown auto show as “international,” the era is over.

No more tramping through the snow braving biting winds listening to complaints about coming to the Motor City in January. After this year, the North American International Auto Show will take place June and it’ll be reimagined around hands-on experience and advanced technology.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Happy New Year, folks. Detroit’s three automakers are heading for their most tumultuous year since two of them emerged from bankruptcy a decade ago.

Expect confrontation and radical change. The auto bosses charged with navigating their industry’s greatest transformation since Henry Ford’s moving assembly line are set for a clash with the industry’s paternalistic tradition, and its implied obligation to, quote, “the people.”

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Less than two weeks from now, Rick Snyder will be just another former Michigan governor.

He says he’ll return to a vague future that could include advising start-ups and doing a little teaching at his alma mater in Ann Arbor. From there, he’ll have a front-row seat to watch his successor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, and her allies try to overturn the worst aspects of his tenure as they see them, anyway.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It must be good to be Dr. Eden Wells. She’s Michigan’s chief medical executive.

Just days before a judge ordered her to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the Flint water crisis, she got a new government gig. The job is newly created and posted for all of six days, and get this, she was the only applicant.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

With apologies to Mark Twain, reports heralding the death of auto production in Detroit are exaggerated.

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