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Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen have announced a limited alliance.

As part of the alliance, Ford will develop and build medium-size pickups and commercial vans for the global market for both companies. The vehicles will be sold with either a Ford or Volkswagen brand name in South America, Africa, and Europe.

Volkswagen will develop and build a city van for both automakers.

NAIAS

It's the start of the 30th annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

It's also the last time the show will be in January. The once can't-miss event is moving to the summer in 2020 with the hope of regaining some of its lost glory.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As General Motors tries to forge a new future at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, some employees spoke out Monday about how they feel the company has compromised their futures—and say the automaker owes them better.

Members of UAW Local 22 work at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. GM announced around Thanksgiving it intends to close the plant, which employs about 1,600 people, sometime this year.

General Motors

General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the automaker is fully committed to a zero emissions future.  

Those vehicles of the  future are being developed using the profits from GM's gasoline-powered trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.

Panasonic

Vehicle to Vehicle Communication, or V2V, is a potentially life-saving technology that allows cars to communicate with each other and with traffic signals and other road infrastructure to prevent accidents.

General Motors

The United Auto Workers is suing General Motors in federal district court, claiming the automaker is breaching its labor contract by using temporary workers to block plant transfers.  

The UAW says there are nearly 700 workers laid off from the Lordstown, Ohio Assembly Plant, and many have applied to transfer to the Fort Wayne, Indiana Assembly Plant, as is their right under the contract with GM. 

But the union's lawsuit claims GM is preventing those transfers by filling vacant jobs with temporary workers at Fort Wayne. 

Flickr

Auto analysts don't usually get their U.S. new car sales forecasts wrong, but for 2018, they did.

Michelle Krebs is an analyst with Autotrader. She says car sales are going to end up slightly ahead of sales in 2017, at about 17.2 or 17.3 million.

"Our forecasts and everyone else's had the industry down a little bit," she says.

robert and bunny carlson
Courtesy of Ken Fischer

 

Today on Stateside, we speak with a Grand Rapids couple about their 61-year-long tradition of attending University Musical Society's performance of Handel's Messiah. Plus, General Motors announced Monday it will cut 14,000 jobs in North America. We discuss the disconnect between the political promises President Donald Trump made to workers in the Rust Belt, and the reality of running a transportation business in 2018. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A major auto supplier is showing off technology it says will significantly improve engine efficiency.

Delphi Technologies is developing a new system to take advantage of all the bits of data today’s vehicles generate to make them more efficient. The system will use onboard and other connected vehicle technology to assist drivers with speed and braking to reduce wasted energy.

NettoFigueiredo / pixabay

Tuesday, Michigan voters will decide if they want to legalize recreational marijuana.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting views on whether legal weed will make Michigan’s streets more dangerous.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, collision claims are the most frequent kind of claims insurers receive.

Obama White House

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held its second of three public listening sessions Tuesday, this one in Dearborn, on its proposal to freeze increases in fuel economy standards after 2020.

But even automakers that don't support the current standards say a freeze is going too far, as David Shepardson of Reuters reports.

Michigan auto show
Michigan International Auto Show

 

President Trump says he has reached a trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA, even though the agreement announced on Monday does not include Canada.

cars on a highway
Joe Shlabotnik / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

 


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and a handful of residents have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Michigan over the high cost of auto insurance.  

Michigan’s average rate is twice that of the national average. In Detroit, no-fault auto insurance costs about six thousand dollars a year.

a Ford Mustang Bullitt
Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Trump administration today made it official: it wants to freeze an Obama-era program called the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards — or CAFE. The program was intended to improve fuel efficiency and cut pollution. 

The White House's proposal would lower fuel efficiency targets, and get rid of California's special exemption under the Clean Air Act, which lets the state set its own limits on air pollution.

user International Students’ Committee / wikimedia commons

 

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.  

Media gather around the Volvo XC90 at the Detroit Auto Show.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The past few days have brought some big changes in the automotive world.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive at Fiat Chrysler, stepped down after complications during a shoulder surgery. He’s been replaced by Mike Manley, who has been in charge of the company’s Jeep and Ram brands.

Plus, it’s finally official. The Detroit Auto Dealers Association has announced that the the North American International Auto Show is leaving frigid January behind and shifting to a June schedule in 2020.

row of colorful car hoods
User Zelda Richardson / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Auto sales in June were higher than analysts expected, despite rising interest rates and rising prices for cars.  Sales are expected to slow this year compared to last year, but not by much.

But proposed import tariffs on cars would throw a monkey wrench into the works.  President Trump says he is considering imposing as much as a 25% tariff on all vehicles made outside the U.S. 

That would hurt all auto companies, including GM, Ford, and Fiat-Chrysler, which make many of their cars in Canada, Mexico, and China, and import them into the U.S.

IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says some automakers are still struggling to pass a tough new crash test, but that many lives depend on them getting it right.  

The small overlap front crash test is done to see how well a driver or passenger is protected in a front crash when the side is clipped, either by another car, or an obstruction. 

The Institute's Russ Rader says the crashes are particularly dangerous. Of fatal accidents that happen in a front crash, 25% are small overlaps.

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."

The Chevy Bolt plug receptacle.
GM

General Motors and Honda will collaborate to develop new advanced chemistry battery components, "to accelerate both companies plans' for all-electric vehicles," according to a press release from GM.

The battery will have higher energy density, be smaller, and faster to charge.

Once it has been developed, GM will produce the batteries for both companies, mainly for cars sold in the North American market. 

The joint venture is expected to save research and development costs as well as lower per-battery costs because of economies of scale.

V2V technology can warn drivers of many dangerous situations
General Motors

Despite being the first automaker to put vehicle to vehicle technology in a car in the U.S.,  it appears General Motors is not yet ready to match Toyota's April announcement that it will voluntarily put the life-saving technology in most of its vehicles by the mid 2020s. 

General Motors

Many people don't know about the life-saving potential of V2V (vehicle to vehicle), a wifi and GPS-based technology that allows cars to communicate with each other and with traffic signals.

Oakland County hopes to change that for its residents – and find out if they'd be willing to pay for it.

Levi Hutmacher / Michigan Engineering, Communications and Marketing

The University of Michigan's latest self-driving vehicle research project isn't on its enclosed test campus, Mcity.

Launched on Monday, staff and students on the university's north campus can now catch a ride on a driverless shuttle, which will travel about a one-mile route between two traditional bus stops.  

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?

public domain

Automakers are urging the Trump administration not to freeze fuel efficiency standards after the year 2022. 

The standards were meant to help the United States reduce carbon emissions and meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. In the final days of the Obama administration, federal regulators finalized rigorous fuel economy improvements for 2022 to 2025, reaching a real-world mpg average of about 35 miles per gallon.

Chevy Volt at charging station
Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) / Wikimedia

Consumers Energy is proposing a $7.5 million rebate and education pilot project to encourage electric vehicle adoption.

a fuel economy (mpg) sticker
wikimedia

Seven national environmental groups are challenging the EPA's decision to freeze fuel economy standards in the year 2022.

dog97209 / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

In 2009, it was official: China leapfrogged past the United States to become the largest auto market in the world.

The world's most populous country offers lots of opportunities for both domestic and foreign car makers, and Chinese automakers want to go global.

Chrysler logo
Garret Voight / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Twenty years ago this week, Germany's Daimler-Benz AG acquired Chrysler.

 

The Germans described it as "a merger of equals." 

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.”

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