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General Motors

UAW workers went on strike in Flint Monday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers say General Motors canceled health insurance for more than 49,000 striking workers Monday night, without any notice.

The move means employees will need to sign up for COBRA insurance. COBRA is the federal insurance program for people who are out of work.

The union will have to dig into its strike fund more deeply than it apparently planned because of the decision.

General Motors workers made big concessions to help pull the automaker out of its 2009 bankruptcy. Now, the company is making record profits.

But, the Warren Transmission plant in Michigan shut its doors at the tail end of June, and most of the workers have been placed at other plants. It's a ghost factory.

view from the backseat of a person driving a car
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, what is Michigan doing to compensate the thousands of residents wrongly accused of making fraudulent unemployment insurance claims? Plus, we look into efforts at Grand Rapids Public Schools to improve opportunities for students of color, and talk to a desegregation expert about why urban districts often struggle to do so. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

General Motors is investing $150 million to boost production at its Flint assembly plant. Company officials made the announcement at the plant on Wednesday.

The plant produces the automaker’s profitable heavy duty pick-up trucks. GM announced earlier this year that it would add another 1,000  jobs in Flint for the rollout of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

In Flint Wednesday, GM President Mark Reuss said it’s important for the automaker to minimize logistical costs across its supply chain.

an airless tire travels over rocks
Steve Fecht for General Motors

General Motors passenger vehicles could have airless, puncture-proof tires as early as 2024, Michelin and GM announced Tuesday

The airless technology, dubbed the Uptis Prototype (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System), would eliminate flat tires and blowouts - a factor likely appealing to consumers, and with the added benefit of reducing waste and raw materials. The prototype would also help tires last longer as there would be less wear and tear caused by over- and under-inflation. 

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.

General Motors

It's been a couple days of good and bad news for General Motors employees.

GM announced Tuesday it's adding a thousand workers to build heavy duty trucks at its Flint Assembly plant. That's just as the automaker begins laying off 4,000 white collar workers, over the next two weeks.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

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

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Morgan McCaul
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, General Motors is set to keep receiving tax breaks from the state of Michigan until 2029. That's in spite of the company's recent decision to cut thousands of jobs and shut down production at two plants in the state. Plus, a co-author of this year's National Climate Assessment shares how climate change is projected to impact Michigan and the Midwest in coming decades. 

box office neon sign
Photo by @CVDOP Limbocker on Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a Michigan State University economist weighs in on what General Motors' decision to lay off workers and shutter factories means for the Michigan communities and workers involved. Plus, what to expect from the Michigan Legislature as it enters its lame-duck session. 

Person working inside General Motors' Hamtramck plant.
John F. Martin / General Motors

General Motors shocked the automotive world on Monday when the company announced it would curb production in five factories nationwide, including two Michigan plants — one in Hamtramck and one in Warren.

But Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard wasn’t entirely surprised by GM’s decision. He joined Stateside to talk about the implications of the layoffs and closures on Michigan's broader economy. 

Warren Transmission Operations
General Motors

Two Michigan auto factories will halt production in 2019.

General Motors announced Monday morning that the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and Warren transmission operations plant will cease production in 2019, as well as plants in Ontario, Ohio, and Maryland.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is close to getting back a major water customer it lost during the city’s water crisis.

General Motors took its Flint engine plant off city water in the fall of 2014, after determining the water was corroding engine parts.  It was an early sign of problems with Flint’s drinking water.

GM to mass-produce autonomous vehicle in Michigan plants

Mar 20, 2018
GM Cruise LLC

General Motors announced last Thursday that it would spend $100 million to begin making production versions of its self-driving electric Chevy Bolt sedans at its Orion Township and Brownstown plants. The “Cruise AV,” will be the company’s first production-ready vehicle built to operate without a steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls.

lake with evergreen tree in summer
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

The goal of business is to make profit, but these days, big corporations are feeling pressure to do more—like investing some of that money back into communities or reducing a company's environmental impact.  

In an op-ed for The Conversation, economist Marina Whitman described this new ethos and why investors are leading the push for change.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A $7.3 billion accounting charge pushed General Motors into a $3.9 billion net loss for 2017, but without the expense the company posted record per-share earnings.

Excluding one-time items, GM made $9.9 billion, or $6.62 per share, the highest since leaving bankruptcy in 2009. The earnings beat Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $6.33 per share. Full-year revenue was $145.6 billion, which also beat estimates.

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. 

A car at Genaral Motors' Milford Proving Grounds
General Motors

A group of Brighton Township residents is suing General Motors for groundwater contamination stemming from the company's Milford Proving Grounds.

The class-action lawsuit filed in Livingston County Circuit Court alleges that GM knew about contamination to water sources from salt used to maintain roads and testing areas at the facility for more than 30 years.

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.

The Chevrolet Bolt, a long-range electric car
GM

Less than eight months after General Motors made its initial 100% renewable energy commitment, the Detroit automaker's CEO, Mary Barra, says the timeline will be sped up.

"That's a stake that we put in the ground and now we plan to move that back," Barra said at a press conference held prior to GM's annual shareholders meeting.

A spokesman for GM confirmed the plan, but says there is "no new timetable to announce at this point."

GM headquarters in Detroit
JODI WESTRICK / MICHIGAN RADIO FILE PHOTO

A battle between General Motors and an activist investor will come to a head this week.

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital hedge fund quadrupled its stake in GM in the first quarter of the year.    It now owns more than 3% of the automaker’s stock.  

Michigan Radio

DTE Energy will close its last coal-burning plant by 2040, and reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

The decision comes in spite of the Trump administration's decision to slam the brakes on the Clean Power Plan, which would have allowed the U.S. EPA to regulate carbon emissions for the first time.

While the president and top administration officials continue denying the causal connection between carbon emissions from human activity and climate change, many corporations, including utilities like DTE, have accepted it as fact.

General Motors headquarters in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Recent reports show that auto sales have slipped more than expected. That’s the fourth month in a row of declining sales.

And Wall Street responded. Share prices of the big three took a hit.

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.

Although General Motors CEO Mary Barra wasn't among the business leaders that quit President Trump's advisory councils before they disbanded, Howes says he believes she was leaning in that direction.
Andrea_44 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from General Motors Co. seeking to block dozens of lawsuits over faulty ignition switches that could expose the company to billions of dollars in additional claims.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that said the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy did not shield it from liability in the cases.

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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Army officials are touting the potential of a new prototype vehicle from General Motors.

The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and is whisper-quiet.  Army officials say it may be especially helpful for special forces in need of a stealthy vehicle.   

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters was on hand as GM officials literally handed over the keys to Army researchers. The Michigan Democrat praises the technology in the vehicle.

The Tesla Model S, first introduced in June 2012
Tesla Motors

Here’s the latest Detroit indignity: Tiny Tesla, the electric automaker, is felling giants.

The Silicon Valley startup created in 2003 is worth more in market value than the American industrial icon founded exactly 100 years earlier by Henry Ford, the premier innovator of his time.

Tesla’s not far behind General Motors, either. The promise of game-changing innovation, the hope that someone new can crack the emissions-free code is causing tons of smart money to flow into Chairman Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Nearly $49 billion-worth, to be precise.

A Tesla electronic car at a charging station
Austin Kirk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's a tiny company packing a big punch with investors.

Electric car maker Tesla now has a higher market value than Ford. It's just behind General Motors at the top of the list. 

Ford Motor Co. headquarters
Ford Motor Company

U.S. automakers sold 1.56 million new cars and trucks in March. That's down 1.6% from this time last year.

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