WUOMFM

Auto

General Motors

The Trump administration has quietly set aside plans to require new cars to be able to wirelessly talk to each other, auto industry officials said, jeopardizing one of the most promising technologies for preventing traffic deaths.

Courtesy of the Dick Tyler Collection in the Michigan History Center Archives

Happy 60th birthday to an iconic Michigan landmark: the Mighty Mac!

State archivist Mark Harvey joined Stateside to fun facts about the Mackinac Bridge in honor of its birthday.

wrecked car
Robbie Howell / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Why does Michigan have some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation?

Crain’s Detroit Business and Bridge Magazine dug into the heart of the question that affects every single driver in our state by analyzing insurance data over a 14 year span. They found that repairing people costs a whole lot more than repairing cars. Most of your auto insurance now goes to PIP, or Personal Injury Protection.

wikipedia

Honda is stepping up its effort to get some of the most dangerous recalled cars in the country repaired.

Tests have shown that the early-issue Takata airbags in these vehicles have up to a 50% chance of exploding in the face of the driver in a crash:

NHTSA

General Motors is paying out more money after delaying a recall of cars with a potentially deadly defect.  

The automaker has settled with states for $120 million, after states sued for damages related to the automaker's ten-year delay of an ignition switch recall. 

The switches could easily be bumped or jostled into the off or accessory position.  That also turned off safety systems like air bags. 

More than 124 people were killed in accidents in which the switches turning off was a factor. 

GM Renaissance Center in Detroit.
John F. Martin / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Liz Wetzel never thought she'd work at General Motors, or any car company for that matter. 

She was an art student after all. 

But when her dad noticed there was a lack of female designers in the Pontiac studios where he worked, he suggested she pursue automotive design. 

Car dashboard
Pixabay

Many infotainment systems are placing very high demands on drivers, according to new research. 

Of 30 infotainment systems tested, virtually all broke the two second rule for many tasks, meaning don't take your eyes off the road more than two seconds to fiddle with the radio or navigation system. Some tasks took drivers more than 40 seconds.  Gary Bubar is with AAA.  He says the message for drivers is clear.

"Use your common sense," he says.  "Understand that just because the systems are there we don't need to use them while we're driving."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been without an administrator since January.

Reuters reports former NHTSA officials, consumer groups, lawmakers and some business leaders are urging the Trump Administration to appoint someone.

Amit Narang is with Public Citizen.  He says the situation means tire safety regulations have been put on the back burner.

Alan / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Will General Motors and Ford be able to rise to the challenge of self-driving cars? 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes isn't sure. 

Two deer cross a road in front of an oncoming car
State Farm Insurance / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It's October, and deer are in the mood for love. That means Michigan drivers are at greater risk of hitting a deer. October through December is mating season for deer, so they're extra active and on the move.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major auto parts supplier officially broke ground today for a new plant in Flint.

Lear Corporation plans to manufacture seats on the site of the former Buick City plant. The new plant will employee hundreds of people.   

“There’s a lot of negative news today,” Ray Scott, executive vice president, Lear, and president, Lear seating business, told the crowd on hand for the ceremony. “To have a positive story is really a wonderful thing.”

Over the next year, Lear plans to transform 33 acres of blank concrete into a new 156,000-sq. ft. production facility that will assembly seats for GM trucks.

GM Canada

Roughly 2,700 General Motors union members walked off the job nine days ago at the CAMI Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which assembles GM's best-selling crossover, the Chevy Equinox. 

The strike is now affecting jobs in the U.S.

Engines for the Equinox are made in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and also in Flint, so now there are layoffs at those two plants. GM wouldn't say how many. 

Pixabay

 

If you’re a Michigander, odds are the only thing you complain about as much as the weather is the cost of your car insurance.

And you’re right to.

 

GM Canada

More than 2,700 union workers at GM's CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario walked off the job early Monday morning.

The plant builds GM's best-selling crossover, the Chevy Equinox.  GM also builds the Equinox in Mexico. 

Tracy Samilton

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced new voluntary guidance for developers of self-driving cars, along with guidance for state legislatures in responding to the rapidly developing technology.

Chao made the announcement at Mcity, Ann Arbor's driverless car test track.  She says the federal government needs to stay out of the way of developers of a technology that has the potential to save thousands of lives a year.

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.

Vimeo

The Michigan Department of Transportation and a foundation started by a grieving father are splitting the cost to add a protective cable median barrier on a stretch of I-96.

Steve Kiefer is a GM executive who lost his son Mitchel in an accident caused by a distracted driver who was texting.

"Mitchell's car was struck from behind with such force that it was driven across the median into oncoming traffic," Kiefer said at a press conference.  "Mitchell's car was broadsided by a truck and Mitchell was killed instantly."

adwriter / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Change is in the wind at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside today to explain what's behind Great Wall Motors' interest in buying Fiat Chrysler.

State Farm / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Last week in Crain’s Detroit BusinessChad Livengood wrote about how Detroit factory workers are charged more than lawyers for auto insurance. Livengood joined Stateside to explain a new study that looked at why rates are so high in the city. 

The study, conducted by California researcher Douglas Heller, tested six major insurance carriers using a 30-year-old female profile. It found the rates she received varied widely depending on her level of education, job title, and area of the state she lived in.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Automakers released second-quarter earnings for 2017 this week, and Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says, on the whole, American companies are doing good business.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has the most reason to smile, according to Howes. He says FCA profit margins are rising both globally and in North America. And he says demand for cars is continuing to decline in favor of larger SUVs and trucks.

A deployed airbag.
Bee Forks / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal judge has chosen a new "special master" to oversee Takata restitution payments. 

That's after the first proposed special master, Robert Mueller, was appointed to lead an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  

Harvard University professor Eric Green will be in charge of disbursing nearly $1 billion in payments to people and companies harmed by Takata's defective airbags. From the court notice:

GM headquarters
Mark Goebel / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? In this case, the "old dog" is the Big Three automakers.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes thinks we're about to find out, for better or for worse.

He says auto sales are down for six consecutive months over last year. One critique of the Big Three automakers is that they are not able to manage a downturn in sales.

A red Dodge RAM pickup
Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler is being sued for an alleged defect in the emissions systems of some trucks that can result in a 25% drop in fuel economy, according to a lawsuit filed by the firm Hagens Berman.

The lawsuit says Fiat Chrysler sold hundreds of thousands of 2013 to 2017 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks with faulty emissions systems. 

Owners who brought their trucks in for a repair of the systems found that the fix resulted in dramatically lower fuel economy.  

Today, we hear from someone working to develop industry standards in the "Wild West" of autonomous cars. And, we take an audio tour of the University of Michigan's driverless shuttles debuting this fall.

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.

cars on the highway
KEN LUND / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

We keep hearing about the technological advances that are making the dream of self-driving cars become a reality.

It's not just about developing the technology to do it. It's also about making sure that autonomous vehicles are safe. And that safety will come from the standards that are set for connected and automated vehicles.

line of chevy volts
Courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is adding to its fleet of automated cars. The company hopes to maintain what it says is a big advantage in a crucial technology of the future.  

GM put 50 self-driving Bolt EVs on public roads late last year.  At GM's Orion Township plant, CEO Mary Barra showed off some of the 130 next-generation self-driving Bolts that will soon be added to the fleet.

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.  

Spectators watching a car race
Mike Boening Photography / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Tom Perkins, a reporter for Detroit Metro Times, kicked off his conversation with Stateside by detailing a satirical gearhead protest happening outside of the Michigan International Speedway:

Pages