Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton http://krwg.org en Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention http://krwg.org/post/recall-woes-push-along-gms-cultural-reinvention General Motors has announced a big hit to first-quarter earnings, largely due to costs for recalls. Profits dropped nearly 90 percent from last year, with the company making a razor-thin profit of $100 million, GM said Thursday.<p>Meanwhile, GM has yet to explain why it took 10 years to issue one of the recalls for a defective ignition switch. Some critics believe the automaker's dysfunctional culture is to blame.<p>But the recall crisis could speed up a culture shift that's already underway. <p><strong>Customer-Focused</strong><p>The old GM may have taken customers for granted. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:16:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 64758 at http://krwg.org Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention After Nearly Six Decades In Office, Dingell Decides Not To Run http://krwg.org/post/after-nearly-six-decades-office-dingell-decides-not-run John Dingell of Michigan, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, announced he won't run in 2014. As Tracy Samilton reports, Dingell's state will lose more than an icon when he retires. Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:20:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 60660 at http://krwg.org VW Chattanooga Plant To Vote On UAW Membership http://krwg.org/post/vw-chattanooga-plant-vote-uaw-membership Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>Next week, workers at a Chattanooga auto plant run by Volkswagen will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:59:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 59189 at http://krwg.org Product Launches Expected To Drag Ford's 2014 Profits Down http://krwg.org/post/product-launches-expected-drag-fords-2014-profits-down Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>NPR's business news starts with a strong finish.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>MONTAGNE: Ford Motor Company closed the books on 2013 with higher than expected profits. The Detroit automaker's net earnings for the year surpassed $7 billion.<p>But as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, Ford is warning that 2014 will be more challenging.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Last year was one of Ford's most profitable ever. The Detroit car company's market share grew in the U.S. and China. Its balance sheet improved. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 09:43:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 58771 at http://krwg.org All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan http://krwg.org/post/all-aboard-real-life-polar-express-chugs-through-michigan <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4OrzADVrjQ</p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 22:17:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 56011 at http://krwg.org All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan GM's New CEO Marks A Return To Tradition http://krwg.org/post/gms-new-ceo-marks-return-tradition Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And here's even bigger news from General Motors, it has chosen a woman as its next chief executive officer, a first in America's auto industry. She's an engineer at the company insider - which could be a lot more important to GM's future than her gender.<p>Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Mary Barra follows in the wake of two CEOs from outside the auto industry. Dan Akerson ran a large private equity fund before taking the helm of GM. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:56:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 55633 at http://krwg.org Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream http://krwg.org/post/around-world-fords-mustang-fuels-dream Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.<p>Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.<p>"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."<p>Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.<p>On Thursday, Ford Motor Co. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 08:06:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 55141 at http://krwg.org Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream Oil Industry And Others Cheer EPA's Ethanol Proposal http://krwg.org/post/oil-industry-and-others-cheer-epas-ethanol-proposal The EPA's decision not to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15, had a big impact on a lot of businesses. For manufacturers of motorcycles, motor boats and outdoor power equipment, it was good news. But for gas station owners who invested in expensive blender pumps, the decision hurt. Thu, 21 Nov 2013 10:04:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 54339 at http://krwg.org Museum Raises Money To Save 'Rosie The Riveter' Plant http://krwg.org/post/museum-raises-money-save-rosie-riveter-plant Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Rosie the Riveter, with one of the most famous clenched fists in American history, embodied the message of hardworking women during World War II: We Can Do It. Now a nonprofit is hoping to carry on that legacy. In a little more than a month, the historic Michigan factory where Rosie and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers could face the wrecking ball. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 09:27:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 47939 at http://krwg.org Ford Lowers Mileage Rating On C-Max Hybrid http://krwg.org/post/ford-lowers-mileage-rating-c-max-hybrid Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>NPR's business news starts with an EPA crackdown.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>GREENE: Ford Motor Company will reduce the fuel economy sticker on its new C-Max hybrid to 43 miles per gallon, down from its earlier estimate of 47.<p>As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the change has generated a new review of fuel economy testing standards.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Ford wants to be a fuel economy leader, rivaling Toyota. Its ads for the C-Max compared its fuel economy favorably to the Prius. Fri, 16 Aug 2013 09:27:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 47635 at http://krwg.org EPA To Crack Down On Accuracy Of MPG Claims By Car Makers http://krwg.org/post/epa-crack-down-accuracy-mpg-claims-car-makers For auto companies, that Environmental Protection Agency-approved MPG sticker on a new car is a high stakes and expensive process. These days it can be damaging to a company's image if customers can't achieve that great fuel economy in their own commutes. Thu, 15 Aug 2013 21:11:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 47619 at http://krwg.org Museum Tries To Save The Plant Where Rosie Riveted http://krwg.org/post/museum-tries-save-plant-where-rosie-riveted The historic Michigan factory where the iconic Rosie the Riveter and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers during World War II could face the wrecking ball two months from now.<p>A modest nonprofit is trying to raise enough money to salvage some of the massive plant, which Ford sold to General Motors after the war. The Yankee Air Museum figures the factory is the perfect place to start anew, after a devastating fire destroyed its collections in 2004.<p>The huge hangar doors on the old Willow Run assembly plant are majestic in proportion. Sun, 04 Aug 2013 18:10:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 46868 at http://krwg.org Museum Tries To Save The Plant Where Rosie Riveted BMW's Electric Car Cut From A Different Cloth http://krwg.org/post/bmws-electric-car-cut-different-cloth BMW has finally unveiled its electric car. When you think of the parts and engineering, you'll get that it's a BMW, but when it comes to the looks ... not so much, one auto analyst says. Tue, 30 Jul 2013 09:39:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 46489 at http://krwg.org At Henry Ford's 150th Birthday Party http://krwg.org/post/henry-fords-150th-birthday-party Transcript <p>SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST: <p>Amid all the gloom in Detroit, some people were celebrating this weekend. It's the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. There was a big party at the Ford Stage in Dearborn, and people gathered there to remember the inventor who, by the way, was known for his passion for folk dance. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton sent us this audio postcard.<p>UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The dance we'd like to show you is the schottische. It's a one-two-three-hop, four-five-six-hop. Sun, 28 Jul 2013 11:07:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 46381 at http://krwg.org EPA's Push For More Ethanol Could Be Too Little, Too Late http://krwg.org/post/epas-push-more-ethanol-could-be-too-little-too-late The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could soon issue a final ruling that aims to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15.<p>This move could come just as widespread support for ethanol, which is made from corn, appears to be eroding.<p>Mike Mitchell was once a true believer in ethanol as a homegrown solution to foreign oil imports. Mon, 01 Apr 2013 07:23:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 38097 at http://krwg.org EPA's Push For More Ethanol Could Be Too Little, Too Late Profit-Sharing Checks Replace Autoworkers Raises http://krwg.org/post/profit-sharing-checks-replace-autoworkers-raises Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>The Ford Motor Company also announced its earnings yesterday, saying it had a pre-tax profit of $8 billion for 2012. And that gives union employees a reason to celebrate. They will each get a profit sharing check of $8,300 - a record high amount.<p>There's also some good news coming for General Motors workers, as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: GM hasn't announced earnings yet, but the company was roughly as profitable as Ford in the first nine months last year. Wed, 30 Jan 2013 10:33:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 34132 at http://krwg.org Toyota Regains No. 1 Sales Position http://krwg.org/post/toyota-regains-no-1-sales-position After careening from back-to-back crises — recalls and the tsunami — Toyota is No. 1 in worldwide sales again. Toyota says it sold at least 9.7 million vehicles in 2012. General Motors reports it sold 9.3 million. Both companies say it doesn't really matter which one is in the top spot. Tue, 15 Jan 2013 09:22:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 33247 at http://krwg.org Ford To Try Bringing Luxury Back To Lincoln http://krwg.org/post/ford-try-bringing-luxury-back-lincoln Ford Motor Company is changing the name of it Lincoln brand to the Lincoln Motor Company. Ford is also planning to sell the hybrid version of their flagship sedan, the new MKZ, for the same price as the gasoline version. Mon, 03 Dec 2012 21:25:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 30765 at http://krwg.org GM Quarterly Earnings Exceed Expectations http://krwg.org/post/gm-quarterly-earnings-exceed-expectations Even facing economic headwinds in Europe and South America, GM's quarterly earnings came in well above analysts' estimates, and its stock soared. Thu, 01 Nov 2012 09:10:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 28908 at http://krwg.org Study To Test 'Talking' Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers http://krwg.org/post/study-test-talking-cars-would-warn-drivers-unseen-dangers <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j676bIqL4-8</p> Tue, 21 Aug 2012 22:02:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 24679 at http://krwg.org Study To Test 'Talking' Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers States Ask Detroit: 'Build Us A Natural Gas Car, Please' http://krwg.org/post/states-ask-detroit-build-us-natural-gas-car-please More than 20 state governors are taking an unusual step to boost the natural gas vehicle industry. Independent of the federal government, they're asking Detroit carmakers to build them a new kind of car: a midsize sedan that runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline.<p>The governors are hoping to boost demand for natural gas cars with their collective buying power. Fri, 03 Aug 2012 09:14:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 23401 at http://krwg.org States Ask Detroit: 'Build Us A Natural Gas Car, Please' Ford's Little Engine That Could Challenge Hybrids http://krwg.org/post/fords-little-engine-could-challenge-hybrids Ford Motor Co. intends to prove that good things come in small packages — really small packages. The company has taken engine downsizing to a new level with its new three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which has been introduced in Europe and is set to hit the U.S. market next year.<p>The EcoBoost offers more power than many conventional four-cylinder engines, with fuel economy numbers a hybrid could envy. Tue, 24 Jul 2012 22:14:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 22806 at http://krwg.org Ford's Little Engine That Could Challenge Hybrids GM Retirees Face Friday Pension Deadline http://krwg.org/post/gm-retirees-face-friday-pension-deadline Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>You've got to escape from your Escape.<p>Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. Fri, 20 Jul 2012 08:39:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 22526 at http://krwg.org New Schedules Push Graveyard Shift Off The Clock http://krwg.org/post/new-schedules-push-graveyard-shift-clock As car companies struggle to meet growing demand, the third shift is making a comeback. But many factories running on three shifts are doing it differently from in the past. And that new "three crew" shift pattern could make what's normally a hard job even harder.<p>At Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, employees work 10-hour shifts four days a week. The so-called A crew gets days, while the B crew gets afternoons. But the C crew shift rotates its start time every week. On Fridays and Saturdays, workers start at 6:00 a.m. Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:44:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 20236 at http://krwg.org New Schedules Push Graveyard Shift Off The Clock Hear That? Annoying Hum Has Canada Making Noise http://krwg.org/post/hear-annoying-hum-has-canada-making-noise Thousands of people in Windsor, Ontario, say they are being invaded by an obnoxious noise emanating from outside Detroit. They call it the "Windsor Hum," and it's really two sounds — a deep, very low-frequency hum, like a diesel truck idling in your driveway, and a deep, vibrating pulse that you feel more than you hear.<p>Roy Norton, Detroit's Canadian consul general, says the noise is coming from the man-made Zug Island, which sits in the Detroit River. The noise apparently began when U.S. Thu, 10 May 2012 19:20:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 17944 at http://krwg.org Rough Patches Behind It, Toyota Tries To Accelerate http://krwg.org/post/rough-patches-behind-it-toyota-tries-accelerate Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.<p>The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:01:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 16447 at http://krwg.org Rough Patches Behind It, Toyota Tries To Accelerate U.S. Automakers Aim To Eliminate Lemons http://krwg.org/post/quality-us-cars-improve Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Well, from a classic American company to a classic industry. It turns out automobiles are improving, so much so in fact, that the U.S. seems to be entering a golden age of vehicle quality and reliability.<p>Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has this story about the demise of the lemon.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)<p>UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Please step into the door.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: But before you step into the door, you slip blue booties over your shoes. This lab inside the Jefferson North Assembly Plant has to be kept pristine. Inside, everything is perfect. Tue, 03 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 15500 at http://krwg.org Car Guru: Stop Downshift In Manual Transmissions http://krwg.org/post/car-guru-stop-downshift-manual-transmissions Seventy years ago, 70 percent of U.S.-made cars came with a stick shift. The number is less than 9 percent today.<p>But at least one man is on a quest to reverse that slide.<p>Eddie Alterman loves automobiles. He's a gear head. He's the top editor at <em>Car and Driver</em> magazine. His whole career, he has watched the sales of cars with stick shifts decline. And when Ferrari failed to offer a manual option for the new 458 Italia, he said, enough's enough. <em>Basta.</em><p>Alterman is making converts one by one. Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:30:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 15004 at http://krwg.org Car Guru: Stop Downshift In Manual Transmissions Auto Parts Suppliers Hiring As Fast As They Can http://krwg.org/post/auto-parts-suppliers-hiring-fast-they-can <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/148302587/looking-up-pockets-of-economic-strength">Part of a series</a><p>Detroit automakers are creating thousands of new jobs amid a sales boom. And as they expand, their suppliers are racing to keep up, adding tens of thousands of new jobs.<p>At Bridgewater Interiors in Warren, Mich., for example, the pace is intense. Hundreds of union employees scurry to fill a growing list of orders. Wed, 14 Mar 2012 04:01:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 14261 at http://krwg.org Auto Parts Suppliers Hiring As Fast As They Can Auto Bailout Is Hot-Button Issue In Michigan http://krwg.org/post/auto-bailout-hot-button-issue-michigan Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>General Motors made a record-breaking profit last year. And to date, taxpayers have recovered close to half the $50 billion federal investment in the company. So the auto bailout worked, right? Wrong, say Republican presidential candidates, who insist the bailout was a huge mistake.<p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Today, Bruce Hadden's looking forward to cashing a $7,000 bonus check from General Motors. Let's flash back, though, to late 2008. GM was broke. Mon, 27 Feb 2012 09:00:00 +0000 Michigan Radio: Tracy Samilton 13260 at http://krwg.org