This site has long been distinguished in many ways by what it doesn’t cover. Our founder wouldn’t cover motorsports at all, though that policy has obviously been changed, for the better I might add. We don’t review the latest edition of Forza or other racing games and sims, and we’re not likely to run a post about the latest episode of Top Gear, in either the original British or the various colonial forms. Why talk about what everyone is talking about? Still, there’s a reason why you see ’69 Camaros at every car show. Things are popular because people like them. This video promoting Detroit’s bid to host ESPN’s 2014 X Games, produced by Detroit agency The Work Inc., featuring a Ford Fiesta ST rallycross car racing around downtown Detroit and Belle Isle, and doing donuts on the roof of Cobo Hall, has been making the rounds of the car blogs and not only is everyone raving about the video, the promo is doing it’s job. (Read More…)
In less than a decade, the number of auto company workers employed by companies other than the Big 3 has risen from 25 to 39 percent. But by 2017 that number could rise to 50 percent.
Over 100 emergency vehicles will hit Detroit’s streets in the next few months, including 23 ambulances and more than 100 police cruisiers, thanks to a coalition of private sector donors that pitched in for the vehicles.
Until the modern day revival of electric vehicles like the Teslas, Nissan’s Leaf or the Chevy Volt, the best selling electric car ever was the Detroit Electric, produced by the Anderson Carriage company from 1907 to 1939. They sold thousands of them (1914 was the high water mark with ~4,500 produced). Among the people who drove Detroit Electrics were electricity pioneers Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz and the wives of automotive industrialists Henry Ford and Henry Joy (he ran Packard). Interestingly, John D. Rockefeller, who made his enormous fortune from petroleum products like gasoline, owned a pair of Detroit Electric Model 46 Roadsters. Now, not only has the electric car industry been revived, but also the Detroit Electric company, which says it will start producing battery electric sports cars in a Michigan facility by the end of this summer. Following Tesla’s example, their first car will be based on a Lotus, in this case an Exige coupe, and the company promises two other “high performance” models in 2014. (Read More…)
The 12-person protest that took place at Chrysler’s Warren, Michgan truck plant got little notice in the automotive news cycle, save for a couple of mentions on the usual aggregators. In truth, it’s not the juiciest story to sell in this click-driven wasteland, though these stories tend to raise the most interesting questions. This example highlights an issue that is going to dog the UAW for some time – how will the UAW control their workers when they are also the owners?
As Detroiters wait to see if the latest plans to raze the decrepit century old abandoned Packard plant on the city’s east side come to fruition, someone apparently tried to make a point by putting up posters reading Arbeit Macht Frei in the frames of the broken windows of the overpass at Concord Street that connected the two halves of the giant factory. That phrase, German for “work makes you free”, sat above the gates of many Nazi concentration and death camps. Of course that slogan was part of the Nazis’ cruelty because in those camps, the only freedom a prisoner could hope for was the freedom of the grave as they were at best worked to death in labor camps and slave factories, or exterminated in factories of death. The Nazis dangled that carrot, the hope that you could survive if only you worked hard enough, but for eleven million of their victims, more than half of them Jews, that hope was not fulfilled. But in Detroit? (Read More…)
Chrysler is launching a series of “buzz cars”, a fancy name for special edition package that will ostensibly maintain consumer interest in their cars as they progress over the model cycle.
When I go to a first-rate car show, collection or museum, I often vacillate between “but of course” and “what a surprise”. There are cars that you know that you’re going to see, cars that naturally belong in that environment, and then there are unexpected but undeniably special cars that turn out to be one of the highlights of the event for you. The Concours of America at St. John’s, formerly the Meadow Brook Concours, is not only at the pinnacle of Detroit area car events but it’s also a world-class event, in the rank of the Amelia Island and Pebble Beach shows. The 2012 CoA was held last Sunday and as expected there were plenty of “of course” moments, but also a few very pleasant surprises, including this McLaren M1B, what I consider the ultimate anti-trailer queen.
Car companies can go on about their “heritage”. Though we know it’s at least partly hype, some of that heritage is verifiable history and as car enthusiasts it can tug at our automotive heartstrings. Still, it’s very easy to get cynical when you see how casually companies can be with history when it comes to promoting their products.
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney published an op-ed in the Detroit News calling the auto bailout “crony capitalism on a grand scale.” Boasting of his Michigan roots, Romney takes the Obama administration and the UAW to task for what he suggests is a symbiotic relationship between the two that allowed the union to get stakes in GM and Chrysler. In short, nothing new from the man who is running an election that is a referendum on Obama’s presidency.
Last fall, the first tests of the new Chevy Caprice PPV, Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ford Taurus Interceptor generated quite a bit of interest here at TTAC and beyond, as three all-new contestants battled to replace the outgoing Crown Victoria as America’s cop car. At the time, the Caprice seemed like the clear performance favorite, but as Sajeev Mehta has pointed out, there’s more to the cop-car equation than pure speed. Although good luck trying to tell the Detroit Three that, as all three are cherry-picking performance stats in the wake of the latest round of Michigan State Police testing.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s petulant letter to UAW President Bob King sounded to me like a man angry with being kept waiting after a long flight, but according to the Detroit News, it has “derailed” the “carefully crafted timeline” for contract negotiations. To wit:
Sources close to the negotiations told The Detroit News that a deal was imminent with General Motors Co. when Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sat down at his Mac computer and fired off a sharply worded letter to UAW President Bob King at 10 p.m. Wednesday, accusing the union leader of violating their gentlemen’s agreement to sign off on a deal by the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
Shortly after the letter was sent, talks stopped at both companies.
Chrysler and the UAW agreed to extend their current contract for one week. Talks resumed Thursday between the two sides, but nothing of substance is being discussed at the bargaining table, according to people familiar with the talks.
Actually, that’s not exactly what everyone is reporting…
If things seem a little slow around here today, it’s because I’m in the Detroit area, away from the productive calm of my office sanctuary. I’m in town for quite an exciting event: tomorrow, I’ll be conducting an extended interview with the industry’s most infamous executive, “Maximum” Bob Lutz. And though I can’t extend an invite to Lutz Farm to TTAC’s Best & Brightest, I can offer the next-best thing: an exclusive post-interview debrief. If you’re going to be in the Detroit area tomorrow, hit the jump for more details. If you can’t make it to Motown, but you have a burning question for Mr Lutz that didn’t make it into the relevant thread, go ahead and leave it in the comments here. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator tresmonos writes:
OK. So I used to work for Ford and am now gainfully employed by them (again). My dilemma is as follows:
I am rolling on a Z24 cavalier that I bought brand new in 2001. It has 160K on the clock and the only thing I can see that’s wrong with it is a AC compressor that’s been on limp mode since 2007 (bearing), bad drum brakes due to my laziness (LMAO – SM), and interior fan’s lowest two resistors being shot. The twin cam has a bad coil as it misses at idle, but I could care less. The car’s exterior filth has literally out lasted my marriage. It’s been a hell of a financial savings for me. But we all know the twin cam dream won’t last much longer.
I temporarily moved to SC and blew my car savings load on a 100% rust free 1984 lincoln continental turbo diesel. I repainted it and have slaved over some wiring nightmares on it. I’ve got 6K invested in the thing. And I need a new mode of transportation. Foolish purchase, I know… but if you would look at the clean, rust free body, and sit in that Corinthian plush leather seats whilst romping on the gas to behold two dual plumes of diesel particulate whooshing in the rear view, you’d understand.
This handy pocket chart (print out and laminate), brought to you courtesy of the Freep, shows you the good and bad parts of the Detroit Metro when it comes to driving under the influence. We supply it in extra large, because- well, you know.
As you can see, in Detroit proper, the consequences of getting caught over the limit are pretty benign.
North of 8 Mile Road, matters get dicey. And the map tells only half of the story. (Read More…)