The Truth About Cars » michigan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 13 Dec 2014 16:45:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » michigan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Michigan Bills Could Open Door To Auto Title Lenders http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/michigan-bills-open-door-auto-title-lenders/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/michigan-bills-open-door-auto-title-lenders/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957929 Auto title lenders, whose practices are aligned with those dealing in payday loans, furniture leases, and cheaply made wheel-and-tire rentals, may soon be able to profit off of Michigan consumers should a bill in the state senate be passed. The Detroit News reports a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, Mich. […]

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Dirtbag America Auto Title Lending Store and Krispy Kreme 2012

Auto title lenders, whose practices are aligned with those dealing in payday loans, furniture leases, and cheaply made wheel-and-tire rentals, may soon be able to profit off of Michigan consumers should a bill in the state senate be passed.

The Detroit News reports a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, Mich. — with an identical bill led by Rep. John Walsh of Livonia in the state House — would add a loophole to a century-old pawnbroker law to allow those affected to charge a 20 percent monthly “usage fee” to consumers, instead of the 3 percent charged now.

The state’s pawnbrokers are among those opposed to the bill, stating that such an increase would only lead to more defaults, affecting consumers “in an adverse way,” according to American Jewelry and Loan vice president Seth Gold.

As for who is in favor, two opposing lobbyists have found Georgia-based Select Management Resources to be the primary backer of Michigan Senate Bill No. 1138/House Bill No. 5954.

Should the bill go through, auto title lenders could act as pawnbrokers in Michigan, going around a ban of their usual business model in so doing. Further, a loan of $1,000 would go from accumulating a manageable $360 in interest over 12 months, to an insane $2,760 over the same period.

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Gilbert Calls Out Dealers In Wake Of Reinforced Michigan Direct Sales Ban http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gilbert-calls-dealers-wake-reinforced-michigan-direct-sales-ban/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gilbert-calls-dealers-wake-reinforced-michigan-direct-sales-ban/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935370 Tuesday, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that included language reinforcing a direct sales ban established over 30 years ago. Wednesday? Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert — best known as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers who penned a letter in Comic Sans typeface in response to LeBron James making the decision […]

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Tuesday, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that included language reinforcing a direct sales ban established over 30 years ago.

Wednesday? Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert — best known as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers who penned a letter in Comic Sans typeface in response to LeBron James making the decision to play for the Miami Heat — had a few words to say about this decision.

According to Detroit Free Press, Gilbert was interviewing fellow NBA team owner Mark Cuban while guest-hosting an episode of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” when he brought up the signing of HB 5606, now known as Michigan Public Act 354 of 2014, proclaiming the move “sends a bad message” as far as how much influence lobbyists — especially the auto dealer lobby — have over legislators. He added that Michigan dealers should “man up” and compete with Tesla instead of forcing the EV automaker to sell through a franchise network.

Morgan Stanley automotive analyst Adam Jonas agreed with Gilbert in a note to the financial giant’s clients, stating it was only “a matter of time” that the issue of direct sales — and Tesla’s link to them — would “likely mushroom into a national issue.” He also said legislation protecting the status quo “exist to support the weakest link in the network.”

On the other side, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce president Sandy Baruah believes Detroit “should have a business environment where all participants play by a common set of rules.” The chamber also supported the signing, and says it looks forward to the further examination Snyder called for in light of the reinforcement.

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Tesla Direct Sales Ban Reinforced In Michigan, GM Supported Signing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/tesla-direct-sales-ban-reinforced-michigan-gm-supported-signing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/tesla-direct-sales-ban-reinforced-michigan-gm-supported-signing/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934698 It’s official: the ban preventing Tesla from directly selling its wares to customers in Michigan has been reinforced. Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB 5606, now known as Public Act 354 of 2014. The act not only prohibits automakers from telling their dealerships what fees the latter can charge customers, but reinforces a […]

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2013 Tesla Model S Summerside Lighthouse

It’s official: the ban preventing Tesla from directly selling its wares to customers in Michigan has been reinforced.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB 5606, now known as Public Act 354 of 2014. The act not only prohibits automakers from telling their dealerships what fees the latter can charge customers, but reinforces a law already on the books:

This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan — because this is already prohibited under Michigan law.

Though Tesla can do little more than open a showroom and a repair shop for now, Snyder said lawmakers should “always be willing to re-examine” legislation with the aim of improving the consumer’s experience “in a more efficient and less costly manner.”

Meanwhile, at least one automaker is happy PA 354 is on the books. In a one-sentence press release, General Motors had this to say prior to the bill’s signing:

We believe that House Bill 5606 will help ensure that all automotive manufacturers follow the same rules to operate in the State of Michigan; therefore, we encourage Governor Snyder to sign it.

Per Jalopnik, GM sent a similar message to Ohio governor John Kasich back in March of this year regarding SB137, which would have allowed Tesla to directly sell to customers in the state; the bill later died in the Ohio Senate.

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Michigan May Ban Tesla Direct Sales Pending Governor’s Signature http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/michigan-may-ban-tesla-direct-sales-pending-governors-signature/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/michigan-may-ban-tesla-direct-sales-pending-governors-signature/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931978 Sitting on Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s desk is a bill that would add the state to the list of places where Tesla cannot sell its vehicles directly to the public, waiting for his pen to seal the deal. Automotive News reports Michigan H.B. 5606 was originally meant to determine whether or not automakers could stop […]

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Sitting on Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s desk is a bill that would add the state to the list of places where Tesla cannot sell its vehicles directly to the public, waiting for his pen to seal the deal.

Automotive News reports Michigan H.B. 5606 was originally meant to determine whether or not automakers could stop their dealership networks from charging consumers certain fees when it was introduced in May, only for the anti-Tesla language to be appended to the bill by the state senate prior to passage — and without notice or debate — during the first two days of October. The bill then returned to the state house, passing 106 to 1 before landing on Snyder’s desk.

On the third day, Tesla contacted the governor’s office to have “a very open and productive dialogue” with those in the Snyder administration, according to vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell. He added that the automaker had been watching the bill since its introduction, citing its experience with other bills where anti-Tesla language had been stealthily implemented.

Meanwhile, Michigan Automobile Dealers Association executive vice president Terry Burns applauded the bill, proclaiming that while Tesla are “more than welcome” to do business in Michigan, he would hope they do so based on state law:

One good thing about being governor, you get to do whatever you think is appropriate at the time. We hope and look forward to him signing the bill and clarifying the language, and we hope he does it soon.

As for when the governor would decide the fate of H.B. 5606, a representative said the bill was being evaluated, but nothing has been decided thus far. Snyder has until October 21 to sign.

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Future Of Industry, Mobility To Be Shaped At Detroit Tech Conference http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908673 Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit. Automotive News reports industry execs, government […]

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Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit.

Automotive News reports industry execs, government officials and researchers will converge to sort out the future of the automobile as shaped by mobility technology. At present, companies like Tesla, Uber and Google are driving the rest of the industry toward a place where vehicles can be upgraded via software, communicate with other vehicles and the road, and drive itself to pick up a passenger or two before driving itself to the intended destination.

As such, the old guard are doing their best to prepare for the world to come. General Motors, for example, plans to introduce V2V and semi-autonomous systems in two Cadillac sedans by 2017, and has joined up with Ford, Honda and other automakers in a research program with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center where shared autonomous vehicles could one day be the norm. Meanwhile, Daimler bought the Mytaxi and RideScout apps last week “to make mobility as simple as possible,” according to subsidiary Moovel’s CEO, Robert Henrich.

The end game for the automotive industry may see automakers go from just building vehicles to becoming “personal-mobility companies,” in the words of Ford chair Bill Ford, upending a business model that has served the industry since it began over a century ago.

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Employee Files Charges Against UAW, Ford Over Dues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899074 Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now. Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from […]

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Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now.

Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from the National Right to Work Foundation, has filed charges against both the automaker and the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board on the objection to using a portion of his dues to support the Democratic Party, invoking his Beck rights to claw back $98 of dues over the past three months thus far.

If successful, the legal action would pave the way for others who don’t want to pay dues beyond core union activities, if at all, prior to the September 15, 2015 expiration date of the UAW’s current contracts with the Detroit Three. After that date, new contracts would allow all workers in Michigan the right to opt-out of paying any dues, the result of the state legislature’s passage of Michigan’s right-to-work law in 2012.

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Latest GM Recall Woes Hurt Q2 Results http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-25-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-25-2014/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873066 In today’s General Motors digest: The automaker takes it on the chin in its quarterly report; the analysts have their say; GM Korea could allow its workers to build the next Cruze if only they would put down the picket signs; 45 attorney generals are investigating the February 2014 recall; and CEO Mary Barra will […]

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GM Renaissance Center

In today’s General Motors digest: The automaker takes it on the chin in its quarterly report; the analysts have their say; GM Korea could allow its workers to build the next Cruze if only they would put down the picket signs; 45 attorney generals are investigating the February 2014 recall; and CEO Mary Barra will be the keynote speaker for a connected-vehicle forum.

Autoblog reports GM made a net income of $200 million for Q2 2014, in comparison to $1.2 billion during Q2 2013. Speaking of $1.2 billion, that was how much the automaker paid in recall-related repairs this quarter, with a $900 million charge ready for future recall campaigns. Finally, $400 million has been set aside for the Feinberg compensation plan, though $200 million may be added down the road.

Meanwhile, Automotive News collected a number of analyst quotes regarding the poor Q2 2014 showing, including KBB.com’s Jack Nerad proclaiming that while the automaker may be handling recalls better these days, “it is paying for past sins in terms of the bottom line.” Michael Krebs of AutoTrader.com adds that GM “would have had an outstanding quarter” were it not for the ongoing recall parade, and both Brian Johnson of Barclays Capital (but not of AC/DC) and Morningstar’s David Whiston believing brighter days ahead in Europe and outstanding success in China.

Speaking of the Asia-Pacific, GM Korea management informed the employee’s union that if the latter calls off its impending strike over stalled wage negotiations, the next-gen Chevrolet Cruze would be built in its Gunsan facility. The factory — where the Orlando and current-gen Cruze are assembled — is one of four under GM Korea, and boasts a production capacity of 260,000 units per year.

Back at home, The Detroit News reports GM is under investigation by 45 attorney generals over the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as auto safety agency Transport Canada. On the federal level, CEO Mary Barra stated she hasn’t met with the prosecutors or the grand jury regarding the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into wire and bankruptcy fraud related to the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy proceedings.

Finally, Barra will be the keynote speaker at the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Detroit September 7. The event, focused on connected vehicles, will attract 10,000 guests from 65 countries to share and discuss ideas, challenges and strategies regarding the burgeoning scene. Barra’s keynote will focus on the future of intelligent transportation.

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Data Privacy Concerns Rise Within Connected-Car Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/data-privacy-concerns-rise-within-connected-car-industry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/data-privacy-concerns-rise-within-connected-car-industry/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=838401 As more vehicles come with infotainment systems mounted in the dashboard console, consumers are beginning to face the issue of losing privacy behind the driver’s seat. The Detroit News reports data from a vehicle so equipped is collected every time the ignition is turned, from where one fills up their tank and stomach, to how […]

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2013 RAM 3500 Interior, uConnect 8.4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

As more vehicles come with infotainment systems mounted in the dashboard console, consumers are beginning to face the issue of losing privacy behind the driver’s seat.

The Detroit News reports data from a vehicle so equipped is collected every time the ignition is turned, from where one fills up their tank and stomach, to how fast one drives and their preference for doing so. While the data goes back to the automaker in question, there are few security measures as to who all is allowed to view — and use — the data for their own needs. Strategy Analytics associate director Roger Lanctot explains:

(Your car’s) presumably tracking you all the time. Somewhere along the way we need to have a better understanding because right now, the reason why it feels like the Wild West is that it’s so open. You’re basically letting the carmaker gather whatever data it wants and share it with whoever, including marketing partners and law enforcement.

His concerns were voiced during the keynote speech before attendees of this year’s Telematics Detroit 2014 in Novi, Mich. as part of a day devoted to privacy and security with automotive infotainment and diagnostics technology. Though the focus comes in light of knowledge of the National Security Agency’s overreaching hand upon U.S. citizens, a survey found some of the attendees weren’t too concerned over what their car tells anyone else. Others, however, were more worried about their car pulling a GLaDOS on the highway in traffic.

Lanctot believes consumers will have “a privacy button” in their vehicles down the road, which would at the very least provide transparency on who exactly sees the information in any given vehicle. The feature would, in turn, empower the consumer with control on their information and instill trust with the automaker at the other end of the signal.

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Williams: Union To Focus On Detroit Three, Transplants, Elections http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/williams-union-to-focus-on-detroit-three-transplants-elections/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/williams-union-to-focus-on-detroit-three-transplants-elections/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=838345 Automotive News reports new United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams let it be known before the 1,100 delegates at the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit that the union’s focus will be on contract negotiations with the Detroit Three in 2015, and the national elections of 2014 and 2016. Regarding the former, Williams proclaimed that […]

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Dennis Williams

Automotive News reports new United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams let it be known before the 1,100 delegates at the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit that the union’s focus will be on contract negotiations with the Detroit Three in 2015, and the national elections of 2014 and 2016. Regarding the former, Williams proclaimed that the time for making concessions had come to an end, vowing to fight on for workers’ rights and social and economic justice. He also addressed the leadership history of the union, providing examples of the challenges each president has had to face during their term, even if the answers left the membership confused at first.

After the convention closed, Williams gave a press conference detailing what the union will specifically do during his tenure as president, including an intensified focus on organizing the transplants in the Southeastern United States. That effort will be led in Tennessee — where the union lost a contentious election to organize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga in February of this year — by new UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel. The president also hinted at pushing the union toward economic efficiency with its organizing budget, and vowed to take down the two-tier wage system holding a quarter of the 390,000 members working in on the floors of the Detroit Three underneath the rest of the rolls. No specifics were given for either strategy.

Finally, Detroit Free Press reports after Williams finished his speech, he led the delegates out of Cobo Center to join UniteHere Local 24 members on their first day of protest at the Crown Plaza Hotel across the street. Recording secretary Janee Ayers claimed the hotel had hired temporary employees and paying “poverty wages” instead of the $14 per hour average hotel employees make in Detroit. Williams added that no one from the UAW or any labor union would not “do any business” with hotel until its management allows the workers to organize.

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UAW Elects Secretary-Treasurer Williams To Union Presidency http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/uaw-elects-secretary-treasurer-williams-to-union-presidency/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/uaw-elects-secretary-treasurer-williams-to-union-presidency/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=838097 Automotive News reports the United Auto Workers has elected secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams, who served in the role under now-retired president Bob King, as the union’s new president in a 3215 to 49 vote during the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit. Williams, who came from the agricultural wing of the union, is the first union […]

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UAW President Dennis Williams

Automotive News reports the United Auto Workers has elected secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams, who served in the role under now-retired president Bob King, as the union’s new president in a 3215 to 49 vote during the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit. Williams, who came from the agricultural wing of the union, is the first union president not to have worked in the automotive industry.

The new president will have a number of challenges before him, including organization talks among the Detroit Three in 2015, political elections this year and 2016, and a new attempt at organizing the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. after a major loss in the February 2014 election held at the plant; Williams was involved in the first organization attempt. UAW regional director Gary Casteel will take Williams’ place as the union’s secretary-treasurer.

In other union news, the UAW has signed a new contract with supplier Dana, covering 2,500 members in its 11 plants within the United States for the next three years. The supplier also announced expansion plans for its headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, which will add 40,000 square feet to the 191,000 sq-ft facility at a price of $7 million to $10 million by 2015. Once complete, 200 additional employees will be employed in the expanded building, some 175 of whom will have relocated from a nearby facility two miles away.

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UAW Raises Member Dues For First Time Since 1967 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/uaw-raises-member-dues-for-first-time-since-1967/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/uaw-raises-member-dues-for-first-time-since-1967/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836770 Automotive News reports the United Auto Workers have approved a dues increase to 2.5 hours of pay per month during the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit. The increase, the first since 1967, is expected to bring in nearly $50 million annually to the newly renamed International Strike and Defense Fund. Though a majority supported […]

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UAW President Bob King Speaking At 36th UAW Constitutional Convention

Automotive News reports the United Auto Workers have approved a dues increase to 2.5 hours of pay per month during the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit. The increase, the first since 1967, is expected to bring in nearly $50 million annually to the newly renamed International Strike and Defense Fund. Though a majority supported the increase through a show of hands after a voice vote proved inconclusive, the move was hotly debated prior to voting.

During the debate, where 40 of the 1,100 delegates representing all of the regions where the UAW has a presence offered both views for and against the dues increase, long-shot union presidential candidate Gary Walkowicz of Dearborn, Mich. held that the vote should have been put forth before the 390,000-plus rank-and-file instead of the delegation. Walkowicz claimed an increase would cause some members to stop paying dues to the UAW once current contracts with the Detroit Three expire in September of 2015, thanks to a right-to-work law passed by Michigan in 2013. On the other hand, outgoing president Bob King said that the increase would ultimately give the union the power to merit a fairer outcome for its members from employers in the automotive industry, and to continue organization efforts among the transplants.

Detroit Free Press‘s Tom Walsh says that whomever will fill King’s shoes beginning Thursday will need to learn from past mistakes and defeats and establish a “more compelling case for the value proposition of union membership” should the UAW move forward overall. Though King was able to boost rolls up to 22,000 and save/create 28,000 jobs in his four-year term, the union also suffered setbacks among the transplants, particularly with the February 2014 election held at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Walsh adds the UAW will have a tougher road still to travel, from the aforementioned right-to-work legislation Michigan that could see some members cease paying dues, to the contract bargaining with the Detroit Three in 2015, all to show “how workers’ lives will improve, [and] how unions will help communities grow more jobs,” lest they go “extinct.”

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Michigan Legislators, Business Groups Debate Proposed Fuel Tax Hike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/michigan-legislators-business-groups-debate-proposed-fuel-tax-hike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/michigan-legislators-business-groups-debate-proposed-fuel-tax-hike/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836073 State senators in Michigan returned to Lansing Monday in a rare session to discuss raising fuel taxes to fund improvements to the state’s road infrastructure. Detroit Free Press reports majority leader Randy Richardville of Monroe is proposing a new tax to replace the current fuel taxation scheme. At the moment, regular unleaded fuel is taxed […]

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May 2014 Michigan Gas Prices

State senators in Michigan returned to Lansing Monday in a rare session to discuss raising fuel taxes to fund improvements to the state’s road infrastructure.

Detroit Free Press reports majority leader Randy Richardville of Monroe is proposing a new tax to replace the current fuel taxation scheme. At the moment, regular unleaded fuel is taxed at 19 cents per gallon, while diesel sees 15 cents per gallon go to Lansing’s coffers. The new scheme would replace both taxes with a wholesale fuel tax, beginning at 9.5 percent next January, then rising to 15.5 percent by 2018. The tax will result in 25 cents per gallon sent to the government, raising an additional $1.5 billion annually to repair and maintain the state’s roads and bridges. Meanwhile, the state house wants to set a wholesale tax of just 6 percent, delivering $450 million a year.

Though Governor Rick Snyder is on board with Richardville’s proposal, business groups are split over the wholesale tax plan. The state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business objects to the new tax, believing the tax could not come at a worse time as president Charlie Owen explains:

While we recognize the need for good roads and adequate funding, this is a difficult time for fuel tax increases on Michigan small-business job providers as we watch the price of gasoline approach $4 a gallon. The rising price of fuel and the recent increase in the minimum wage are already putting pressure on Michigan’s small and family-owned businesses. Raising the gas tax would cut more from their bottom line.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Jim Holcomb, however, sees no problem with the proposal because of the amount the tax would raise for road projects per annum. The chamber itself urged state lawmakers to solve the problem before facing the possibility of putting the question before the populace on the November 2014 ballot. If passed, the wholesale tax, in tandem with the state’s general sales tax, would give Michigan the title of having the highest fuel taxes in the United States, up from sixth place right now.

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UAW Prepares To Choose New President Ahead Of Internal, External Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/uaw-prepares-to-choose-new-president-ahead-of-internal-external-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/uaw-prepares-to-choose-new-president-ahead-of-internal-external-challenges/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=835609 This week, the United Auto Workers will select a new president to take up where outgoing president Bob King will be leaving behind in the wake of a crushing loss in Tennessee, low but growing membership rolls, and dwindling budgets. The Detroit News reports that the 1,100 delegates meeting at Cobo Hall in Detroit for […]

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This week, the United Auto Workers will select a new president to take up where outgoing president Bob King will be leaving behind in the wake of a crushing loss in Tennessee, low but growing membership rolls, and dwindling budgets.

The Detroit News reports that the 1,100 delegates meeting at Cobo Hall in Detroit for the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention will likely choose union secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams as the UAW’s new president, which would make him the first president not to have worked in an automotive factory if chosen.

Whomever the president will be, they will inherit the work King has put into protecting the union while fighting to expand its presence in the United States, particularly in Southern states such as Tennessee and Mississippi. Though membership is nowhere near the peak of 1.5 million in 1979, the outgoing president boosted current rolls 11 percent to 391,415 during his four-year term through recruiting workers in auto supply, gambling and higher education. King also focused on bringing more jobs and capital investments to the auto industry as a whole, shoring up the future for the next president.

In the present, the UAW will also vote on whether to increase dues for the first time since 1967 to 2.5 hours per month to help replenish the union’s strike fund, currently holding at $630 million from a peak of $930 million in 2006. The members will also face a battle at the ballot box in November as many pro-union Congressional legislators are up for re-election, and may need to join up with social justice activists on a global scale to show those casting a dim eye that the UAW is more than an industry-focused organization.

As for King, who has been in a leadership role with the union since the early 1980s, he plans to remain active in the labor movement, though has no current post-UAW plans at this time.

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Michigan Performance Company Takes To Crowdfunding For CNG Mustang Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/michigan-performance-company-takes-to-crowdfunding-for-cng-mustang-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/michigan-performance-company-takes-to-crowdfunding-for-cng-mustang-concept/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=826265 Crowdfunding has been used to deliver financing to projects ranging from fashion collections and film productions, to food trucks and the occasional work that ends up bombing while investors are left holding nothing (not even the bag their were promised as a gift for investing). This project may be a success or failure, but if […]

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Crowdfunding has been used to deliver financing to projects ranging from fashion collections and film productions, to food trucks and the occasional work that ends up bombing while investors are left holding nothing (not even the bag their were promised as a gift for investing).

This project may be a success or failure, but if all goes as promised, Michigan’s Performance CNG will be able to deliver a CNG-powered 2003 Ford Mustang while demonstrating all compressed natural gas can do in the name of energy independence.

Autoblog Green reports the company, headed by founder Daryl Patrishkoff, is attempting to raise $55,000 through IndieGoGo to pay for the battery of emissions testing required by the Environmental Protection Agency, acquisition of high-performance CNG parts, and engine calibration. Currently, the Mustang, which runs on gasoline and CNG paired with alcohol injection, puts out 470 horsepower, with the aim of adding more horses through the fundraising.

And what will the project deliver to its investors (beyond being named a contributor in all promotion material)? The hope others will take notice on natural gas, bringing their investment capital to the table with the goal of liberating the United States from foreign energy resources, adding jobs to the industry, and delivering a wide range of vehicles using CNG to the masses; as of this moment, only 120,000 vehicles use the fuel, the majority of which are buses and trucks.

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Details on Toyota North American Reorganization: California & Kentucky Lose, Texas & Michigan Gain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/details-on-toyota-north-american-reorganization-california-kentucky-lose-texas-michigan-gain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/details-on-toyota-north-american-reorganization-california-kentucky-lose-texas-michigan-gain/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 19:21:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=811898 Toyota has released a statement (below the fold) on the reorganization of its North American business operations and the consolidation of most of those functions at a new regional headquarters to be built in Plano, Texas. Approximately 4,000 employees of four different business units will be relocated, mostly to Texas, though some functions will be […]

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Toyota has released a statement (below the fold) on the reorganization of its North American business operations and the consolidation of most of those functions at a new regional headquarters to be built in Plano, Texas. Approximately 4,000 employees of four different business units will be relocated, mostly to Texas, though some functions will be relocated to Toyota facilities in Georgetown, Kentucky and near Ann Arbor, Michigan. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Toyota Financial Services in Torrance, Calif., Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America in Erlanger, Ky., and Toyota Motor North America  in New York City will be moved between now and early 2017, when the Plano campus and new facilities near Ann Arbor and Georgetown are expected to be completed.

It appears that Toyota Racing Development, and the technical and design facilities in California will not be moving. Overall, though, California will be losing thousands of jobs. Kentucky will also lose some Toyota positions. It appears that the Erlanger, KY facility will be closed, with 300 production engineering positions being moved to a new facility that will be built near Toyota’s Georgetown assembly operations in the same state. The 250 purchasing jobs currently at Erlanger will be relocated to another new facility that will be built on the grounds of the billion dollar plus Toyota Technical Center in Saline, Michigan, near Ann Arbor.

Toyota statement:

Torrance, Calif., Erlanger, Ky., New York, N.Y., and Ann Arbor, Mich., April 28, 2014 –Toyota today announced that it is establishing a new headquarters in North Dallas (Plano), Texas for its North American operations in a move designed to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth.
 
Within the next three years, Toyota’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations will relocate to a single, state-of-the-art campus in Plano.  Toyota’s North American finance arm also plans to move its headquarters to this new shared campus.  Altogether, these moves will affect approximately 4,000 employees.
 
At the same time, Toyota will expand the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Michigan to accommodate the relocation of direct procurement from Erlanger, Ky., to its campus in York Township near Ann Arbor.  This expansion is part of an increased investment in engineering capabilities and will accommodate future growth in product development.
 
The transition to Plano from three current headquarters locations – affecting approximately 2,000 employees at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) in Torrance, Calif.; about 1,000 employees at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) in Erlanger, Ky.; and certain employees at Toyota Motor North America (TMA) in New York, N.Y. – will begin with initial small groups this summer. However, the majority of these employees will not move until construction of Toyota’s new headquarters is completed in late 2016 or early 2017.  Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is not expected to transition to Plano from its current headquarters in Torrance, Calif., until 2017, which will affect around 1,000 employees.
 
Jim Lentz, who was named Toyota’s first chief executive officer for the North America Region in 2013, said: “With our major North American business affiliates and leaders together in one location for the first time, we will be better equipped to speed decision making, share best practices, and leverage the combined strength of our employees.  This, in turn, will strengthen our ability to put customers first and to continue making great products that exceed their expectations.  Ultimately, enabling greater collaboration and efficiencies across Toyota will help us become a more dynamic, innovative and successful organization in North America.  This is the most significant change we’ve made to our North American operations in the past 50 years, and we are excited for what the future holds.” 
 
In support of the communities in California and Kentucky, Toyota also announced a $10 million philanthropic commitment to provide continued funding for local non-profits and community organizations in these states over a five-year period beginning in 2017, over and above existing commitments.
 
The establishment of a new headquarters builds upon previous efforts by Toyota to enhance regional autonomy, self-reliance and responsibility.  While the sales and marketing, manufacturing and corporate business units will retain their responsibilities and operating names, Toyota expects that new cross-functional teams will identify and execute on ways to serve the broader North American organization.
 
Toyota will construct a new, environmentally-sustainable campus facility in Plano, which is expected to take two or more years to construct after groundbreaking in the fall of 2014.  Until the new campus facility is complete, initial small groups of employees will work from a temporary location in the Plano area.

Toyota will also build a new facility on TTC’s York campus (subject to final approval of state and local incentives) to accommodate approximately 250 direct procurement positions currently based at TEMA in Erlanger. 
 
In addition, about 300 production engineering positions based in Erlanger will be relocated to a new facility to be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown, Ky., while approximately 1,000 TEMA administrative positions will transition to Plano.   
 
Toyota’s 10 manufacturing plants in the U.S. will not be impacted by these changes.  Also, the following Toyota units will not be impacted at this time:
 

  • Toyota regional field offices and Lexus area offices
  • Operating units in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • Toyota Financial Service’s regional offices, sales offices, service centers and its bank
  • Calty Design Research facilities
  • Toyota InfoTechnology Center
  • Toyota Racing Development
  • AirFlite Inc.
  • Logistics Services Field Locations
  •  Distribution centers

 
After moving from its existing headquarters, Toyota will continue to have approximately 2,300 employees in California and 8,200 employees in Kentucky.  This includes 750 new jobs being added at TMMK for production of the Lexus ES, which begins in 2015.  Toyota will also continue to maintain offices in the New York City area and Washington, DC.
 
The move will not impact Toyota’s relationship with Gulf States Toyota, Inc. (GST), a private distributor of Toyota vehicles based in Houston, Texas.
 
Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is a service mark used to refer to a number of entities, including Toyota Motor Credit Corporation (TMCC), Toyota Financial Savings Bank (TFSB), and Toyota Motor Insurance Services, Inc. (TMIS).

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Michigan Trumpets Award for “Beautiful” License Plate Design That It’s Already Revising Because It’s Illegible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/michigan-trumpets-award-for-beautiful-license-plate-design-that-its-already-revising-because-its-illegible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/michigan-trumpets-award-for-beautiful-license-plate-design-that-its-already-revising-because-its-illegible/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:01:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=789209 You know those “wait! what?” moments? So I’m perusing a local news site and I see what is surely a press release from Michigan’s Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, about how the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA, Inc.) has overwhelmingly voted to select Michigan’s new mostly blue and orange license plate depicting the state’s Mackinac […]

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Step back from your monitor and just try to read that license plate.

You know those “wait! what?” moments? So I’m perusing a local news site and I see what is surely a press release from Michigan’s Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, about how the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA, Inc.) has overwhelmingly voted to select Michigan’s new mostly blue and orange license plate depicting the state’s Mackinac Bridge as the world’s best new automotive registration plate. First released last summer, the new plate portrays one of the world’s great spans against what the SoS’ office calls a “sunrise sky”. The registration numbers are white, the background is mostly orange and an almost parakeet blue. In addition to the press release, the SoS’ office also released a photograph to commemorate the award, with Sec. Johnson, and the Bridge Authority’s chairman and secretary jointly holding up the award. So what could be surprising about that announcement? It took place a couple of weeks after a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office specifically told me that the license plate their office describes as a “beautiful plate” is going to be redesigned due to complaints about illegibility from law enforcement officers.

No mention of that planned redesign was made in the agency’s press release concerning the award. I found out about the change on my own after I noticed, while driving in traffic, that from 100 feet or farther, in full sunlight, it’s much harder to read the plate than most of the other Michigan plates. Those plates typically feature dark blue characters against white backgrounds. What makes the new plates almost impossible to read at distance is that they put white numbers and letters against a medium orange background. There’s just not enough contrast. Though the reflective beads on the characters give them a darker cast when illuminated at night, that grey against orange is also very difficult to read.

It's a little easier to read close up.

It’s a little easier to read close up.

After I first noticed how hard the new plates were to read, I looked at the Secretary of State’s web site, or at least the parts that allow comment, and I noticed that I wasn’t the only person complaining about the new plates’ illegibility. My first thought was that if I and other regular folks are having a hard time reading the new plates, what about cops? My second thought was that maybe, since many police cars are now equipped with infrared license plate scanners, perhaps law enforcement doesn’t care that they can’t be read by humans. To find out if they were aware of the problem, I called the SoS’s media office and a spokesperson got back to me.

ALPCA_large

Though people have been complaining about the lack of contrast since the plates were issued, the Secretary of State’s office apparently took particular notice when they started getting complaints from law enforcement. The agency’s spokesperson referenced complaints from law enforcement as the reason for the revision.

It turns out that I was wrong about police being able to rely on license plate scanners, though they are part of the story. Not only are the new plates difficult to read with the human eye, our new surveillance robots have a hard time deciphering them too. I guess the infrared signature of the two colors are too similar, because the spokesman told me that testing showed that license plate scanners also had difficulty reading the new design, which was created by Brian Whitfield, a Michigan Department of Transportation employee.

As a result of those complaints from law enforcement, I was told that the new license plate will undergo a revision.

Since my day job involves layout and lettering, I suggested that a black outline around the characters would work just fine, but according to what the SoS’ spokesperson told me, they’re going to use a darker color for the plate numbers to make them easier to read, by humans and by machines. The new plate colors have been tested to make sure that license plate scanners can indeed read them.

The ALPCA has been making the award since 1970 and last year they opened it up to a world wide competition. ALPCA members worldwide submit nominations and then vote based in part on the “overall attractiveness of the license plate design”. “I knew it had an excellent chance of winning the moment I first saw it,” said Gus Oliver, ALPCA’s Best Plate Award Coordinator. This was the second time Michigan won the award, the state’s U.S. bicentennial 1976 plate having previously won.

The license plate collectors make their evaluations based on photographs, not the actual license plates, so they had no way of knowing just how illegible the plates are in real life. I spoke to Mr. Oliver and he said that he recently heard rumors that the plate might be changed.

I don’t take any issue with their award of the prize in the first place. I like it when people say nice things about my state. I do think that it’s a bit inappropriate, though, for Ms. Johnson and her office to brag about Whitfield’s design receiving plaudits for its beauty at the same time that they are changing the design because the original didn’t quite work as an actual license plate.

For the record, though I’m fine with the award, I personally didn’t like the plate before I realized how illegible it was. When I first saw the new plate design, my thought was that with those shades of blue and orange, it looked more like license plate for New Mexico, Arizona or California than for the Great Lakes state, the water-winter wonderland.

If you’re looking for a specific license plate for a project or for your wall, ALPCA has a number of state and regional meets, plus Canadian and European license plate collectors also have their own get togethers.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Marchionne Closes Chapter On Canadian Minivan Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/marchionne-closes-chapter-on-canadian-minivan-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/marchionne-closes-chapter-on-canadian-minivan-plant/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:01:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773825 While celebrating the successful turnaround for Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant, CEO Sergio Marchionne proclaimed the issue of upgrades made to the Windsor, Ont. plant with help from Canadian federal and provincial governments one no longer worth discussing. Automotive News reports FCA pulled out of discussions with Canada over a $2 billion upgrade […]

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Chrysler Windsor Assembly

While celebrating the successful turnaround for Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant, CEO Sergio Marchionne proclaimed the issue of upgrades made to the Windsor, Ont. plant with help from Canadian federal and provincial governments one no longer worth discussing.

Automotive News reports FCA pulled out of discussions with Canada over a $2 billion upgrade incentive package that would secure the long-term future of the plant after politicians referred to the request as “ransom” and “corporate welfare,” according to Marchionne:

Chrysler is not in the business of accepting handouts. And if provincial and federal authorities in Canada think that’s the way to attract foreign investment, I think they are in for a big shock.

It doesn’t matter. It’s gone. That chapter is closed. Fiat-Chrysler has moved on. The agenda, from my standpoint, is complete.

Regarding Sterling Heights, where the Chrysler 200 will go into production this week, the plant’s upgrade as “an apt symbol of how far Chrysler has come because of the courage and resilience of [its] people,” Marchionne explained. The plant was due to close in 2010, only to return to life through a $1 billion investment made in light of the success behind the restyled and renamed compact, and the capacity needed to fulfill demand.

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Ur-Turn: What It’s Worth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/ur-turn-what-its-worth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/ur-turn-what-its-worth/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=761305 Abraham Drimmer writes about moving from South Florida to Michigan in his Miata “You need to sell your car”, my father told me, when I informed him of my imminent departure. I got the call in mid-October, I’d be leaving Miami for Ann Arbor on short notice. “That thing is going to be absolutely worthless […]

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Abraham Drimmer writes about moving from South Florida to Michigan in his Miata

“You need to sell your car”, my father told me, when I informed him of my imminent departure. I got the call in mid-October, I’d be leaving Miami for Ann Arbor on short notice. “That thing is going to be absolutely worthless in the snow”.

A two-week notice later and I’m on the road, every artifact of my existence in this corporeal realm crammed into the 51.1 cubic feet combined passenger/cargo volume of my sunlight silver 2005 Mazda Miata. I reached Michigan safely, and promptly fitted a set of snow tires.

As I watched the little roadster gather a coat of fine salt, the wheel wells bulging with weeks of accumulated snow and grime, I mulled my father’s words. Was he right? Was keeping the car that act of youthful automotive hubris we all eventually regret? Is the Miata any good in the snow?

The Miata’s winter competency is subjective. Which do you prefer: control, or the illusion of stability? The back steps out often, understeer isn’t so much pronounced as it is happening constantly. Still, it’s light and subsequently brakes and handles predictably. The feedback is great, the car never lies to you. I like it that way; I’d rather be told of my imminent destruction than have it carried out with no warning. This characteristic speaks to my heritage, speaks to the heritage of Mazda.

There isn’t enough cargo room to allow you to shop at Costco, good —buy local or whatever. It also prevents you from stockpiling, forces you to leave the house regularly for provisions, keeps you social. Important in the coldest months.

It’s small, so it’s easy to brush snow off of. When the windshield isn’t obscured the heat from the sun evaporates the melted snow collecting in the floor mats, creating a sort of balmy greenhouse effect in the cabin. I like that as well, it reminds me of Miami.

Above all it’s engaging, physically and emotionally. You simply have to be a competent driver to get from point A to point B. You need to plan your route, check conditions, and dress appropriately. A pain, I know, but isn’t that what enthusiasts always talk about? Driver engagement? Isn’t that was we want? To be involved enough with our vehicles such that our conveyance from location to location is imparted with at least some fleeting sense of narrative? Sure I’m in a privileged position, what with no children, pets, or sense of self-preservation, I openly admit I have a lifestyle that can afford such inconveniences. Do I feel inconvenienced? Hardly, when I pick up my keys in the morning I’m happy.

That’s worth something, right?

 

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Government-Sponsored Do-Nothing Battery Plant Finally Plans To Do Something http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/government-sponsored-do-nothing-battery-plant-finally-plans-to-do-something/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/government-sponsored-do-nothing-battery-plant-finally-plans-to-do-something/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 15:56:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=487452 South Korean LG Chem will finally begin commercial battery production at its Holland , Michigan, in July, Reuters says.  The batteries will initially help power GM’s Volt. Three years ago, at a groundbreaking ceremony for an LG Chem Battery plant in Holland, Michigan, President Obama promised that this and other pants will be “a boost […]

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South Korean LG Chem will finally begin commercial battery production at its Holland , Michigan, in July, Reuters says.  The batteries will initially help power GM’s Volt.

Three years ago, at a groundbreaking ceremony for an LG Chem Battery plant in Holland, Michigan, President Obama promised that this and other pants will be “a boost to the economy in the entire region.” The plant made headlines for doing nothing.

Half of the plant’s $300 million price was funded by the tax payer, courtesy of a $150 million government grant. Its workers “had little work to do and were spending time volunteering at local non-profit organizations, playing games and watching movies at the expense of the federal government and taxpayers,” Gregory Friedman, inspector general at the Department of Energy, concluded in a report.

The has not started production because “demand for electric vehicles such as the Volt has been lower than expected,” LG Chem told Reuters.

How many batteries will be built is unknown, but “volume is expected to consistently increase depending on the electric vehicle market and securing additional contracts,” LG Chem promises.

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Obama Trash Talks About Right To Work http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/obama-trash-talks-about-right-to-work/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/obama-trash-talks-about-right-to-work/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 14:06:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469774 President Obama joined the debate about Michigan’s “right-to-work” law. “What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,” Obama told workers during a visit to the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan. He forgot to mention three important items. The right-to-work law will put unemployed people in Michigan […]

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President Obama joined the debate about Michigan’s “right-to-work” law. “What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,” Obama told workers during a visit to the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan. He forgot to mention three important items.

  • The right-to-work law will put unemployed people in Michigan back to work. Given the choice, investments into new factories prefer right-to-work states.
  • Under the two-class system negotiated by the UAW, new hires already make much less money.
  • In a right-to-work state, workers have the right yo work for more money, because they cannot be forced to pay union dues.

According to Reuters, “the new laws are not expected to have much immediate impact because existing union contracts would be preserved, they could, over time, further weaken the UAW, which has already seen its influence wane in negotiating with the major automakers.”

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Soon, The UAW Might Call A Right To Work State Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/soon-the-uaw-might-call-a-right-to-work-state-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/soon-the-uaw-might-call-a-right-to-work-state-home/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 19:04:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469326 This is going to be interesting: Michigan lawmakers are expected to introduce right-to-work legislation today,  Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is for it, the UAW, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan is fiercely against it. Hundreds of unionized workers converged on the state capital of Lansing today to voice (loudly) their opposition against the law. Reuters already […]

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This is going to be interesting: Michigan lawmakers are expected to introduce right-to-work legislation today,  Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is for it, the UAW, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan is fiercely against it.

Hundreds of unionized workers converged on the state capital of Lansing today to voice (loudly) their opposition against the law. Reuters already talks about a repeat of Wisconsin where a similar law in 2011 “sparked massive protests and unsuccessful efforts to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker.”

Michigan had the fifth highest percentage of workers in the country who are union members in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

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And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-real-winner-is-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-real-winner-is-16/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 05:19:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=403396 If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency […]

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If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency nailed down if you can manage to keep the thing on the track for most of the weekend. Easier said than done, of course, but Zero Budget Racing managed to do just that with their ’82 Chevette Diesel.

This car managed about five laps at its Gingerman debut back in April, limping to an ignominious halt in a cloud of busted-Isuzu-engine smoke while the snowflakes swirled. That’s about what you expect from this sort of car, but Zero Budget didn’t give up. No, they didn’t give up then, and they didn’t give up this Sunday when the mighty 51-horsepower (really!) engine bombed their transmission. Fortunately, the team had thought to bring a spare transmission, and so they got right to swapping it in.

Oh, it was incredibly slow indeed, although the cornering speeds weren’t too bad. In the end, the Zero Budget Racing Chevette managed 39th place (out of about 65 entries), which we think makes it the most reliable (and maybe fastest) Chevette Diesel in history. Congratulations, Zero Budget Racing!

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-winner-is-17/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-winner-is-17/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 05:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=403389 Zero black flags, zero mechanical problems, and consistent quick laps around Gingerman Raceway’s track all weekend: the formula for the Skid Marks Racing Neon’s victory in Michigan on Sunday. Team Skid Marks’ lead was never very comfortable, once the team took the lead position mid-Saturday, but the Neon managed to keep a few laps ahead […]

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Zero black flags, zero mechanical problems, and consistent quick laps around Gingerman Raceway’s track all weekend: the formula for the Skid Marks Racing Neon’s victory in Michigan on Sunday.

Team Skid Marks’ lead was never very comfortable, once the team took the lead position mid-Saturday, but the Neon managed to keep a few laps ahead of the handful of teams that were chasing it for hour after hour. It looked like the Free Candy Civic would overtake Skid Marks on Sunday, but a wheel hub failure took the Honda out of the Neon’s rear view mirror; likewise, a couple of minor mechanical hassles afflicting the Bucksnort Racing E30 (exhaust dragging and failed hood pin) cost the BMW several crucial minutes in the pits. When you’re up against now-two-time LeMons winner Skid Marks, you can’t afford even the slightest setback. Congratulations, Skid Marks Racing!

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Michigan House Votes to End Speeding Ticket Tax http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/michigan-house-votes-to-end-speeding-ticket-tax/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/michigan-house-votes-to-end-speeding-ticket-tax/#comments Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:02:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=365836 The Michigan state House of Representatives yesterday voted unanimously to repeal its so-called driver responsibility fee program, an unpopular tax on traffic citations. State Representative Bettie C. Scott (D-Detroit) was the primary sponsor of legislation that will end most of the fees by January 1, 2012 and, before then, cut the amount motorists owe by […]

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The Michigan state House of Representatives yesterday voted unanimously to repeal its so-called driver responsibility fee program, an unpopular tax on traffic citations. State Representative Bettie C. Scott (D-Detroit) was the primary sponsor of legislation that will end most of the fees by January 1, 2012 and, before then, cut the amount motorists owe by half.

“Obviously we must do what it takes to keep our roads safe for all travelers, but driver responsibility fees place an onerous and unnecessary financial burden on too many Michigan drivers,” Scott said in a statement. “The Driver Responsibility Act is flawed legislation that has failed the test of time. It has unfairly penalized our hard-working residents during one of the worst financial crises we’ve ever seen.”

Since 2004, Michigan has used the program to impose a tax of $300 to $2000 on certain driving offenses, plus an annual tax of $100 to $500 a year for anyone with more than seven points on his license. A package of four separate bills would remove the point tax and fees for everything except driving while intoxicated, failure to stop at an accident, eluding a police officer, reckless driving or any offense causing death or serious bodily injury.

Between 2004 and 2009, the state has assessed about $800 million in fees, only $400 million of which was actually paid. The National Motorists Association strongly opposed the fee program, pointing out that the state has some of the worst speed traps in the country, generating fees by setting speed limits that do not match the flow of traffic. The Michigan District Judges Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have also strongly endorsed repeal of the fees.

“People are frustrated with the ridiculous amount of money charged for minor infractions and penalties,” said state Representative Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake), sponsor of another bill in the repeal package. “These bills will help decrease the financial burden on drivers who already are being punished with large fines and court costs.”

If passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor, the Michigan repeal will become law. In 2007, the state of Virginia introduced a similar speeding ticket tax, called an “abuser fee” bill, which generated a storm of negative publicity. The legislature had no choice but to repeal the program in 2008, offering a full refund to those who paid.

A copy of House Bill 4098, as passed by the House, is available in a 50k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File House Bill 4098 (Michigan General Assembly, 9/15/2010)

[Courtesy:Thenewspaper.com]

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Ford: In-House Batteries Aren’t Cheap. For Taxpayers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/ford-in-house-batteries-arent-cheap-for-taxpayers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/ford-in-house-batteries-arent-cheap-for-taxpayers/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2009 19:31:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338831 Zacks Investment Research reports that Ford will invest $500 million in Michigan for developing and building batteries for their hybrid and electric vehicles. In return, they have asked the Michigan government for a tax break between $85 to $120 million. Michigan haven’t confirmed whether they’ll give this tax break, which is handy because Ford have […]

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Why no, Jay, I'm not from Michigan. I was built by Magna! (courtesy:wired)
Zacks Investment Research reports that Ford will invest $500 million in Michigan for developing and building batteries for their hybrid and electric vehicles. In return, they have asked the Michigan government for a tax break between $85 to $120 million. Michigan haven’t confirmed whether they’ll give this tax break, which is handy because Ford have indicated that they will look elsewhere if the tax break isn’t given. This investment will create 1000 jobs. Each job will cost at least $85000? Shocking!

Ford have decided that battery development is a key job which needs to be developed in-house. Which is bad news for Delphi, since they currently make Ford’s batteries for them. Just what they needed as they were coming out of bankruptcy. This plant will supply batteries for the Transit Connect EV, the Focus EV and hybrid versions. Ford are choosing to manufacture Lithium Ion batteries instead of Nickel Metal hydride ones. Not only are they smaller and lighter, they can be tuned to increase power to further acceleration. It’s nice to see that Ford are creating new jobs, but as with Nissan and their Leaf production in Tennessee, the amount of tax money per job is phenomenally high. Is it worth it?

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