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. Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:00:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » michigan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Ford Putting Nearly $11,000 on Hoods of Some F-150s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117793 Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting. Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory […]

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Ford F-150 grey, side

Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting.

Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory has been available since June, which as hampered sales. The automaker says dealer stocks will be full by the end of September.

The company’s website offers nearly $11,000 off of 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew with Chrome or Sport packages in some parts of the country.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.09.07 AMWe found this offer available in the middle of Michigan, near Clare, on Ford’s website. Other parts of the country may receive up to $7,050 off similar models.

“The truck hasn’t sold up to expectations for the most part,” Akshay Anand, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Automotive News. “This may be a hint that in certain parts of the country, the issue might just be more than supply.”

Truck sales have been up for the first half of this year, but the F-150’s sales pace has been modest. F-Series volumes have dipped in each of the last five months, and second-quarter sales have dropped 6.5 percent.

 

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Ford Building Next-Gen Lincoln Continental in Michigan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-building-next-gen-lincoln-continental-in-michigan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-building-next-gen-lincoln-continental-in-michigan/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116761 Ford will build its next-generation Lincoln Continental at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant, which also produces the Ford Fusion and Mustang, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The announcement was made Wednesday by Ford’s Executive Vice President John Fleming at an event in Dearborn, Michigan. The announcement comes ahead of negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which […]

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Ford will build its next-generation Lincoln Continental at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant, which also produces the Ford Fusion and Mustang, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Ford’s Executive Vice President John Fleming at an event in Dearborn, Michigan.

The announcement comes ahead of negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which represents roughly 50,700 Ford employees.

Analysts have said the Continental will be an important car for the flagging luxury brand.

Ford announced last week that it would be ending production of the C-Max and Focus at its Wayne, Michigan plant.

Negotiations with the UAW begin on July 23.

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Ford Will Stop Michigan C-Max, Focus Production in 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-will-stop-michigan-c-max-focus-production-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-will-stop-michigan-c-max-focus-production-2018/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:05:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112353 Ford will stop building the C-Max and Focus at its Wayne, Michigan plant in 2018, Automotive News is reporting. Moving the production of the compact cars could signal a coming slowdown in small car sales, or a shift in strategy for the global automaker. UAW officials say they’re confident the C-Max and Focus will be replaced […]

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Ford will stop building the C-Max and Focus at its Wayne, Michigan plant in 2018, Automotive News is reporting.

Moving the production of the compact cars could signal a coming slowdown in small car sales, or a shift in strategy for the global automaker. UAW officials say they’re confident the C-Max and Focus will be replaced with a different product at the plant.

The automaker recently removed a third shift at the Wayne, Michigan plant and said they were cutting about 700 jobs at the plant.

“We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly,” Ford said in a statement, “and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations.”

Negotiations with the UAW begin July 23, according to Automotive News.

The Focus and C-Max are due for redesigns within 3 years. Sales for the C-Max have slumped this year.

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General Motors Shareholder Lawsuit Dismissed In Delaware http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-shareholder-lawsuit-dismissed-in-delaware/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-shareholder-lawsuit-dismissed-in-delaware/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102945 A group of General Motors shareholders found their lawsuit over the February 2014 recall dismissed in Delaware Monday due to lack of evidence. The lawsuit — one of four linked to shareholders; the others are in Michigan — alleged GM’s directors acted in bad faith over the handling of the February 2014 ignition switch recall […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

A group of General Motors shareholders found their lawsuit over the February 2014 recall dismissed in Delaware Monday due to lack of evidence.

The lawsuit — one of four linked to shareholders; the others are in Michigan — alleged GM’s directors acted in bad faith over the handling of the February 2014 ignition switch recall affecting 2.66 million vehicles, Detroit Free Press reports.

In his dismissal of the suit, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock found the board “did not consciously fail to monitor” the company’s operations, thus was unable to find “substantial likelihood of personal liability on the part of a majority of the board.”

GM praised Glasscock’s ruling, especially in light of the various lawsuits still on the table, among other legal actions:

The Delaware Court properly dismissed the complaint because GM’s board of directors did its job in exercising oversight over the company. The other shareholder derivative actions pending against the board make the same allegations, so we hope the courts will dismiss those as well.

The Michigan-based lawsuits, two of which are in federal court, were held pending the Delaware decision. Spokesman Jim Cain hopes said decision leads to the trio’s dismissal.

(Photo credit: General Motors)

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Lotus Resumes US Operations, Moves US HQ To Detroit Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099441 After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area. The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide […]

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Lotus Evora 400 Circa Geneva 2015

After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area.

The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide reports. The move would allow both divisions more ability to grow, and would improve efficiency of operations.

Meanwhile, the first car to make its way across the Pond will be the 2017 Evora 400, sale of which are set to begin this December. The 3-Eleven track car and a proposed crossover are expected to follow.

Finally, Lotus’ U.S. dealership network recently expanded by four to 47 total showrooms, with more planned for the future. The four newest additions are in West Covina and Thermal, Calif., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Calgary, Alberta.

(Photo credit: Lotus)

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General Motors Repurposes Chevrolet Volt Batteries For Energy Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094633 Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves. General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, […]

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VoltBatteriesDataCenter01

Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves.

General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, “delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale” in repurposing.

To demonstrate this, five packs from the first-gen Volt are working in concert with a 74-kilowatt solar array and two wind turbines — each good for 2 kW — to generate power at GM’s Enterprise Data Center at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Mich. The packs can also provide emergency power for four hours in the event of a power outage, while the full setup can deliver up to 100 MWh of energy — the equivalent of the amount used by 12 average households — annually to the data center, with excess sent to the proving ground’s grid.

Though supply of Volt packs remains low for now, GM says it’s working with partners to “validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.” Valencia adds the repurposing of packs for energy storage would be perfect for commercial use, providing “full functionality” from the packs while also reducing upfront costs in implementing the system.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090601 Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday. While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday.

While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life of its EV and PHEV packs once they can no longer fulfill their service in automotive applications, Reuters reports.

As early as 2012, GM had the emerging storage market in mind when it paired with Swiss engineering group Advanced Auto Batteries to develop a stationary pack composed of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries. The resulting modular unit was good for two hours of power as needed by three to five average U.S. homes.

According to battery lifecycle management chief Pablo Valencia, the automaker’s development of a given pack includes secondary uses:

In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.

The market back when Valencia made those comments delivered $200 million in total profit by the end of 2012. As more competitors jump into the game, however, research firm IHS CERA says end-of-year profits could climb as high as $19 billion by 2017.

GM’s announcement will be made during the second day of AAB’s AABC conference at the Marriott inside the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Autoleaks: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Revealed Ahead Of Weekend Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-2016-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-ahead-of-weekend-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-2016-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-ahead-of-weekend-debut/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:51:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069058 Thanks to CNBC, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was revealed to the world ahead of its global debut Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit. The unofficial unveiling occurred during a segment about the upcoming Camaro on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, AutoGuide reports. The screencaps, captured by forum users over at GM Inside News, show the […]

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2016-Chevy-Camaro-CloseUp

Thanks to CNBC, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was revealed to the world ahead of its global debut Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit.

The unofficial unveiling occurred during a segment about the upcoming Camaro on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, AutoGuide reports. The screencaps, captured by forum users over at GM Inside News, show the front and rear profiles of two 2016 models.

Of the few other details revealed thus far, the new Camaro will receive a 6.2-liter V8 and a possible turbo-four as two options, the latter meant for battle against the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Magnetic ride control will be available for the SS, while handling has been improved thanks to a stiffer, lighter construction. A flush belly pan is said to reduce lift by 30 percent, and optional dual exhaust will come with a number of settings, ranging from roaring track destroyer, to quiet cruiser in the city.

More will be revealed Saturday, where Chevrolet is holding a special event at Belle Isle celebrating the Camaro’s history alongside the debut of the 2016 model.

[Image credit: GM Inside News]

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General Motors Investing $1B Into Warren Tech Center, Adding 2,600 Jobs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-investing-1b-into-warren-tech-center-adding-2600-jobs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-investing-1b-into-warren-tech-center-adding-2600-jobs/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 18:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068602 General Motors announced Thursday it will invest $1 billion into its Warren Tech Center in Warren, Mich., adding 2,600 jobs through 2018. The investment will see renovations, expansions and new additions to the tech center, with work set to start this month, The Detroit News reports. Included in the investment are new design studios, an […]

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Renaissance Center Circa May 2009

General Motors announced Thursday it will invest $1 billion into its Warren Tech Center in Warren, Mich., adding 2,600 jobs through 2018.

The investment will see renovations, expansions and new additions to the tech center, with work set to start this month, The Detroit News reports.

Included in the investment are new design studios, an IT building, additional parking and testing facilities, and revamped R&D buildings, as well as “extensive office upgrades” and other interior remodeling through most of the buildings at the center.

The 2,600 new jobs coming into the campus are expected to be salaried positions in engineering, IT and design, though GM didn’t state whether any of the jobs were transfers from other locations, as well as when those jobs would begin appearing.

The announcement follows one made last month involving a $139.5-million investment into the Tech Center’s Pre-Production Operations facility, a part of GM’s overall $5.4-billion investment plan to modernize its plants through 2017.

[Photo credit: Robert Emperley/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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General Motors Set To Announce Major Investment For Warren Tech Center http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-set-to-announce-major-investment-for-warren-tech-center/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-set-to-announce-major-investment-for-warren-tech-center/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 16:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067370 General Motors is expected to announce Thursday its plans for the Warren Tech Center, including its proposed $1-billion investment into the facility. Both Warren, Mich. city officials and inside sources have stated GM could invest up to $1 billion throughout the entire campus, The Detroit News reports. The proposed investment would follow the $139.5-million investment […]

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GMTechCenter

General Motors is expected to announce Thursday its plans for the Warren Tech Center, including its proposed $1-billion investment into the facility.

Both Warren, Mich. city officials and inside sources have stated GM could invest up to $1 billion throughout the entire campus, The Detroit News reports. The proposed investment would follow the $139.5-million investment made to the Tech Center last month for a new body shop and improvements to the stamping plant at the facility’s Pre-Production Operations wing, part of the automaker’s overall $5.4-billion investment plan for its plants in the United States.

According to GM’s tax abatement application to the Warren City Council, the automaker is considering putting $419.4 million into expansion and renovation of the Tech Center, including $180 million for the design studio, a total of $117.7 million for a yet-to-be-determined building and unidentified parking, and $20 million for renovation and expansion of the center’s Advanced Engineering Center lab. The overall project would retain 3,800 employees and add 2,600 more in engineering, IT, R&D and other categories over the years.

Though details surrounding the announcement are scant, representatives have stated the 50-percent tax abatement approval — meant to save GM $97 million in property taxes over the next decade and beyond — was key to getting the project off the ground.

[Photo credit: Local hero/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Riviera Tool’s Old Penny Stock Erupts After Tesla Purchase Announcement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/riviera-tools-old-penny-stock-erupts-tesla-purchase-announcement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/riviera-tools-old-penny-stock-erupts-tesla-purchase-announcement/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 18:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064322 Tesla’s announcement Thursday of its purchase of Riviera Tool LLC sent shares of the supplier’s old penny stock soaring, but it may have been for nothing. In over-the-counter “pink-sheet” trading, the penny stock for Riviera Tool Co. — the former name of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supplier — jumped 10,000 percent from less than a […]

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Perepetual Penny Calendar

Tesla’s announcement Thursday of its purchase of Riviera Tool LLC sent shares of the supplier’s old penny stock soaring, but it may have been for nothing.

In over-the-counter “pink-sheet” trading, the penny stock for Riviera Tool Co. — the former name of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supplier — jumped 10,000 percent from less than a penny to a peak of 60 cents a share, Detroit Free Press reports. The old stock would later close at 22 cents, an increase of 4,400 percent when compared to its worth hours earlier. The OTC trading saw 16 million shares exchange hands after a lull in activity lasting over a month.

However, the shares may not hold much value at all. In 2007, an investment into the supplier by Laurus Master Fund, Ltd. took Riviera Tool off the American Stock Exchange trading floor, though a number of public shares landed in the pink sheet market, where traders buy and sell low-value stocks. Riviera became an LLC once taken off the market, rendering the old shares as little more than keepsakes.

Riviera Tool is responsible for producing stamping parts for Tesla, and will be renamed Tesla Tool & Die by its new owner.

[Photo credit: Windell Oskay/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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While You Were Sleeping: Cheap Chevy Volt, Tesla and Fisker Do Things Online and Iran Wants F1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-cheap-chevy-volt-tesla-fisker-things-online-iran-wants-f1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-cheap-chevy-volt-tesla-fisker-things-online-iran-wants-f1/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 10:15:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060562 Even though the first-generation Chevrolet Volt has had its price slashed every year since its debut, the next-generation range-extended electric vehicle will be priced even lower. This aims GM’s offering squarely at a number of more traditional hybrids. The battle over Sunday sales (Automotive News) In a case of “we like regulation when it helps […]

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Mary Barra and Chevrolet Volt at NAIAS 2015

Even though the first-generation Chevrolet Volt has had its price slashed every year since its debut, the next-generation range-extended electric vehicle will be priced even lower. This aims GM’s offering squarely at a number of more traditional hybrids.

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Ford UAW Members Meet To Receive Info On Leaving Union http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ford-uaw-members-meet-receive-info-leaving-union/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ford-uaw-members-meet-receive-info-leaving-union/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057010 UAW members at Ford’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant met to gain advice on how to leave the union or stop paying dues under Michigan’s new right-to-work law. Two meetings were held Wednesday to discuss the topic ahead of the union’s impending contract negotiations with the Detroit Three, Detroit Free Press reports. While some will, indeed, […]

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UAW Hall at Bowling Green, Kentucky

UAW members at Ford’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant met to gain advice on how to leave the union or stop paying dues under Michigan’s new right-to-work law.

Two meetings were held Wednesday to discuss the topic ahead of the union’s impending contract negotiations with the Detroit Three, Detroit Free Press reports. While some will, indeed, bid farewell to the union while still being allowed to continue working on the factory floor, labor experts don’t see a mass exodus from the UAW in the foreseeable future.

At one of the meetings in Sterling Heights, plant worker and right-to-work proponent Brian Pannebecker proclaimed that union members should send a message to the UAW by not paying any more dues until it addressed its members’ needs. He added that the right-to-work law wasn’t an effort to destroy or do away with unions, but one meant to use the collective bargaining process to the members’ advantage.

Michigan’s law prohibits employers from requiring employees to pay union dues in order to work. In turn, those who opt-out of dues cannot vote on union contracts, but the unions must represent those workers in matters of conflict within a given company.

[Photo credit: Michael Miller/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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FCA US Joins Michigan Businesses In Opposition Of Proposed Religious Freedom Bill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fca-us-joins-michigan-businesses-opposition-proposed-religious-freedom-bill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fca-us-joins-michigan-businesses-opposition-proposed-religious-freedom-bill/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056226 Joining the likes of Kellogg’s, Herman Miller and Steelcase, FCA US declared Tuesday its opposition to Michigan’s proposed religious freedom bill. The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, modelled upon the original federal legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, would bestow businesses and individual citizens exemptions from other state legislation that parties […]

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FCA US HQ

Joining the likes of Kellogg’s, Herman Miller and Steelcase, FCA US declared Tuesday its opposition to Michigan’s proposed religious freedom bill.

The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, modelled upon the original federal legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, would bestow businesses and individual citizens exemptions from other state legislation that parties claim would infringe upon their religious beliefs, Allpar News reports. Governor Rick Synder stated he would veto the RFRA unless protections for LGBT Michiganders were expanded in conjunction, expansions FCA US stood behind in its statement regarding the bill:

FCA US LLC has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind. We are committed to diversity and inclusion, and as such, oppose any law that can result in discrimination. Accordingly, FCA US supports efforts to update Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Our commitment and policy extends to our employees and business partners.

The opposition toward the bill follows recent backlashes against similar legislation introduced in Indiana and Arkansas. The latter state’s government passed an addendum clarifying its intent behind its RFRA after Indiana sustained significant economic damages – travel bans, event cancellations, loss of new business opportunities et al – as a result of public scrutiny upon the its passage of similar legislation.

[Photo credit: FCA]

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How Detroit Invented Traffic Cops, Traffic Lights, No Parking Zones & Towing Your Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/detroit-invented-traffic-cops-traffic-lights-no-parking-zones-towing-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/detroit-invented-traffic-cops-traffic-lights-no-parking-zones-towing-car/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:30:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1054681 Due to advancements such as air bags, driving is much safer than it was when I first got my driver’s license in the early 1970s. Even then, because of seat belts and crush zones, cars were much safer than they had been in the early automotive age. The first decades of the automobile resulted in chaotic […]

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Woodward Avenue: "Drive Safely, Walk Right"

Due to advancements such as air bags, driving is much safer than it was when I first got my driver’s license in the early 1970s. Even then, because of seat belts and crush zones, cars were much safer than they had been in the early automotive age. The first decades of the automobile resulted in chaotic and unsafe driving conditions. Not only were the vehicles themselves dangerous to passengers and pedestrians (three quarters of early motoring related fatalities were pedestrians, often children), in the early days it was a free for all, with the first proposed traffic laws being instituted only after about a decade after the first automobiles. Author Bill Loomis is working on a book on Detroit history and in an extensive article in the Detroit News he discusses just how unsafe driving was a century ago, as well as the role that the Motor City had in making driving safer and less chaotic. Some of those innovations continue to make drivers safe, while others continue to annoy us.

Things we take for granted had to be implemented in the first place; even things as mundane as lane markings. The first centerline on a U.S. road was painted in Michigan in 1911. Before that, people would drive wherever they cared. Cars started to clog cities that weren’t designed with parking in mind, so people would park wherever they wanted to as well, sometimes in the middle of intersections or in front of fire hydrants. The city of Detroit started to use equipment designed to mark lines on tennis courts to paint lane dividers, crossings, safety zones and no parking zones, issuing citations to violators.

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The Ferndale crow’s nest when it was operational. Note the warning to pedestrians to “walk right”. Pedestrians made up about 75% of early traffic fatalities.

Traffic control devices, called Street Semaphores, were first implemented in Detroit. Developed by Cleveland inventor Garrett Morgan (who also invented the gas mask), they were manually operated red and green signs, later fitted with with red and green lights, controlled by a traffic patrolman in a crow’s next above the street. In the 1920s, the Street Semaphores were replaced with automatically operating stop lights, with the first automated traffic light being installed at the intersection of John R. St. and East Grand Blvd. in 1922. Around that time, a yellow light was added to the mix to alert drivers of an impending red light. (By the way, the motivation for switching to traffic lights wasn’t so much safety as saving money. The automated lights cost 10% of what it cost to man a Street Semaphore crow’s nest.)

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A different view of the same crow’s nest. Note the street car lines on Woodward Ave.

To commemorate the Street Semaphores, Ferndale, Michigan installed a sculpture of one of the traffic crow’s nests near where one had been installed in 1920 at the intersection of Woodward Ave and Nine Mile Road. When Woodward was widened in 1928, that crow’s nest was replaced with an automated traffic light, but it was fondly remembered in Ferndale. Artist Shan Sutherland, who received his MFA in metalsmithing from the Detroit area Cranbrook Academy of Art, based his reproduction on historic photographs. The traffic signal is “manned” by a bust of a Ferndale police officer sculpted by Anne Sutherland, the artist’s mother.

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A traffic control crow’s nest on Detroit’s West Grand Blvd, with the General Motors Building in the background. By the 1920s, automated electric traffic lights had replaced semaphores, but traffic cops, another Detroit innovation, were still needed.

Traffic lights weren’t the only traffic control device invented in Detroit. In 1911, the city was the first to implement one-way streets as a way of improving traffic flow and making commercial deliveries easier. The first stop sign in the United States was installed in Detroit a century ago in 1915. It had black letters against a white background. In the 1920s, the familiar octagon shape was standardized by national committees (though for decades stop signs were yellow, not changing to red until the 1950s).

Today, some states and cities have traffic lanes restricted to high occupancy vehicles or hybrid cars. That concept was presaged in the Motor City with an idea called “channelizing” streets, allowing only particular kinds of vehicles, like delivery vans or taxi cabs, on particular streets.

Detroit was the first city to have specific traffic cops, with a quarter of 1914’s thousand member Detroit Police Dept being assigned to traffic duty, and it was the second municipality, after New York City, to establish traffic courts.

Even with traffic cops and traffic courts, illegal parking continued to plague Detroit. James Couzens had been the business manager of the Ford Motor Company from its founding until he got sick and tired of working for Henry Ford in 1913. For a $10,000 investment in FoMoCo, Couzens was eventually paid $38 million. After he retired from Ford, he went into politics, first becoming Detroit mayor and then a U.S. senator. As mayor in 1917, Couzens proposed dealing with illegal parking with what he called “intensive disciplinary training”. Within half a year, the newly organized Detroit Towing Squad had towed almost 11,000 cars to a city owned vacant lot. Couzens, a pretty smart guy later said, “This proved to be something of a shock to the thoughtless and careless, but it proved effective.”

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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High Auto Insurance Rates Plague Michigan, Legislators Seek Relief http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/high-auto-insurance-rates-plague-michigan-legislators-seek-relief/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/high-auto-insurance-rates-plague-michigan-legislators-seek-relief/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055417 Michigan is the state with the most expensive insurance in the United States. However, a potential overhaul could bring down those costs. As it stands, Michigan’s motorists pay 136 percent above the national average of $815 a year for a policy, with the state’s overall average coming to $1,923/annually, Detroit Free Press reports. Additionally, Wayne […]

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Michigan is the state with the most expensive insurance in the United States. However, a potential overhaul could bring down those costs.

As it stands, Michigan’s motorists pay 136 percent above the national average of $815 a year for a policy, with the state’s overall average coming to $1,923/annually, Detroit Free Press reports. Additionally, Wayne County is the most expensive place to have a policy in Michigan, averaging $2,789 — 45 percent above the state’s average — per year.

According to insuranceQuotes.com senior analyst Laura Adams, the reasons behind Michigan’s No. 1 rank are due to it being the only state to offer unlimited lifetime personal injury protection, and because it has an unusually high amount of uninsured motorists.

That said, the state’s legislators are planning to retune the no-fault auto insurance system, which would maintain the unlimited benefit for those who suffer injuries costing over $545,000, but would place caps on other parts of the system, such as rates for home health care providers. The reform is expected to be passed sometime within the week.

[Photo credit: Angela/Flickr]

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Michigan Diesel Shop Refuses To Serve Openly Gay Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/michigan-diesel-shop-refuses-serve-openly-gay-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/michigan-diesel-shop-refuses-serve-openly-gay-customers/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046290 What does a diesel shop in Michigan have in common with a Washingtonian florist and a Hoosier pizza hut? An owner who refuses to serve openly gay customers. WOOD-TV reports the owner of Grandville, Mich.-based Dieseltec, Brian Klawiter, posted a statement to his shop’s Facebook page Tuesday regarding his view that those with conservative, Christian […]

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Dieseltec Ram Diesel Burnout

What does a diesel shop in Michigan have in common with a Washingtonian florist and a Hoosier pizza hut? An owner who refuses to serve openly gay customers.

WOOD-TV reports the owner of Grandville, Mich.-based Dieseltec, Brian Klawiter, posted a statement to his shop’s Facebook page Tuesday regarding his view that those with conservative, Christian values are being drowned out by those who don’t hold those values. Said statement includes the following passage:

I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)

When interviewed by the NBC affiliate, Klawiter said that while he’d fix a vehicle in need of repair, he would not welcome a gay male couple openly displaying their affection in his shop, proclaiming he and his shop doesn’t believe in homosexuality. Klawiter adds that he isn’t going to ask customers about their sexuality, while also reaffirming his stance on PDAs by same-sex couples.

Asked to view his post from the eyes of a gay individual, he said he would find the statement of belief “enlightening,” and that he would cross off Dieseltec from his list of shops.

UPDATE: And just like the aforementioned theoretical gay customer — and myself, if I had diesel business in the first place — Cummins wants no part of Dieseltec. Per their Twitter to another consumer who noted the engine manufacturer’s support of the LGBT community:

Diversity = our core values. We have no affiliation with this business and are notifying them to stop using our logo.

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Cadillac CT6 To Receive Turbocharged, Naturally Aspirated V6 Engines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cadillac-ct6-fitted-pair-v6-engines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cadillac-ct6-fitted-pair-v6-engines/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 23:14:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1026649 When the Cadillac CT6 hits showrooms later this year, power for the flagship will come in the form of two V6 engines. The mills are a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated unit, and a 3-liter twin-turbo. Both engines are equipped with active fuel management and start-stop, helping to improve fuel economy when compared to the engines they […]

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When the Cadillac CT6 hits showrooms later this year, power for the flagship will come in the form of two V6 engines.

The mills are a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated unit, and a 3-liter twin-turbo. Both engines are equipped with active fuel management and start-stop, helping to improve fuel economy when compared to the engines they will replace in other Cadillac products.

Power figures for the 3.6-liter come to 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque, while the twin-turbo engine pumps out 400 horses and 400 lb-ft of torque. Both V6s will be paired with versions of General Motors’ Hydra-Matic eight-speed auto: the 8L90 for the turbocharged unit, the 8L45 for the naturally aspirated engine.

Both engines use aluminum blocks with more structuring in the bulkhead for increased rigidity; forged-steel crankshafts; polymer-coated, high-copper-content cylinder heads; cushioned chain sprockets for greater noise reduction; and a new two-pump oiling system for greater fuel efficiency and quieter operation.

Both V6s will be produced at GM’s Romulus Powertrain Operations in Romulus, Mich. — thanks to a $540-million investment to build the new engines — and will be placed under the bonnet of CT6 prior to delivery, which is set to begin between October and December of 2015.

The all-new 3.6L V6 for the upcoming Cadillac CT6 incorporates n 2016-Cadillac-CT6-Powertrain-LGW-V6-007 2016-Cadillac-CT6-Powertrain-LGW-V6-006

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Dodge Unveils 1-of-1 Program For New Viper Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974282 Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you. New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot […]

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2015 Dodge Viper

Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you.

New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot more for the $94,995 base price with the brand’s 1-of-1 customization program, which is set to open in February. Owners who place their order with their dealer will have the following to consider:

  • 24,000 hand-painted custom stripes
  • 8,000 hand-painted exterior colors
  • 16 interior trims
  • 10 wheel options
  • Six aero packages
  • A wide array of standalone choices

With every possible option under the sun, over 25 million unique build combinations can be had from the program, which also includes a concierge service throughout the build, a new mobile-friendly website to track the build process, personalized plaque and instrument panel with “the customer’s chosen name to commemorate their design,” and a complementary 1:18 scale replica to confirm color selection.

The program also allows Dodge and SRT to demonstrate the full capabilities of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the Viper is assembled. Brand president Tim Kuniskis explains:

Because every Viper is hand crafted with such an extreme level of detail, we have the unique opportunity to make each one even more special by giving buyers the opportunity to customize each vehicle to their exact specifications. Now, Viper owners will be able to say their Viper is truly one of a kind.

Delivery options include rapid transport in an enclosed carrier, or, for those wanting to visit Detroit, picking up their new Viper at Conner Avenue following a tour of the facilities.

Production of the first 1-of-1 Vipers will begin in Q2 2015.

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Obama Visiting Ford Plant Wednesday Amid Temporary Closure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/obama-visiting-ford-plant-wednesday-amid-temporary-closure/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/obama-visiting-ford-plant-wednesday-amid-temporary-closure/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972082 President Barack Obama will be visiting the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Wednesday, a plant currently closed due to low demand for both the Focus and C-Max. The Detroit News reports the president will be in Michigan for less than two hours that afternoon before jetting off to Phoenix to give a speech […]

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Barack Obama + Connected Vehicles

President Barack Obama will be visiting the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Wednesday, a plant currently closed due to low demand for both the Focus and C-Max.

The Detroit News reports the president will be in Michigan for less than two hours that afternoon before jetting off to Phoenix to give a speech on the recovering housing market. Both Ford CEO Mark Fields and Chairman Bill Ford Jr. are expected to be in attendance; the company received $5.9 billion in low-cost government loans from the U.S. Energy Department in 2009 to help transition Michigan Assembly from SUV production to that of fuel-efficient small cars

Per the White House, his speech at the plant will focus upon “the workers in the resurgent American automotive and manufacturing sector now that the auto rescue has been completed and the decision to save the auto industry and the over one million jobs that went with it.”

Meanwhile, the plant’s closure is expected to be temporary, with its 5,100 employees receiving most of their standard pay in the interim. The closure is an extension of a two-week Christmas break at the plant, and is meant to help better manage supply as consumers, encouraged by falling fuel prices, look at F-150s and Explorers over smaller cars like the aforementioned Focus and C-Max.

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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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Cavaliers Brown Basketball

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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