Tag: michigan

By on March 15, 2019

The shouting factory that is Twitter, by and large, should generally not be considered as something that resembles real life. Between trolls and various other bottom feeders, it can be tough to find real information amongst all the noise.

Every now and then, a nugget of information appears that makes weathering the commotion worthwhile. Despite take rates being lower than this winter’s average temperatures, stickshifts are apparently a very popular topic in the Wolverine State.

(Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

waymo-michigan

Alphabet’s self-driving arm, Waymo, announced plans for a Michigan expansion on Tuesday. The company is currently seeking a location in the southeast section of the state and intends to hire up to 400 employees over the next five years.

According to a corporate blog post, the new new hires will be tasked with installing autonomous driving systems on vehicles built by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover ahead of those vehicles entering the firm’s growing fleet.

“We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts, and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-driving cars,” the blog explains. “This will be the world’s first factory [100-percent] dedicated to the mass production of [Level 4] autonomous vehicles.”  (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2018

The world’s automotive press can pack away their parkas after next year’s North American International Auto Show. In 2020, the circus will move to the month of June.

This was not wholly unexpected. Pressure was mounting for NAIAS to re-invent itself, given a recent flight of manufacturers and increased competition from other events — automotive and otherwise.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2018

2016 NAIAS Ford Stand

The North American International Auto Show, held in mid-January since there were starting handles on the front of cars, may be jumping halfway across the calendar to the month of June.

Facing a declining level of participation, the show has been looking for ways to reinvent itself in a bid to remain relevant and continue grabbing headlines during a time of year when digital ink is easily slurped up by news from other events.

(Read More…)

By on May 4, 2018

2018 Ram 3500 Cummins towing, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Police in Michigan are flummoxed and frustrated after a theft of nearly a dozen brand new Ram pickups from the Warren Truck Assembly Plant. Like a scene from Gone in 60 Seconds, the ne’er-do-wells are alleged to have crashed freshly manufactured Rams through secured gates before hightailing it south on Mound Road.

“This was well-planned,” said Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, who takes home top honors in today’s Most Obvious Statement competition.

(Read More…)

By on November 27, 2017

General Motors Flint Assembly

The American automotive industry is facing a problem that has nothing to do with supplier relations or regulatory handicaps. Apparently, domestic auto workers are getting addicted to drugs at an alarming rate. As a Michigan native, my childhood frequently included evenings at the local bowling alley where shop rats would go to tip back a few after the end of their shift. But, with the exception of an occasional “funny smelling cigarette,” you never really heard about anyone having troubles with more illicit substances.

However that’s exactly what the Detroit Three appear to be faced with, according to George Washington, an employee-assistance representative for General Motors. Washington claims line workers are becoming addicted to opioids and even crystal meth at a frequency that’s causing concern.   (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2017

waymo-michigan

There’s something we don’t often hear about when companies discuss the glory of the autonomous car: the lack of functionality of specific hardware during inclement weather.

Camera systems can be rendered ineffective when covered with ice and snow cover of an inch or more can easily obscure lane markings, leaving self-driving cars at a serious disadvantage. LiDAR, which operates using light beams, can be severely thrown in fog or whiteout conditions. Even if a blizzard doesn’t knock out the vehicle’s sensor array, its computer will still have to know how to mitigate slippery road surfaces.

Whether you’re human or machine, winter driving is extremely taxing. But technology companies hoping to build a self-driving car eventually have to move into snowy regions to advance testing. Some of the bigger automakers already have. Ford, for example, has begun extensive regional mapping — hoping to give cars handicapped by poor visibility a leg up.

Waymo has also decided it’s time to throw on a parka and winter tires. It’s heading to Michigan to start cold-weather testing next week.  (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2017

Pontiac Silverdome in 2006

Dozens of recalled Volkswagen diesels have vanished from the Silverdome parking lot in Pontiac, Michigan, over past last week. The stadium was once home to the Detroit Lions and monster truck rallies. Now defunct, it has been converted into a makeshift purgatory for thousands of emission-cheating VW and Audi-branded autos waiting to be fixed and resold.

Michigan authorities are working with out-of-state police to track down over 60 stolen vehicles. Roughly a dozen of the missing cars were located at an auction lot in Clarksville, Indiana, last Friday. Those recovered units have laid the groundwork for how the police are handling the investigation.  (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2017

Car in a Driveway, Image: Bigstock.com

For many years the phrase “keep the car running” carried a fine in some Michigan locales if put into practice. At least, it once did.  As of Wednesday, the state of Michigan has made it legal to warm up your car in the driveway as you stare at it, coffee in hand, from the front window. Careful, though — local anti-idling laws might still apply.

A local law enacted to prevent vehicle theft was the reason behind a $128 ticket issued to Roseville resident Taylor Trupiano back in January. A police officer handed over the civil infraction notice after seeing Trupiano’s car, with keys in the ignition, engine running, and doors unlocked, sitting unattended in the driveway for an extended period of time. The owner claimed he was simply warming up his car for his girlfriend and two-year-old son.

Eventually, the matter ended up in court. While Trupiano eventually lost his case — he was unable to prove that his driveway wasn’t easily accessible to the public — state lawmakers took notice. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

General Motors HQ

Automakers are seeing diminished interest in product as market demand levels off after years of post-recession growth. While some analysts are heralding an industry-wide doomsday, others have cited this as an inevitable market ebb with no cause for alarm. Either way, domestic and foreign automakers have begun scaling back production efforts.

In the United States, Ford recently announced layoffs at its Ohio truck plant and General Motors may be following suit by eliminating 1,100 employees at the Delta Township Assembly Plant near Lansing, Michigan.

GM’s newest U.S. factory was already scheduled undergo retooling for the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave crossovers. However, when the plant reopens this June, there’s a good chance that third-shift employees won’t be returning. (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2017

bob king

The former president of the United Automobile Workers, Bob King, says he supports President Trump’s plan to reconfigure the North American Free Trade Agreement — so long as it maintains labor’s best interests. Ironically, King’s support of the president’s trade plan came as he attended an Ann Arbor rally in support of an EPA testing facility in danger of being closed due to Trump administration budget cuts.

King, who served as the union’s president from 2010 to 2014, faults the trade pact for a loss of American jobs. It’s his belief that NAFTA allowed automakers to invest in more-affordable regions — like Mexico — at the expensive of the United States’ workforce. His successor, Dennis Williams, has echoed these claims and also wishes to see NAFTA reformed.  (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2017

Ford Fairlane Mall

The majority of today’s youth culture develops online but, for a number of years, it shared that space with the former cornerstone of American society — the mall. However, the once-great shopping center has fallen out of fashion along with wide-leg jeans and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Since the late 1990s, most malls have gradually morphed into half-empty shanty towns or been abandoned entirely.

As part of Ford’s reoccurring requirement to appear forward thinking and socially conscious — as well as an immediate need for a location to house gobs of employees while it continues work on its Dearborn headquarters — the automaker had decided to make use of the partially abandoned Fairlane Mall. It may be the best implementation of its current focus on corporate citizenship and sustainability to date.   (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

Ford Factory

Ford Motor Company has announced that it will invest $1.2 billion into three Michigan facilities to strengthen its status among truck and SUVs manufacturers and to further enhance its role as a “mobility company.” Most importantly, the cash is needed if Americans ever want to get their hands on a Bronco or Ranger again.

Many of the investments are included in the automaker’s 2015 promise to pour nine billion dollars into its U.S. plants over the next several years. In an agreement with UAW made almost two years ago, Ford said it would pour $700 million into the Michigan Assembly plant, $150 million into the Romeo Engine plant, and $400 million for Flat Rock Assembly.

While these were not the only locations promised capital, Ford released an official statement that all three would see the promised amount — or better.   (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

Pontiac Silverdome in 2006

After a lengthy death rattle spanning from 2006 to 2012, Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome finally closed for good in 2013. Its parking lot, however, remains in use thanks to Volkswagen’s legal obligation to buy back scores of diesel cars following its infamous emissions scandal. In stasis since January, the cars have become an unwelcome addition to the deteriorating stadium and the city of Pontiac has opted to sue the property’s current owners for holding them.

While the site’s parking lot is being used for its intended purpose for the first time in years, city officials claim that Triple Investment Group has violated numerous safety codes, zoning ordinances, and a municipal code relating to the proper storage of used vehicles at the property. Six complaints were filed with the 50th District Court in Pontiac on February 27th, roughly a month after hundreds of VWs arrived in the wake of the company’s emission’s crisis.

Now, the doomed diesels number in the thousands.  (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2016

foogy highway

Vehicles without steering wheels, brake pedals, or even drivers are now allowed to operate on public roads in Michigan.

Today, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of auto industry-backed legislation that permits automakers and technology companies to develop, test and even sell autonomous vehicles in the Mitten State. The policy even enables autonomous ride-hailing services, provided that the vehicles have undergone certification.

Michigan is now the wild frontier for self-aware cars. (Read More…)

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