Tuesday, July 01, 2014
On Tuesday, General Motors announced a recall of more than 8 million additional vehicle, bringing the total number of vehicles recalled by GM this year to 28 million. Uncertainty is once again swirling around GM's future, leading many to ask the questions: Why did America bailout GM? And was it worth it?
Friday, June 06, 2014
An internal investigation at General Motors into a faulty ignition switch concludes that there's been an 11-year "history of failures." In releasing the report Thursday, is this CEO Mary Barra's first step in changing the culture of the "GM Nod?"
Friday, April 04, 2014
Why did it take GM over a decade to respond to a defect the carmaker has linked to 13 deaths and dozens of accidents? And has high-frequency trading rigged the stock market? Joe Nocera of the New York Times and Rana Foroohar of Time discuss.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
CEO Mary Barra testifies before Congress today as her company recalls yet another 1.3 million vehicles because of problems with electronic power-steering. Why the auto-maker's future might have more to do with lawmakers than car buyers.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Automaker General Motors tapped a new leader this week. The company’s newest CEO, Mary T. Barra, will be the first woman to lead GM. She inherits a company that’s no longer in big financial trouble, but GM’s biggest challenges are likely to be conceptual. Jaclyn Trop, an automotive reporter for our partner The New York Times based in Detroit, tells The Takeaway what's in store for Barra.
A Nostalgic Look at Iran's Classic Car | Bipartisan Deal Reached on Budget | Ouster in North Korea Leaves World Watching
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Economic Impact of the Volcker Rule | Mary T. Barra Named CEO of General Motors | Paykan: A Nostalgic Look at Iran's Classic Car | Bipartisan Deal Reached on Budget | Ouster in North Korea Leaves World Watching | Securing the World's Nuclear Aresnal
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
In 2009, Ed Whitacre, former chairman and CEO of AT&T, came out of retirement at the request of President Obama, to take over the corporate reins at General Motors when the automotive manufacturer was on the brink of bankruptcy. GM reached record profitability two years later. In American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA, Whitacre describes his unique management style, the process of turning GM around, and what shaped his career.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
(Paul Eisenstein - The Detroit Bureau) General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have ended 2012 with all-time sales records in China — but the news is nowhere near as good for Japanese makers.
Stung by a dispute between China and Japan over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Toyota, Nissan and Honda have all suffered a sharp decline in sales in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.
While General Motors has yet to release its final figures for 2012, the maker already passed its previous peak by the end of November, the 2.59 million vehicles it sold for all of 2011. GM has set a goal of boosting sales in China to 5 million by mid-decade.
[Related story: GM Sets Another New Sales Record in China – And it’s Not Alone.]
Ford, meanwhile, has confirmed its sales in China rose 21% last year, to 626,616, also an all-time high. The maker was a relative latecomer to the Chinese market but has been aggressively expanding both its product portfolio and production capacity over the last several years.
“Record 2012 sales highlight the positive response our customers have for our full portfolio of high-quality, safe, fuel-efficient and smart vehicles,” John Lawler, chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China, said in a statement. “Their enthusiasm for Ford cars validates our aggressive plan to introduce 15 new vehicles, double production capacity and double our China dealership network — all by 2015.”
Chrysler has also been pushing into record territory, though its volumes have been much smaller than its cross-town rivals. That’s ironic because Chrysler was the first Western maker to build vehicles in China, or more precisely through its Jeep subsidiary. But its original operation was assumed by former partner Mercedes-Benz following the break-up of the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler AG.
[Related story: Chinese Reportedly Eyeing Stake in Daimler AG]
Under new partner Fiat SpA, Chrysler is again making an aggressive push to expand in China.
Japanese makers were also slow to enter the Chinese market, in part to long-standing enmity between the two nations dating back to Japan’s brutal occupation of its neighbor during World War II. That simmering disdain came back to a boil when the Japanese government decided to buy what it calls the Senkoku Island chain last September.
That set off rioting in China, the bigger nation also laying claim to what it calls the Daioyu Islands. A number of Japanese-owned vehicles were destroyed and a Toyota dealership was even torched in what many observers believe were government-tolerated, if not sanctioned, riots.
Japanese industry executives had previously telegraphed the likelihood of declining sales in China which, they also cautioned, would hurt their earnings for the rest of the 2012 fiscal year – which closes on March 31, 2013.
Nissan took the biggest hit, sales declining 5.3% for calendar-year 2012, to 1.2 million vehicles. Nissan has been the most aggressive of the Japanese makers operating in China, among other things setting up the new Venucia brand with its partner there, Donfeng Motors.
Toyota suffered a 4.9% drop in volume last year, to 840,000. Honda’s China sales slipped 3.1%, to 599,000. Prior to the dispute over the Senkoku/Daioyu Islands, Toyota had expected to see a 10% jump in sales in China, reaching 1 million for the first time.
The market for Japanese products has begun to improve, Toyota China spokesman Niu Yu telling the Wall Street Journal, “Sales are getting better day by day, but it’s still hard to say when we can get back to the pre-protest level,” said.
But it’s unclear how quickly there will be a full recovery. Nissan, for example, suffered a 41% drop in demand in October, shortly after the dispute began, but sales were still off 24%, year-over-year, in December.
Follow The Detroit Bureau on Twitter.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The recovery has been very good to the U.S. auto industry.
General Motors said Tuesday its August sales were double the company's expectations and are up 10 percent over 2011 numbers. Ford reports its numbers were up 13 percent. And Chrysler had its best August in five years, posting gains of 14 percent.
These numbers come at a fortuitous time for President Obama, who is making the $85 billion bailout of the auto industry a key talking point of his re-election campaign. Speaking Monday at a United Auto Workers rally in Ohio, Obama told the crowd: "If we had turned our backs on you, if we had thrown in the towel like that, GM and Chrysler wouldn’t exist today."
Read more about auto sales at NPR.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The United States filed a complaint against China with the World Trade Organization over what it says are unfair trade practices for imposing new duties on American-made cars.
According to the complaint, which was filed by the United States Trade Representative on Thursday, "the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with China at the WTO in an attempt to eliminate these unfair duties."
Last year, Beijing imposed import tariffs ranging from 2 percent to 21.5 percent on larger cars and SUVs exported from the U.S. In 2011, the U.S. exported more than $3 billion of these automobiles to China.
China has argued that General Motors and Chrysler have benefited from government subsidies, enabling the companies to sell cars at less than fair market value -- thereby hurting the Chinese auto industry.
Word of the complaint came as President Obama kicked off a two-day bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Ohio, a swing state, is home to thousands of auto workers.
"Americans aren't afraid to compete," said the president, speaking at a campaign event in Maumee (OH). "We believe in competition. I believe in trade...so as long as we're competing on a fair playing field instead of an unfair playing field, we'll do just fine. But we're going to make sure that competition is fair."
White House spokesperson Jay Carney noted that this is the seventh such action taken against China, and denied the timing behind the announcement was politically motivated. "The fact is this is an action that has been in development for quite a long time." he said. "It simply can’t suddenly be a political action because it happens during the campaign."
China's once-booming auto industry is decelerating due to its slowing economy -- and its government's own efforts to get a handle on traffic. Earlier this month, Guangzhou became the third Chinese city to put a cap on annual car sales to combat growing traffic jams and pollution.
You can read a copy of the letter the USTR sent the WTO here.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Today, General Motors announces its first quarter earnings. The CEO and chairman of General Motors, Dan Akerson, takes listener questions and talks about how the company has faired since it was restructured by the federal government in 2009.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Today, General Motors announces its first quarter earnings as Americans debate whether the auto bailout was worth the investment. Celeste interviews the CEO and chairman of General Motors, Dan Akerson, about how the company has faired since it was restructured by the federal government in 2009.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Recap from It's a Free Country.
Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Frank Rich, New York Magazine writer at large, discussed the Clint Eastwood Super Bowl ad and the politics around it.
TN MOVING STORIES: FAA Funding Agreement Reached; Tappan Zee Bridge Tolls' Worst Case Scenario; MTA, Union Resume Talks
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN: NYC held its first bicycle station community planning workshop. How the stimulus revived the electric car. One academic says NJ Governor Chris Christie’s hiring recommendations at the Port Authority far outpace his predecessor’s patronage hires. House Republicans rolled out parts of a $260 billion transportation infrastructure bill. President Obama dropped by the DC auto show. Karachi has the most beautiful buses in the world. And: the history of Critical Mass rides.
Lawmakers say they've reached an agreement on a $63 billion, four-year bill to extend the Federal Aviation Administration's operating authority and the agency's air traffic modernization effort. (AP via NPR)
The U.S. DOT is making $500 million available for a fourth round of TIGER grant funding. (DOT)
Engineers and transportation wonks are crunching numbers for the $5.2 billion Tappan Zee Bridge project to see what drivers might pay if toll revenue alone funds it. Worst-case scenario: $30 tolls by 2022, up from the current $5. (Crain's New York Business)
New York's MTA and the transit workers union will resume contract talks tomorrow. (Wall Street Journal)
The Motor City loses one of its rarest breeds: a woman car executive. (Forbes)
Florida Congressman John Mica needs to decide what district he'll run in. (Orlando Sentinel)
Boston's transit system set a modern ridership record in 2011 -- but those numbers will almost surely dip this year, as the T considers fare increases and service cuts. (Boston Globe)
General Motors’ bankruptcy unit has agreed to pay nearly $24 million to resolve environmental liabilities at Superfund sites in New Jersey, Maryland and Missouri. (Star-Ledger)
Thursday, January 26, 2012
By Kate Hinds
On the heels of a blistering Congressional hearing yesterday, where officials from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration were accused of sacrificing public safety to protect the government's investment in General Motors (sample tweet from committee chair, Republican Darrell Issa: @GOPOversight's Mike Kelly "takes the gloves off" to deliver accountability for #ChevyVolt subsidies you paid for), GM's new Volt ad is more in line with President Obama's take on the auto bailout in the State of the Union: “We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.”
The ad is the latest in a spate of 'Detroit pride'- themed commercials (think 'Eminem's "this is the Motor City. This is what we do"' Chrysler commercial from last year's Superbowl). In this one, a Chevrolet Volt assembly line winds through the streets of Hamtramck, Michigan -- described by Chevy as "a city within a city in the heart of Detroit."
“This isn’t just the car we wanted to build,” a narrator intones. “This is the car America had to build.” Watch below!
(Hat tip to The Hill)
TN MOVING STORIES: GM Once Again World's Largest Automaker, LA Reaches Out to China to Fund Transit, NY Area Airport Terminals Among World's Worst
Friday, January 20, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Union Suspends Talks with NY MTA Over Contract (Link)
Children in Low-Income Manhattan Neighborhoods More Likely To Be Hit By Cars (Link)
MTA: Subway Blasting Not Creating Pollution (Link)
D.C. Metro Workers Charged in Coin-Stealing Scheme (Link)
Rural College Campuses Solve Student Transportation Challenges With Shuttles — And Bikes (Link)
General Motors reclaims the title of world's largest automaker. (Detroit Free Press)
Federal safety regulators lack the expertise to monitor vehicles with increasingly sophisticated electronics, says one agency. (New York Times)
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke with a Chinese investment group about funding for a dozen transportation projects. (Los Angeles Times)
But what happened to the opossum after he rode the D train? (New York Times)
More information emerges from Capital Bikeshare data. Most common trips? Bike lane usage? It's in there. (Greater Greater Washington)
Opinion: Obama Throws SOPA and Keystone Red Meat to Liberals (It's a Free Country)
Watch a bicycle get stripped down on NYC's mean streets over the course of a year. (Video)
What's the best way to get users to embrace mass transit? (Slate)
New Jersey is preparing to use facial-recognition technology to scan 18 million photographs for signs of driver's license fraud. (AP via NJ.com)
Airport terminals at three New York-area airports are among the world’s 10 worst, according to travel group Frommer’s. (WNYC)
Road rage bleeds over to the bipeds in Canada: pedestrian bites driver. (CBC)
Friday, December 02, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Houston receives first-ever federal funds for light rail (link)
Democrats want stricter "made in America" rules for infrastructure projects. (Link)
John Mica could lose his seat under a redistricting proposal. (Link)
House leadership has put the brakes on a long-term transportation spending plan. (Washington Post)
The oil boom in North Dakota is straining small towns. (NPR)
DC Metro prepares to hike fares to close a budget gap. (Washington Post)
GM said it would buy back Volts from owners worried about battery fires. (New York Times)
The BART board voted to turn off cell phone service only in "the most extraordinary circumstances." (San Francisco Chronicle)
A New Jersey state assemblyman wants an investigation into the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's toll-hike discrepancy. (The Star-Ledger)
Thousands turned out for a New York City hearing on hydrofracking. (WNYC/Empire)
Friday video pick: watch as a video projection installation on the side of the Manhattan Bridge turns the structure into something resembling a portal to another dimension -- or a scene from the Matrix. (h/t Laughing Squid)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
By Kate Hinds
General Motors is pulling an ad campaign that urged college students to "stop pedaling...start driving."
The car company probably thought it would spend the day talking about its first all-electric vehicle. Instead, it's spending the day apologizing.
The ad, which appeared in college newspapers across the country, shows an embarrassed guy on a bicycle next to a good-looking woman in a car -- the inference being that bicyclists should grow up already and buy a car. Bike Portland wrote about it Tuesday after being tipped off by a UCLA professor, who was outraged to see the ad in the school newspaper. It quickly went viral.
“The content of the ad was developed with college students and was meant to be a bit cheeky and humorous and not meant to offend anybody,” Tom Henderson, a GM spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times, which reported Wednesday that the company would kill the ad.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have released the details of their tentative new four year agreement, which was reached on Tuesday. The deal will close the salary gap between workers in the two-tier wage system that is in place at GM and the two other Detroit automakers. Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau, has the latest on the deal.