Cars – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:24:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 PODCAST: The Future Of Automotive & Mobility With Glenn Stevens of MichAuto Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:54:04 +0000

What’s the future for Detroit & Michigan’s all important automotive sector?

This week Sven Gustafson’s guest across the table is Glenn Stevens, the Executive Director of MichAuto and we do a deep dive ahead of the MichAuto Summit on December 5 & 6.

Getting into the weeds is what we do and it’s a fascinating conversation if you’re connected to this industry or want Detroit’s economy to move forward. We touch on the auto industry, autonomous vehicles, venture capital investment, and what the future of mobility looks like.

Talent is a huge piece of that puzzle, and automotive and mobility companies are looking for Detroit’s best and brightest.

The summit at the College for Creative Studies will go further than our conversation tonight, and if you’re interested in working in the auto industry you might want to check it out. 

Thanks to Queens Bar for being host this week and Podcast Detroit for all of their support.

If you like the show, considering subscribing on Apple Podcasts:

Or Google Play:

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REPORTS: Duggan’s Auto Insurance Reform Plan Fails In State House Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:08:39 +0000 Auto insurance reform in the city of Detroit and Michigan will have to wait until another day, if it happens at all.

According to a report in Crain’s, after intense lobbying a bi-partisan plan spearheaded by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan failed 45-63.

Aligned against the plan were lobbyists from hospitals, medical systems like Henry Ford Health Systems and the Detroit Medical Center as well as personal injury attorneys. Their efforts managed to make it so that only four Democrats signed on. Out-state democrats were against the bill as well as some Detroit ones.

The bill would have given people the option to buy auto insurance with a capped benefits at $250,000 between post-hospitalization and emergency services, as well as a host of other details that the Freep has here.

Critics believed the bill didn’t address redlining, where rates are higher in poor or areas with more people of color. Some also believe that we should keep unlimited medical benefits after an accident (Michigan is the only state in the nation to offer them), and some wanted a hard guarantee that the bill would lower rates.

Our Quick Take: Yes, redlining is an issue. But until costs are somehow control on the medical care side (a lot of people think the cost of insurance is high in Detroit because of theft, it’s not, it’s the medical care portion), we’re never going to see significantly lower auto insurance rates and Michigan will continue to have the highest rates in the nation and be the most expensive state to own a car.

This bill had issues, but down the line something has to give to reduce the costs and it seems there’s little will to give anything and compromise. There’s also lot of money being made by a lot of people along the chain, so there’s a lot of incentive to keep the system as it is.

Despite Duggan saying he’s going to push again next year, auto insurance reform (more than a few percent around for the edges) through legislative means is probably a dead duck for the foreseeable future.

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REPORT: Google Moving Office To Downtown Detroit, Doubling Size Tue, 10 Oct 2017 18:08:12 +0000 More and more, downtown Detroit is where technology companies want to be in Metro Detroit.

The latest addition? Google.

According to a report being circulated by the Associated Press (CNBC link), a Google spokesman has confirmed that the Detroit area Google office is moving from suburban Birmingham to Detroit, along with 100 employees.

They expect to double the physical size of the office, which focuses on the automotive industry, from the current 17,000 square feet they occupy.

There’s no word on exact timing or where they will go.

Earlier this year, Microsoft pulled a similar move. Amazon also has a local office downtown.

Where would you put 34,000 square feet of Google employees in the greater downtown Detroit area?

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This Self-Driving Car Could Be Mass Produced Right Here In Metro Detroit Wed, 13 Sep 2017 17:02:37 +0000 Although Silicon Valley is making a play for Detroit’s crown as the automotive headquarters of the world, Detroit’s not going down without a fight.

Autoblog is reporting that driverless car startup Cruise Automation, purchased by General Motors for $1 billion last year, has a production-ready, mass-produceable self driving car. It’s going to be a version of the Chevy Bolt EV that’s assembled at the Orion Assembly Plant.

Per a Medium post, Cruise Automation CEO and Founder Kyle Vogt says:

“This isn’t just a concept design — it has airbags, crumple zones, and comfortable seats,” Vogt writes. “It’s assembled in a high-volume assembly plant capable of producing 100,000’s of vehicles per year, and we’d like to keep that plant busy.”

The test vehicles are already being produced at the Orion plant.

Even though it’s going to be awhile before self-driving cars hit the road full time, producing the cars of the future here in Michigan is good news. The rest of the story is on Autoblog here.

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Duggan Teases “We’re Very Close” On Deal To Reduce Car Insurance Rates Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:25:12 +0000 At a midday press and community event at the Williams Recreation Center to talk about the expansion of affordable internet, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan dropped a teaser around progress in regard to car insurance reform.

For context, Detroit, along with the state of Michigan, has the highest car insurance rates in the nation (here’s an explainer as to why).

It’s not uncommon for residents to pay more than $400 a month for basic, no-fault auto insurance.

“I have a meeting back at the office with some folks who we’re finally going to get this bill through to cut car insurance in this city,” said Duggan to loud cheers. “We’re very close to a package that will work with Republicans and Democrats and I’m going to get back to work on that right now.”

How close? We’ll see if anything concrete develops in the next week or so. But things have been pretty quiet as of late on that front and it’s one of the top issues for Detroiters.

The timing of a deal, if it happens soon, couldn’t be better for Duggan. After all – it’s election season.

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Gas Prices Up 13 Cents Per Gallon On Average In Michigan Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:15:42 +0000 You’ll probably be paying a bit more to fill your gas tank this week.

AAA Michigan is reporting that the state average daily gas price is up to $2.42 per gallon for regular. That’s 13 cents higher than last week (the third highest rise in the nation) and 14 cents higher than at the same time last year.

Specifically in Metro Detroit, the local average matches what is happening statewide, but up 6 cents higher than last year at this time.

AAA expects demand to grow as the summer driving season continues after weeks of lows. Compared to the rest of the nation, Michigan has the 11th most expensive gas prices.

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Electronic Proof Of Registration Is Now Accepted In Michigan Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:07:57 +0000 Anyone who has been pulled over before knows the drill, fumbling through your glovebox for that little proof of registration card.

Thanks to a new law signed by Governor Rick Snyder, those days are in the past if you have an electronic proof of registration on your mobile device. It was sponsored by Michigan state representative Peter Lucido (R-36), serving part of Macomb County.

“As technology continues to rapidly evolve, it’s important that our state’s laws adapt to these changes,” Snyder said. “Allowing motorists to present vehicle registration to a law enforcement officer electronically is a common sense move that makes life easier for Michiganders.”

The law, Public Act 59 of 2017, allows an individual to present proof of auto registration electronically when proof is requested by a law enforcement officer.

It also prohibits a law enforcement officer from accessing any additional content on the electronic device while protecting the officer’s liability while in physical possession of the electronic device.

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In Metro Detroit We Build And Design New Cars, But We Can’t Afford Them Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:49:08 +0000 Detroit is still in many ways the home of the American auto industry. But a new report out by shows that Metro Detroit is second to last when it comes to being able to actually afford those cars, compared to our incomes.

Metro Detroit ranked 24 out of 25 regions across the nation when it comes to being able to afford a new car, according to a new affordability survey.

Bankrate used the “20/4/10” rule as their guide. They say you should aim to put down at least 20 percent of a vehicle’s purchase price, take out a car loan for no longer than four years, and devote no more than 10 percent of your annual income to car payments, interest and insurance.

If you stretch your loan out for more than four years, like many do, you’re in danger of owing more than the car is worth at the end of the deal.

According to Experian, three quarters of car loans are written for longer than five years. That length of time for the loan is usually done in the name of keeping the monthly payment more manageable, but it ends up hurting the customer in the long run.

“Low and middle-income households are having to stretch loan terms to six or more years and/or spend huge percentages of their paychecks to afford reliable transportation,” Claes Bell, an analyst for, said in a statement.

Under the Bankrate assumptions, they worked with a median household income of $55,237 for Metro Detroiters. They figured out that the price a metro Detroiter could actually afford a new car is $13,912.

Only Miami, Florida was lower on the list.

Nowadays, the average new car is costs in the neighborhood of $33,000. Michigan’s car insurance premiums are also the highest in the nation.

“In the past 35 years, the cost of a new car has gone up 35 percent, a used car is up 25 percent, and at the same time, the median household income is only up 3 percent,” says Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst for Autotrader.

To be sure, this is an issue nationally. Although metro Detroit was near the bottom, only one region in the United States can afford a new car under Bankrate’s 20/4/10 assumptions: The nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

This is interesting data especially in light of controversial topics around here like mass transit, as well as analysts saying that domestic car sales are plateauing.

Although many people in the Detroit area do not think we want mass transit or other options for getting around, it turns out that financially we might just need it.

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Tesla Pops Up A Mobile Gallery Outside Of The Shinola Store In Midtown Tue, 06 Jun 2017 02:47:56 +0000 Tesla just can’t stop poking at the Detroit 3 in their backyard. Here’s their latest provocation.

The California-based automaker may not have the unit sales to be considered a “large” automaker, but their mindshare is second to none – so much so that the company is now worth more than Ford Motor Company while selling far fewer units.

At Christmastime, they set up a gallery store in Somerset Mall, and now through June 11 they have a pop-up “gallery” outside the Midtown Shinola store in Detroit.

Michigan laws designed to protect the dealer monopoly (and the jobs and lobbying dollars that go with it) prohibit Tesla from having a dealership in the state, but nothing says you couldn’t buy one in a neighboring state and bring it here.

It’s not hard to see why Tesla is making a splash – they’re employing the same tactics an upstart Henry Ford did when he challenged the automotive establishment more than 100 years ago – fighting in courts and through whatever means to break a monopoly. Then, it was a license to build the cars with the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. Today, it’s government-protected dealerships.

If you’re interested, you’ll be able to check out the Model S or X with Tesla product specialists – and they’re even touting the towing capacity of the Model X SUV with their experience showroom in an Airstream trailer. The hours, according to Tesla, are from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. through June 11.

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REPORT: Ford Fires CEO Mon, 22 May 2017 04:14:29 +0000 UPDATE: Additional information is at the bottom of this post. Ford says Fields has “retired” as opposed to initial reports of being “fired.”

Despite $9 billion in pre-tax profit, Wall Street hasn’t been a fan of Ford Motor Company and the Dearborn-based global automaker has changed horses, according to an early report by Forbes.

They say Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields is out. Additionally, their Vice President of Communications, Ray Day, has been sent packing.

Joann Muller, a long-time auto industry writer, broke the news late Sunday night. As of this writing it has not been confirmed by Ford.

Replacing Fields will be former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett who has been running Ford’s smart mobility subsidiary.

Wall Street types are looking for ways to roll the dice, and they’re just not interested in steady profits. Under the reign of Fields, Ford stock has lost 40 percent of its value.

Evidence of this is the high market capitalization for upstart Tesla, with a market cap of $52.22 billion, while Ford is at $43.4 billion as of Friday’s close.

Tesla delivered a little more than 82,000 vehicles in 2016; Ford sold more than 2.5 million during the same period.

Recent reports have shared that Ford plans on cutting 10 percent of their workforce soon, or 20,000 jobs – even though the company had record profits in 2016. That’s obviously going to hit metro Detroit in some way.

New, 9:40 a.m.: Reuters is reporting that Fields “retired,” sharing part of a letter written by Bill Ford.

Here’s the complete Forbes report with more details.

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