Cars – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:33:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dodge Superbowl Ad Featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. Generates Controversy; Use Was Approved By Licensor Mon, 05 Feb 2018 18:45:40 +0000 The most controversial ad of the Superbowl this year has ties to Detroit.

Whether you find the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. being used in a commercial to sell trucks tasteless or not, it’s what everyone is talking about this morning.

The minute-long ad opens after the text with a shot of a construction worker in Detroit with the Penobscot Building in the background and goes on to show clips of various people working and serving others. The speech is part of one King delivered 50 years ago (full text here).

If you want to be important, wonderful. If you want to be recognized, wonderful. If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. … By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great. … You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know the theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

Although the King Center disavowed the ad, it turns out it was approved by the “exclusive licensor” of his copyright, Intellectual Properties Management, Inc. According to Slate:

When Ram approached the King Estate with the idea of featuring Dr. King’s voice in a new “Built To Serve” commercial, we were pleasantly surprised at the existence of the Ram Nation volunteers and their efforts. We learned that as a volunteer group of Ram owners, they serve others through everything from natural disaster relief, to blood drives, to local community volunteer initiatives. Once the final creative was presented for approval, it was reviewed to ensure it met our standard integrity clearances. We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s “Built To Serve” Super Bowl program.

Criticism online was swift, with one person even creating an alternate ad that highlighted the fact that Martin Luther King Jr. himself wasn’t so into commercialism. That alternate take was pulled down from YouTube thanks to a copyright claim by Chrysler.

The “Drum Major Speech” speaks of the ills of keeping up with others. Here’s a pertinent excerpt, talking about spending beyond your means.

But very seriously, it goes through life; the drum major instinct is real. (Yes) And you know what else it causes to happen? It often causes us to live above our means. (Make it plain) It’s nothing but the drum major instinct. Do you ever see people buy cars that they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income? (Amen) [laughter] You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford. (Make it plain) But it feeds a repressed ego.

You know, economists tell us that your automobile should not cost more than half of your annual income. So if you make an income of five thousand dollars, your car shouldn’t cost more than about twenty-five hundred. That’s just good economics. And if it’s a family of two, and both members of the family make ten thousand dollars, they would have to make out with one car. That would be good economics, although it’s often inconvenient. But so often, haven’t you seen people making five thousand dollars a year and driving a car that costs six thousand? And they wonder why their ends never meet. [laughter] That’s a fact.

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Detroit Auto Show Draws 809,161 In 2018 Mon, 29 Jan 2018 22:18:35 +0000 The North American International Auto Show is a popular event, drawing journalists, industry people and consumer crowds to the Cobo Center each January.

This year, 809,161 people attended the show, with the economic impact – according to a report provided by the organization – that has the equivalent of holding two NFL Super Bowls in the city of Detroit (at $480 million).

Here’s a look at some more numbers:

  • More than 700 vehicles were on display.
  • 5,078 journalists from 60 countries saw 52 vehicles revealed during Press Preview.
  • Almost 40,000 automotive and mobility industry people from more than 2,000 companies attended the Industry Preview.
  • Nearly $5.1 Million was raised during the Charity Preview with 12,7144 attending.
  • The AutoMobili-D section expanded by 30,000 square feet – to 150,000 square feet.
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Auto Supplier Flex-N-Gate Will Hire 400+ Employees, Focus On Detroit Residents Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:22:25 +0000 The largest investment by an auto supplier in the City of Detroit in over 20 years is well underway.

Auto supplier Flex-N-Gate Detroit will soon be hiring over 400 employees. The positions will range from hourly workers to management.

Flex-N-Gate owner Shad Khan has committed to hiring Detroit residents first.

The company will be partnering with Detroit Works to help Detroiters get the training they need.

Courses at Detroit Works are expected to start in February and will run through December 2018. Training will be available for over 300 Detroit residents throughout the year. You can find out more information about the training and employment here.

Construction on the 480,000 square foot, $160 million facility is more than halfway complete. This build-up in hiring employees is to prepare for the opening of the Flex-N-Gate facility in October.

The facility will supply auto parts to Ford Motor Company once it opens.

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NEWS BYTE: School Funding Changes To Benefit Charters, Royal Oak City Buses, Belle Isle Draft Plans & Attracting Mobility Companies Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:44:09 +0000

Here’s your Daily Detroit News Byte for Friday, January 19.

On the docket today:

If you like the show, don’t forget to subscribe in Apple Podcasts:

Thanks again to Podcast Detroit for their support:

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Merry Hydraulic Christmas, Detroit: Check Out This Absurd Driving In The Snow Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:20:30 +0000 Sometimes, you just have to admire the absurdity of Detroit.

It’s the winter season, and so as in years past, crazy videos of things happening in the snow start to emerge. The latest pair (posted on YouTube and Facebook) by Bill Robinson of Outkast Lowriders & Kustoms of videos is pretty crazy.

According to the post, on Wednesday evening before the salt trucks went out this here hyrdaulically-enabled ride hit I-75 just before I-94 and showed off.

We’ve embedded one angle that’s a Youtube video above, and a Facebook video below.


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Could Detroit (And Michigan) Be The Leader For Autonomous Vehicles? Survey Sees Opportunity Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:07:57 +0000 One of the things that’s talked about a ton is the perception of the state, city and region. After all, there’s a lot of money and effort spent by government, businesses and others to influence and help shape how the country sees us.

But, what is that perception, specifically when it comes to jobs? After all, there’s so much focus by the mainstream media on the splashes high-profile people and companies like Dan Gilbert make (because by putting the name in there, like we just did, more people will pay attention), when it’s nowhere near the entirety of the picture.

The 2017 Automobility Career Perception Survey put together by MichAuto, a project of the Detroit Regional Chamber, sampled 900 youth (ages 17-24) and adult influencers both inside and outside of Michigan. Influencers, to be clear, were defined as parents with kids ages 12-17, adults in leadership roles of youth organizations, high school and college-level educators, career counselors and academic advisors.

It was presented today at the MichAuto Summit in Midtown, Detroit.

Michigan has some significant work to do when it comes to national perceptions around having innovative companies in general. From those in the state, the data is better.

41% of Michigan youth respondents believe that innovative companies are in Michigan, while only 4% of those nationally.

When it comes to influencers, 54% of Michigan-based ones say those companies are here, where 5% nationally think that.

Regardless, California leads the pack.

What about Ann Arbor and Detroit? Turns out, again, that the perception shifts depending on whether you’re from the state or not from the state.

Autonomous Opportunity

Diving deeper into autonomous vehicles — a growth area of the future and the focus of a lot of investment — it’s interesting in that there isn’t a perceived place leader for the industry among the majority of respondents. According to the survey creators at MichAuto, this provides a real opportunity.

More than half of both youth (57%) and influencers (53%) say that they don’t know which location in the United States that they would choose as leading the development of autonomous/driverless vehicles.

Ford also stands in good stead. Although Tesla and Google are the top two companies that both youth and influencers think are leading the development of autonomous/driverless vehicles, Ford comes in at number three.

Our Two Cents: When it comes to the future of the region, our ability to not only go with the flow but lead the pack when it comes to autonomous vehicles, ridesharing, apps, all of that — it’s going to be crucial for our future. Not only the investment, but talent staying in the state and attracting more people to the region that as far as population has stayed basically flat for most of the last half century.

Ed Note: Today we’re live blogging from the 2017 MichAuto Summit at the College for Creative Studies. 

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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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