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Archive for the ‘Politicians’ Category

Senate Ignores Important Automotive Legislation

EV tax credit, autonomous vehicle testing bills on hold until 2019.

by on Dec.20, 2018

Michigan Senator Gary Peters is concerned by the delay of legislation that would set guidelines for testing autonomous vehicles.

The news out of Washington just got worse for automakers as two pieces of legislation they’d hoped would be passed by the end of the year won’t even be considered, putting off them off until 2019.

The two measures – one to accelerate the adoption of self-driving car technology and a second to extend the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles – were not attached to last funding bill for 2018, thus will not get approved in 2018.

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Sens. John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan) were pushing legislation that would allow exemptions to automakers for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. The goal was to homogenize the rules for all states, making it easier to get the testing complete in more states. (more…)

Senators Pressuring GM to Halt $14B Stock Buyback Plan

Stopping buybacks gives company some of $5B saved from closures.

by on Dec.19, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra is feeling more heat from three U.S. Senators demanding the company stop its $14 billion stock buyback program.

General Motors political woes aren’t getting any better as three members of the U.S. Senate have launched an attack on the company’s stock buybacks.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) are pressing GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra to eliminate future stock buybacks, in light of recently announced layoffs in the United States.

Business News!

Companies generally buy back shares to improve shareholder returns on their investment. (more…)

GM Cutting 50 Jobs at Detroit-Area Battery Plant

Company eliminating another 700 in February.

by on Dec.18, 2018

GM is cutting 50 employees at its Brownstown Battery Assembly plant just south of Detroit.

General Motors is eliminating 50 jobs at its battery assembly plant just south of Detroit which provides batteries for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid sedan. GM will end Volt production in 2019.

The company plans to cut nearly half of its workers — 37 hourly and 13 salaried employees, according to a notice filed with the State of Michigan. In addition to the batteries for the soon-to-be-defunct Volt, the plant produced batteries for the Buick LaCrosse hybrid electric.

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The cuts are part of the recently announced plans by the automaker shut down five plants and eliminate 15,000 workers. The company has been excoriated for the plan, despite noting that as many as 2,800 active hourly workers who work at the plants ending production in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland will be offered jobs in other places.  (more…)

NHTSA Moves to Accelerate Autonomous Vehicle Petitions

Agency also seeks comment on vehicle communications technology.

by on Dec.18, 2018

GM plans to introduce a fully driverless version of the Bolt EV in 2019 for ride-sharing fleets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will no longer need to determine if a petition complete to issue summary for public comment, hoping to accelerate the process for getting autonomous vehicles on the road.

The agency cut the requirement wanting to improve “the efficiency and transparency of the process to focus on the safety review,” according to Reuters. Now the agency can zero in on the safety of a vehicle without a driver or steering wheel and brakes.

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Automakers currently meet nearly dozens of auto safety standards, often based on the assumption that a licensed driver would be able to control the vehicle using traditional human controls, Reuters noted. (more…)

China Suspends Punitive Tariffs on US During Negotiations

Tariff halt is for three months.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Chinese fans of American cars can rejoice – if only for three months – as the extra 25% tariff on autos has been suspended.

Shortly after the U.S. and China declared a truce, China put forth a goodwill gesture, announcing it will temporarily suspend additional 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts starting Jan. 1, 2019.

The 25% tariff came oddly enough just after China reduced the levy to 15% earlier this year, but when President Donald Trump decided to increase tariffs on China, the country immediately pushed it back up to 40%.

Global News!

The Ministry of Finance, in a statement on its website, the two sides can expedite talks to remove all additional tariffs on each other’s goods. For now, the suspension will last for three months. The impact in some places was immediate. (more…)

Trump Takes Swipes at GM, Barra about EV Strategy

President claims EV strategy is flawed.

by on Dec.13, 2018

GM CEO Barra and President Donald Trump during better days. Trump called Barra "nasty" during an interview on Fox News today.

President Donald Trump is like a dog with a bone when it comes to General Motors and CEO Mary Barra today again taking swipes at the company and its product strategy as well as Barra herself.

On an appearance on Fox News, Trump said the company’s focus on shifting to electric vehicles is poorly conceived and won’t work.

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“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that she’s doing I think is a mistake,” Trump said.  (more…)

White House Tells Automakers China Tariffs Coming Down

Automotive levies coming down to 15%.

by on Dec.11, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears to be making progress in talks with the Chinese.

After the first few days of talks, White House officials once again believe China is ready to cut tariffs on U.S. cars, trucks and utility vehicles from 40% to 15%.

Trump administration officials told automakers following a U.S.-China trade call they believe China will cut tariffs on U.S. autos to 15% from the current 40%, an auto executive told Reuters after being briefed on the call.

News You Can Trust!

Before excitement begins to bubble, this has been heard before. President Donald Trump tweeted a few weeks ago that China was cutting the levies, only to have to backtrack on those assertions. Additinally, there is no actual documentation to support the idea. (more…)

China’s Auto Sales Sliding Downward

EVs and hybrids the only bright spot currently.

by on Dec.11, 2018

Electric vehicle sales are booming in China courtesy of subsidies and mandates by the government.

The world’s largest automotive market continues to face headwinds as auto sales in China dropped for the fifth consecutive month.

The Chinese economy was already experiencing a long-term slowdown, including auto sales, when the tariff fight between the U.S. and China began.

Global News!

Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in China fell 16% from a year ago to just under 2.2 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, reported Tuesday. Through November, sales were down 2.8% from a year earlier at 21.5 million, putting 2018 sales on track to shrink for the first time in three decades. (more…)

GM Presses to Extend EV Tax Credits

But automaker’s planned plant closings make it a hard sell.

by on Dec.11, 2018

General Motors is lobbying politicians to extend EV tax credits just a week after CEO Mary Barra was flogged for plans to close five plants and layoff thousands.

General Motors lobbyists are making a push on Capitol Hill to extend the tax credits the automaker’s customers can receive after purchasing one of its battery-electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

The automaker is rapidly approaching the sales threshold set by Congress – 200,000 battery models – after which the incentives would be phased out. That would make vehicles like the Bolt as much as $7,500 more expensive and potentially short-circuit demand.

All Charged Up!

GM is by no means alone. Tesla has already crossed the sales threshold and will begin to have its tax credits phase out, starting January 1. They will be eliminated entirely at the end of 2019. Nissan and Ford aren’t far behind. Newer entries into the electric car field, such as Volkswagen and Hyundai, would effectively gain an edge by continuing to offer the credits. (more…)

Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

Beyond the Headlines!

California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)