Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Author Archive

Hot Summer Auto Sales Continue Sizzling in July

Buyers keep industry on track for best year in a decade.

by on Jul.27, 2015

Despite some difficult times recently, Fiat Chrysler is expected to continue its streak of consecutive months with a sales increase to 64 in July.

New-vehicle sales remain robust during July as the auto industry continues to track towards its best year in a decade despite the uncertainty created by the slow-growing U.S. economy.

Sales are expected to increase 2.6% year-over-year in July 2015, resulting in an estimated 17.1 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to estimates from Kelley Blue Book and J.D. Power.

Subscribe for Free!

“As the industry settles into the summer selling season, new-car sales are expected to remain consistent with last month’s numbers, representing modest and slowing growth versus last year,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  (more…)

UAW Makes Note of GM’s Improved Profitability

Union looking for its share of the money during talks.

by on Jul.24, 2015

Everyone was all smiles at the opening of talks, UAW's Cindy Estrada noted GM's better-than-expected Q2 profits: a reminder the union is looking for raises.

Ever since General Motors went bankrupt in 2009, GM and the United Auto Workers have made a concerted effort to make nice.

The company and the union have put aside the years of antagonistic relations and built a new relationship. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, whose father was a union member for years, has clearly stated that she values good relations with the UAW.

Union News!

Cathy Clegg, GM’s vice president of labor relations, has credited the union with helping to boost the quality of GM’s vehicles and the company has made several announcements during the winter and spring that highlighted the company’s commitment to investing in American jobs and American workers. (more…)

Move to Mexico Makes Ford Potential UAW Target

Ford may use promise of new product to ease UAW concerns.

by on Jul.23, 2015

Past UAW President Bob King shakes hands with Ford Chairman Bill Ford to kick off labor talks. This time around, the process may be a little bumpy.

Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers are scheduled to open negotiations in Detroit today with a special ceremony at the Detroit’s Cass Technical High School.

Over the years, relations between Ford and the UAW have been relatively peaceful, compared to those at General Motors and the old Chrysler Group, which has morphed into FCA US. There hasn’t been a strike of any kind at Ford since 1976 and today Ford actually employs slightly more union members than GM. Over the years, Ford and the UAW has simplified and expanded the profit sharing plan for union.

Union News!

In addition, Ford managed to get an edge over its domestic rivals back in 2006 when it negotiated a sweeping reduction in work rules at plants in the U.S. GM and Chrysler wound up in bankruptcy before they got the same level of assistance from the union, which was concerned that both companies could disappear without the assistance of additional concessions. (more…)

Daimler Sales Q2 Earnings up 20 Percent

German company rides strong car sales to profitability.

by on Jul.23, 2015

Dieter Zetsche said strong sales from Mercedes-Benz helped to drive Q2 profitability for Daimler AG.

Daimler AG reported its sales increased by 19% to 37.5 billion euros in the second quarter, while earnings before interest and takes increased by 20% to 3.7 billion euros.

The company’s earnings before interest and taxes improved by a substantial 54% to 3.8 billion while net profit rose by 8% to 2.4 billion euros. Prior year’s second quarter’s net profit was positively affected from the remeasurement of the Tesla shares.

The Leader in Global Automotive News!

“We achieved the targeted margin for Mercedes-Benz Cars in the first half of the year. In all other automotive divisions, we are about to achieve our margin targets,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. (more…)

Special Blends Keeping Gas Prices High on West Coast

Oil drops toward $50 a barrel, but costs at pump don’t fall.

by on Jul.22, 2015

The national average for gas prices has remained steady due to West Coast refinery issues.

A growing controversy over specially blended gasoline used during the summer has helped put a floor under gasoline prices nationwide despite the continuing drop in the price of crude oil, which is now trading at prices approaching $50 per barrel.

The average price nationwide of $2.76 per gallon, according to AAA, is the lowest average for this date since 2010 and is down nearly a nickel per gallon compared to the 2015 peak price reached on June 15 if $2.80 per gallon. National pump prices have slowly pulled back from this peak with averages down by 1 cent per gallon versus one week ago and 4 cents per gallon versus one month ago.

Your Informed Source!

The relatively stable national average continues to disguise volatility in select markets, particularly in California where drivers are paying the highest averages since August 2014 after a jump of 16 cents per gallon, largely due to imbalances between gasoline supply and demand. (more…)

Cities Using GPS Apps to Ease Traffic Congestion, Parking

Boston teams with Waze to cut down on double-parking epidemic.

by on Jul.20, 2015

The City of Boston and Waze, the GPS app, are teaming to help eliminate double parking in the city.

Traffic and parking have become troublesome issues for motorists in many cities and the impact of these growing problems on buyers, particularly younger ones, is a rising concern for carmakers.

The issues are also attracting the attention of technology companies.

We Keep You Plugged In!

The city of Boston, in an effort to curb the problems created by double parking on the city’s narrow streets, has teamed up with Waze, an app-based GPS system that provides real-time traffic updates from users. (more…)

Gas Prices Remain Unchanged Nationally Despite Oil Drops

Supply issue raises prices in California while Great Lakes sees fall.

by on Jul.17, 2015

Gas prices in the U.S. have remained steady despite a drop in the cost of crude oil.

Despite new downward pressure on the price of crude oil on global markets, the price of gasoline remained unchanged across the U.S. and prices in California actually increased substantially, according to a survey by AAA.

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.77 per gallon this week. The average is just fractions of a penny more than a week ago and is at the lowest mark for this date in nearly five years.

Subscribe for Free!

The steady national average obscures price variations in several states including California, where prices increased by 28 cents per gallon, and the decline in prices around the Great Lakes as prices in Indiana and Michigan fell by more than 10 cents per gallon. (more…)

Magna Drops $1.9 Bil to Buy Getrag

Canadian supplier looks to dominate transmission segment.

by on Jul.17, 2015

Magna announced its plans to acquire transmission supplier Getrag for $1.9 billion.

Magna, the giant Canadian-based supplier, has agreed to acquire the Getrag Group, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive transmissions, in a deal valued at $1.9 billion, or 1.75 billion euros.

The transaction is expected to close near the end of 2015, subject to a number of conditions including obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals.

A Winning Deal!

Don Walker, Magna’s chief executive officer, said the acquisition bolsters the company’s overall product portfolio by adding one of the world’s largest suppliers of automatic transmissions to the Magna family. (more…)

FCA’s Marchionne Still Undecided about Wrangler Plant

CEO says next-gen ute will use aluminum extensively.

by on Jul.15, 2015

FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne is still undecided about keeping Jeep Wrangler production in Toledo.

The final decision on whether to revamp the Toledo factory that now builds the Jeep Wrangler or find another location still isn’t final yet, according to the FCA US’ top executive.

Sergio Marchionne, while turning aside questions about whether the decision of whether to keep the Wrangler production in Toledo is tied to the negotiations with the United Auto Workers, said he still has not ready to make a final decision on the next generation Wrangler. The replacement for the current generation Jeep Wrangler is due before the end of the decade, according to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles five-year plant unveiled in 2014.

News You Can Trust!

Marchionne did confirm during a question-and-answer session that followed the formal opening of contract negotiations with the UAW that the next generation Wrangler – now due out in 2018 – would have significant amount of aluminum. (more…)

Friendly FCA-UAW Handshake Masks Tough Task Ahead

Marchionne, Williams stake out negotiating positions.

by on Jul.14, 2015

FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams share an impromptu hug to kick off contract talks between the two parties.

A potentially contentious round of contract negotiations between the FCA U.S. and the United Auto Workers opened with a friendly ceremonial handshake and a hug between FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams. The pair then launched into a rundown of the key issues facing bargainers.

Williams said that the UAW would not back away from its goal of closing the gap between first- and second-tier workers of which Chrysler has more than any other automaker. “Base wages have stagnated,” Williams said, adding new employees hired in at entry rate feel like second-class citizens. Profit sharing has helped, he said.

Union News!

UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell said while the stakes are high with this round of talks, FCA U.S. has come a long way since the recession. (more…)