Tracy Samilton en Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention General Motors has announced a big hit to first-quarter earnings, largely due to costs for recalls. Profits dropped nearly 90 percent from last year, with the company making a razor-thin profit of $100 million, GM said Thursday.<p>Meanwhile, GM has yet to explain why it took 10 years to issue one of the recalls for a defective ignition switch. Some critics believe the automaker's dysfunctional culture is to blame.<p>But the recall crisis could speed up a culture shift that's already underway. <p><strong>Customer-Focused</strong><p>The old GM may have taken customers for granted. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:16:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 58704 at Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention After Nearly Six Decades In Office, Dingell Decides Not To Run John Dingell of Michigan, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, announced he won't run in 2014. As Tracy Samilton reports, Dingell's state will lose more than an icon when he retires. Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:34:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 56049 at All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan <p></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 22:17:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 53259 at All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan GM's New CEO Marks A Return To Tradition Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And here's even bigger news from General Motors, it has chosen a woman as its next chief executive officer, a first in America's auto industry. She's an engineer at the company insider - which could be a lot more important to GM's future than her gender.<p>Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Mary Barra follows in the wake of two CEOs from outside the auto industry. Dan Akerson ran a large private equity fund before taking the helm of GM. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:19:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 53011 at Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.<p>Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.<p>"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."<p>Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.<p>On Thursday, Ford Motor Co. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 08:06:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 52700 at Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream Museum Raises Money To Save 'Rosie The Riveter' Plant Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Rosie the Riveter, with one of the most famous clenched fists in American history, embodied the message of hardworking women during World War II: We Can Do It. Now a nonprofit is hoping to carry on that legacy. In a little more than a month, the historic Michigan factory where Rosie and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers could face the wrecking ball. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 09:27:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 48902 at Ford Lowers Mileage Rating On C-Max Hybrid Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>NPR's business news starts with an EPA crackdown.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>GREENE: Ford Motor Company will reduce the fuel economy sticker on its new C-Max hybrid to 43 miles per gallon, down from its earlier estimate of 47.<p>As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the change has generated a new review of fuel economy testing standards.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Ford wants to be a fuel economy leader, rivaling Toyota. Its ads for the C-Max compared its fuel economy favorably to the Prius. Fri, 16 Aug 2013 09:27:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 48705 at Museum Tries To Save The Plant Where Rosie Riveted The historic Michigan factory where the iconic Rosie the Riveter and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers during World War II could face the wrecking ball two months from now.<p>A modest nonprofit is trying to raise enough money to salvage some of the massive plant, which Ford sold to General Motors after the war. The Yankee Air Museum figures the factory is the perfect place to start anew, after a devastating fire destroyed its collections in 2004.<p>The huge hangar doors on the old Willow Run assembly plant are majestic in proportion. Sun, 04 Aug 2013 18:10:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 48121 at Museum Tries To Save The Plant Where Rosie Riveted At Henry Ford's 150th Birthday Party Transcript <p>SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST: <p>Amid all the gloom in Detroit, some people were celebrating this weekend. It's the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. There was a big party at the Ford Stage in Dearborn, and people gathered there to remember the inventor who, by the way, was known for his passion for folk dance. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton sent us this audio postcard.<p>UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The dance we'd like to show you is the schottische. It's a one-two-three-hop, four-five-six-hop. Sun, 28 Jul 2013 11:07:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 47788 at Study To Test 'Talking' Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers <p></p> Tue, 21 Aug 2012 21:50:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 31668 at Study To Test 'Talking' Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers Ford's Little Engine That Could Challenge Hybrids Ford Motor Co. intends to prove that good things come in small packages — really small packages. The company has taken engine downsizing to a new level with its new three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which has been introduced in Europe and is set to hit the U.S. market next year.<p>The EcoBoost offers more power than many conventional four-cylinder engines, with fuel economy numbers a hybrid could envy. Tue, 24 Jul 2012 23:43:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 30103 at Ford's Little Engine That Could Challenge Hybrids GM Retirees Face Friday Pension Deadline Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>You've got to escape from your Escape.<p>Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. Fri, 20 Jul 2012 08:39:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 29879 at New Schedules Push Graveyard Shift Off The Clock As car companies struggle to meet growing demand, the third shift is making a comeback. But many factories running on three shifts are doing it differently from in the past. And that new "three crew" shift pattern could make what's normally a hard job even harder.<p>At Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, employees work 10-hour shifts four days a week. The so-called A crew gets days, while the B crew gets afternoons. But the C crew shift rotates its start time every week. On Fridays and Saturdays, workers start at 6:00 a.m. Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:44:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 28073 at New Schedules Push Graveyard Shift Off The Clock Hear That? Annoying Hum Has Canada Making Noise Thousands of people in Windsor, Ontario, say they are being invaded by an obnoxious noise emanating from outside Detroit. They call it the "Windsor Hum," and it's really two sounds — a deep, very low-frequency hum, like a diesel truck idling in your driveway, and a deep, vibrating pulse that you feel more than you hear.<p>Roy Norton, Detroit's Canadian consul general, says the noise is coming from the man-made Zug Island, which sits in the Detroit River. The noise apparently began when U.S. Thu, 10 May 2012 19:20:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 26264 at Rough Patches Behind It, Toyota Tries To Accelerate Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.<p>The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:01:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 25061 at Rough Patches Behind It, Toyota Tries To Accelerate U.S. Automakers Aim To Eliminate Lemons Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Well, from a classic American company to a classic industry. It turns out automobiles are improving, so much so in fact, that the U.S. seems to be entering a golden age of vehicle quality and reliability.<p>Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has this story about the demise of the lemon.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)<p>UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Please step into the door.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: But before you step into the door, you slip blue booties over your shoes. This lab inside the Jefferson North Assembly Plant has to be kept pristine. Inside, everything is perfect. Tue, 03 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 24294 at Car Guru: Stop Downshift In Manual Transmissions Seventy years ago, 70 percent of U.S.-made cars came with a stick shift. The number is less than 9 percent today.<p>But at least one man is on a quest to reverse that slide.<p>Eddie Alterman loves automobiles. He's a gear head. He's the top editor at <em>Car and Driver</em> magazine. His whole career, he has watched the sales of cars with stick shifts decline. And when Ferrari failed to offer a manual option for the new 458 Italia, he said, enough's enough. <em>Basta.</em><p>Alterman is making converts one by one. Mon, 26 Mar 2012 16:30:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 23863 at Car Guru: Stop Downshift In Manual Transmissions Auto Parts Suppliers Hiring As Fast As They Can <a href="">Part of a series</a><p>Detroit automakers are creating thousands of new jobs amid a sales boom. And as they expand, their suppliers are racing to keep up, adding tens of thousands of new jobs.<p>At Bridgewater Interiors in Warren, Mich., for example, the pace is intense. Hundreds of union employees scurry to fill a growing list of orders. Wed, 14 Mar 2012 04:01:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 23132 at Auto Parts Suppliers Hiring As Fast As They Can Auto Bailout Is Hot-Button Issue In Michigan Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>General Motors made a record-breaking profit last year. And to date, taxpayers have recovered close to half the $50 billion federal investment in the company. So the auto bailout worked, right? Wrong, say Republican presidential candidates, who insist the bailout was a huge mistake.<p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Today, Bruce Hadden's looking forward to cashing a $7,000 bonus check from General Motors. Let's flash back, though, to late 2008. GM was broke. Mon, 27 Feb 2012 09:00:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 22148 at Luxury Tractor Makes Debut At Detroit Auto Show At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, it's clear that the industry's love affair with alpha-numeric designations hasn't waned. There's the ATS, the 700C, the MKZ. Now comes the CTX, a new line of Craftsman riding lawn mowers. They are fast, powerful and loaded with amenities.<p>"Everybody knows that Detroit's the national stage for cars — Motor City is where autos come from. So this show made perfect sense to come here and launch the tractor," says Onney Crawley, Craftsman's director of brand management for lawn and garden.<p>Like cars, the CTX has automatic traction control. Thu, 12 Jan 2012 05:01:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 19611 at Luxury Tractor Makes Debut At Detroit Auto Show Cadillac Gears Up To Take On German Automakers This year's auto show in Detroit could set the stage for a shake-up in the fiercely competitive — and hugely profitable — luxury car scene. That's because there's a new kid on the block, and its name is Cadillac.<p>The General Motors company says its new small, high-performance ATS will allow it to compete for the first time with Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Wed, 11 Jan 2012 22:03:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 19596 at Cadillac Gears Up To Take On German Automakers Fiat's First Year Back In The U.S. Marred By Missteps <p></p> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 05:01:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 19103 at Fiat's First Year Back In The U.S. Marred By Missteps China Slaps Tariffs On Large U.S.-Made Cars, SUVs Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And let's turn now to the latest volley in the ongoing tariff war. American politicians have vowed to fight new Chinese tariffs on U.S. made cars and SUVs. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has more.<p>TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: In 2010, the U.S. won a Chinese tire-dumping complaint before the World Trade Organization. Then China complained about U.S. poultry dumping. The U.S. said China subsidizes solar panels. Now the fight's over cars. Thu, 15 Dec 2011 09:15:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 18041 at Ford, Toyota To Collaborate On Hybrid Truck Ford and Toyota have announced they are collaborating on a hybrid truck. The two companies say they hope their truck combines performance and affordability. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has details. Tue, 23 Aug 2011 08:00:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 11039 at As Rivals Unveil Hybrids, Toyota Boosts Prius The Prius, Toyota's flagship green vehicle, is facing some stiff competition from other automakers launching their own hybrids, so Toyota is responding by making the Prius its own brand.<p>Lauren Squires, a resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., has heard all the stereotypes about Prius owners, and she's not a bit defensive about it.<p>"I don't own Birkenstocks anymore," she says, though she used to. "I do make my own granola."<p>Squires bought her Prius in 2007, a year Toyota sold more than 181,000 Priuses in the U.S. Thu, 23 Jun 2011 04:01:00 +0000 Tracy Samilton 7214 at