Posts Tagged ‘Michigan

12
Aug
10

Recovery still distant as GM turns a corner

NEWS
Recovery still distant as GM turns a corner
General Motors profits move past $1 billion

Thursday, August 12, 2010

••• General Motors said on Thursday its profits hit $1.3 billion in the second quarter, as the car company prepared to break free of U.S. government ownership by relisting on the stock exchange.

‘I am pleased with our progress on achieving our business objectives,’ said chief financial officer Chris Liddell, announcing the second consecutive quarter of growth.

The company erased a loss of $13 billion in the same period last year, as sales and revenues increased.

The firm saw stronger sales in North America in the quarter, even as sales in Europe floundered and market share around the world sank.

GM captured 15.4 percent of the U.S. market for cars versus 17.5 percent in the second quarter of last year, but elsewhere faired poorly.

GM’s executives have said that a public offering will come soon, a process that will help the U.S. government unwind its majority stake in the firm.

The U.S. Treasury Department still owns 61 percent of GM, which received $50 billion of U.S. government financing for its bankruptcy restructuring that led to mass layoffs, plant closures and billions of dollars in debt wiped out.

GM’s drive for an IPO will be boosted by news that the firm’s revenues swelled to $33 billion in the second quarter, a third more than the same period last year.

GM as well as its U.S. competitors Ford and Chrysler were hard hit by the recession which struck the United States in December 2007, caused by a home mortgage meltdown.

Of the so-called Detroit Three car makers, Ford was the only one to avoid bankruptcy, managing to stay afloat thanks to massive loans it had obtained prior to the credit crunch and because it moved more quickly to revitalise its product portfolio.
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31
Jul
10

Weekly Address: Good News on Autos, Obstruction on Small Business

NEWS
Weekly Address: Good News on Autos, Obstruction on Small Business
President Obama Hails Successes of the Restructuring of the Auto Industry, Calls on GOP Leaders to Stop Blocking Aid for Small Businesses

Saturday, July 31, 2010

In this week’s address, President Obama praised the successes of the auto industry restructuring. When his administration decided to invest in the American car companies, some said such a move was bound to fail. But since GM and Chrysler have emerged from bankruptcy, the auto industry has added 55,000 jobs – the strongest growth in 10 years – and for the first time since 2004, all three companies are operating at a profit. The President also called on Republican leaders in the Senate to stop blocking a vote on a bill helping small businesses. Even though this bill will help the recovery, and has been endorsed by groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, the Republican Senate leadership continues to hold it hostage to politics by denying an up-or-down vote on the bill.

Hello everyone. I’m speaking to you from the GM auto plant here in Detroit, Michigan, where a hopeful story is unfolding in a place that’s been one of the hardest hit in America.

In the twelve months before I took office, American auto companies lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Sales plunged 40 percent. Liquidation was a very real possibility. Years of papering over tough problems and failing to adapt to changing times – combined with a vicious economic crisis – brought an industry that’s been the symbol of our manufacturing might for a century to the brink of collapse.

We didn’t have many good options. On one hand, we could have continued the practice of handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to the auto industry with no real strings attached. On the other hand, we could have walked away and allowed two major auto companies to go out of business – which could have wiped out one million American jobs.

I refused to let that happen. So we came up with a third way. We said to the auto companies – if you’re willing to make the hard decisions necessary to adapt and compete in the 21st century, we’ll make a one-time investment in your future.

Of course, if some folks had their way, none of this would be happening at all. This plant might not exist. There were leaders of the “just say no” crowd in Washington who argued that standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure. One called it “the worst investment you could possibly make.” They said we should just walk away and let these jobs go.

Today, the men and women in this plant are proving these cynics wrong. Since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, our auto industry has added 55,000 jobs – the strongest period of job growth in more than ten years. For the first time since 2004, all three American automakers are operating at a profit. Sales have begun to rebound. And plants like this that wouldn’t have existed if all of us didn’t act are now operating maximum capacity.

What’s more, thanks to our investments, a lot of these auto companies are reinventing themselves to meet the demands of a new age. At this plant, they’re hard at work building the high-quality, fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow – cars like the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt that can run 40 miles before taking a sip of gasoline. Throughout Michigan, an advanced battery industry is taking root that will power clean electric cars – an industry that produced only 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries last year, but will now be able to produce as much as 40 percent in a little over five years. That’s real progress.

There’s no doubt that we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do before folks here and across the country can feel whole again. But what’s important is that we’re finally beginning to see some of the tough decisions we made pay off. And if we had listened to the cynics and the naysayers – if we had simply done what the politics of the moment required – none of this progress would have happened.

Still, even as these icons of American industry are being reborn, we also need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s small businessmen and women, as well – particularly since they’re the ones who create most of the new jobs in this country.

As we work to rebuild our economy, I can’t imagine anything more common-sense than giving additional tax breaks and badly-needed lending assistance to America’s small business owners so they can grow and hire. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Small Business Jobs Act – a bill that has been praised as being good for small businesses by groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. It’s a bill that includes provision after provision authored by both Democrats and Republicans. But yesterday, the Republican leaders in the Senate once again used parliamentary procedures to block it. Understand, a majority of Senators support the plan. It’s just that the Republican leaders in the Senate won’t even allow it to come up for a vote.

That isn’t right. And I’m calling on the Republican leaders in the Senate to stop holding America’s small businesses hostage to politics, and allow an up-or-down vote on this small business jobs bill.

At a time when America is just starting to move forward again, we can’t afford the do-nothing policies and partisan maneuvering that will only take us backward. I won’t stand here and pretend everything’s wonderful. I know that times are tough. But what I also know is that we’ve made it through tough times before. And we’ll make it through again. The men and women hard at work in this plant make me absolutely confident of that.

So to all the naysayers out there, I say this: Don’t ever bet against the American people. Because we don’t take the easy way out. That’s not how we deal with challenge. That’s not how we build this country into the greatest economic power the world has ever known. We did it by summoning the courage to persevere, and adapt, and push this country forward, inch by inch. That’s the spirit I see in this plant today, and as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I will keep fighting alongside you until we reach a better day.
Thanks.

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• Source(s): The White House
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30
Jul
10

President Obama in Detroit: The Fight for America’s Workers

NEWS
President Obama in Detroit: The Fight for America’s Workers
President Obama hails auto bailout as good news in Michigan

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today the President was in Detroit visiting workers at a Chrysler plant and a GM plant that have not only survived, but found success after critics looking to score political points claimed there was no hope for them. For those critics the President offered a lesson: “Don’t bet against the American worker.”

During the two years since the economy took its hard downward turn, millions of Americans have had to fight with everything they had to stay afloat, to keep food on the table, to keep their businesses in business – and nowhere has that been more true than in Detroit.

The President has also been fighting alongside America’s workers – from the Recovery Act that’s saved or created about 3 million jobs, to the fight today over small business lending – and of course for the workers in Detroit and across America who contribute to the decades-old craft of American cars. When political opponents said that helping the American auto industry survive was a lost cause, and tried to turn public frustration against the President, he stepped in and made the hard choices anyway. There couldn’t necessarily be a life raft for everybody, but he was not going to let a million American jobs fall by the wayside simply because it opened him up for cheap political attacks.
And as the report released yesterday made clear, that investment is paying off: “In the year before GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, the auto industry shed 334,000 jobs. In the year since, auto industry employment has increased by 55,000 jobs. This is the fastest year-over-year growth in auto employment since 1999.” Not only that, but with a boost from the Recovery Act’s investments in the clean energy economy, the industry has turned toward the future in ways many thought they never could. A quick look at the interactive map released yesterday gives a glimpse of how America can move back to the front of the pack in the coming generation of fuel efficient and electric vehicles.

In his visit to the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant, speaking to workers who have had to fight just to keep working, it was clear the President felt in a bit of a fighting mood himself:

The President: Investments like those mean jobs for American workers to do what they’ve always done: build great products and sell them around the world.

So the bottom line is this – we’ve got a long way to go, but we’re beginning to see some of these tough decisions pay off. We are moving forward.

I want you to remember, though, if some folks had their way, none of this would have been happening. I just want to point that out. Right? I mean this – this plant – this plant and your jobs might not exist. There were leaders of the “just say no” crowd in Washington – they were saying – oh, standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure. One of them called it “the worst investment you could possibly make.”

Audience: Boo!

The President: They said – they said we should just walk way and let those jobs go.

Audience: Boo!

The President: I wish they were standing here today. (Applause.) I wish they could see what I’m seeing in this plant and talk to the workers who are here taking pride in building a world-class vehicle. I don’t think they’d be willing to look you in the eye and say that you were a bad investment. They might just come around if they were standing here and admit that by standing by a great American industry and the good people who work for it, that we did the right thing. It’s hard for them to say that. You know, they like admitting when I do the right thing. (Laughter.) But they might have had to admit it. And I want all of you to know, I will bet on the American worker any day of the week! (Applause.)

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• Source(s): The White House
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07
Jun
10

Seven dead as tornadoes rip through Midwest

NEWS
Seven dead as tornadoes rip through Midwest

Monday, June 7, 2010

Earth

••• Tornados and thunderstorms swept through Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.

Dozens of homes were destroyed and a nuclear power plant had to be shut down.

The deaths happened in Ohio, where as many as seven tornadoes struck.

A five-year-old child was among those killed in the small town of Millbury, Ohio, local media reported.

Some 50 homes were also destroyed in a weekend of devastation.

The tornados and storms were not confined to Ohio, with 11 people injured in storms in Michigan and 17 hospitalised in Illinois.

Damage to a wall of a Michigan nuclear power plant prompted an automatic shutdown and the facility will remain closed until response crews assess the impact.

The high school in Lake Township was among the hardest-hit buildings.

Some buses were thrown across the school car park, Superintendent Jim Witt said.

Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer described the affected area as “like a war zone”.

He said a child was among the victims.

Mr. Hummer said later that the authorities had finished searching damaged buildings and he was not aware of anyone being reported missing, but fields and woods were still being searched.

In Michigan, the Fermi nuclear power plant on the shore of Lake Erie was shut down after high winds tore a side from one of the buildings.

Dan Smith, public information officer for Monroe County, said investigators were inspecting the plant and it was expected to go back into operation soon.

An eyewitness in Illinois said the city of Streator had been badly damaged.

“I saw people coming out of their homes right after the tornado hit; a second story of a house was taken off,” Eddie Lavallie told the Chicago Tribune.

Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford told a news conference that 17 people had been taken to a local hospital for treatment – and 30 buildings had “major structural damage”.
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• Source(s): News Corporation
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27
Apr
10

Ford Recalling 33,000 Vehicles Over Front Seat Defects

NEWS
Ford Recalling 33,000 Vehicles Over Front Seat Defects

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

••• Ford is recalling 33,256 cars to make their front seats comply with federal safety standards, according to a notice on the U.S. transportation department’s Office of Defects Investigation website.

Models affected include the 2010 Fusion (above), Explorer, Explorer SportTrac and Mercury Mountaineer and Milan vehicles made between Dec. 15, 2009, and Feb. 3, 2010, and equipped with manual front-seat recliners.

According to the safety agency, “The recliner gear plate teeth may be out of dimension specification, which could result in limited pawl to gear plate tooth engagement.”

“In the event of a crash,” the department said, “the seatback and head restraint may move rearward, increasing the risk of injury.”

A Ford spokesman told the Associated Press that no accidents or injuries have been reported due to the issue.

Dealers are expected to begin remedying the issue for free on or before April 30. If you own one of these cars and want additional information, Ford has a help line set up at 866-436-7332.

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16
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

NEWS
Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

Friday, April 16, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it was recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans sold in the United States to address potential rusting spare tire cables that could break and create a road hazard in the latest safety problem to strike the beleaguered automaker.

The recall came as House investigators said they planned to hold another congressional hearing in May to review potential electronic problems in runaway Toyotas. The Japanese automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals, humbling a car company long known for its quality and safety.

Company leaders vowed to respond quickly to the safety concerns.

Toyota said its latest recall covered the 1998-2010 model year Siennas with two-wheel-drive that have been sold or registered in 20 cold-climate states and the District of Columbia. Toyota said rust from road salt could cause the carrier cable that holds the spare tire to rust and break, allowing the tire to tumble into the road. The problem could threaten the safety of other drivers.

Toyota said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received six complaints of spare tires falling off Siennas.

The company said it was working on a fix for the problem. In the meantime, customers will receive a notice telling them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for an inspection.

• The recall involves Siennas in the District of Columbia and the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

“Toyota is listening to its customers attentively, and we want to make sure their voices are heard,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America.

St. Angelo said the company was providing free inspections of the spare tire carrier cable across the nation, including states not included in the recall. Owners can call (800) 331-4331 for more information about the recall.

Lawmakers remain focused on the spate of recalls affecting the company. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., a subcommittee chairman, said they plan to hold a May 6 hearing to look into potential electronic causes of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Toyota has said it has found no evidence of electronic problems, attributing the issues to sticking gas pedals and accelerators that can become jammed in floor mats.

Toyota said in a statement Friday it was “more than willing to meet with the committee and discuss the ongoing testing related to our electronic throttle control system, as well as the steps we are taking to improve our quality assurance processes. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive.”

The Transportation Department has fined the company $16.4 million for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles. Toyota has until Monday to agree to the penalty or contest it. The fine is the largest civil penalty ever issued to an automaker by the government.

Transportation officials have not ruled out additional fines. The department is reviewing whether Toyota delayed for six weeks the late January recall of the 2009-2010 Venza in the United States to address floor mats that could entrap the accelerator pedal after making a similar recall in Canada.

Toyota recalled the Venza in Canada in December and reported to the U.S. government on Dec. 16 that the floor mats could move forward while the vehicle is in use and “may interfere with the accelerator pedal.” Toyota told U.S. authorities at the time that the floor mats in question were not imported into the U.S. but the Venza was added to the floor mat recall in late January.

Automakers are required to notify the U.S. government within five business days when they find a potential safety defect.

Waxman and Stupak, meanwhile, have asked Toyota and outside consulting firm Exponent Inc. to provide documents detailing a review of possible electronic problems in its vehicles. Exponent, which was hired by Toyota, said in an interim report it could find no evidence that electronic malfunctions had caused sudden unintended acceleration.

Committee investigators said in February that the Exponent testing was flawed because it studied only a small number of Toyota vehicles and consumer groups have said electronics could be the cause of the acceleration problems. Reviews of some high-profile crashes in San Diego and suburban New York have failed to find either mechanical or electronic problems.

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27
Mar
10

GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

NEWS
GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

Saturday, March 27, 2010

••• General Motors is recalling about 5,000 heavy-duty vans because of a risk of engine fire, the company said Friday.

The vans involved in the recall are the 2010 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger and cargo vans. The company also is halting production and sales of the vehicles “until a fix for a suspected faulty alternator can be determined.”

GM spokesman Alan Adler said there have been no injuries or accidents reported in connection with the vans.

The company warned customers who purchased the vans, which were built in February and March, to stop driving them and park them outside away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

Relatively few of the recalled vans are in the possession of retail customers, with about 1,300 in rental and other fleets,the company said.

GM issued a stop sale order on Friday, preventing the fleet-owned vans from being rented or those on dealer lots from being sold. Others are being held at dealerships or in ports before being exported.

Only the 2500, three-quarter ton, and 3500, one-ton, Series vans are affected. Light-duty (half-ton) Express and Savana vans use a different alternator.

It is rare for an automaker to halt sales because of a safety defect. GM’s decision to stop sales of the vans comes two months after Toyota Motor Corp. halted sales of eight models because of faulty accelerator pedals.

▪ Vehicles affected are the Chevrolet Express 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1129327 to A1142523.

▪ Also, the GMC Savana 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1128784 to A1901915.

▪ About 1,400 AC Delco aftermarket parts also are affected by the recall. The affected part numbers are: 15200110; 15288861; 15263859 and 15847291. Customers who had a heavy duty alternator replaced in February or March in a 2005-2010 heavy-duty Express or Savana van or other 2005-2009 GM truck or SUV also are being urged to check their repair order receipts to determine if a suspect part was involved. If it was, or the part used is unknown, they are urged to stop driving their vehicles, park them away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

These owners also are asked to contact their Customer Assistance Center to provide their contact information, so we can follow up with them when more information is available. ▪ www.gm.com

• Source(s): General Motors

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