Cars

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Forty years ago, Lansing said goodbye to a proud piece of its civic identity. In May 1975, the Diamond REO truck factory on Washington Avenue closed its doors, ending seven decades of Oldsmobile production in Lansing. Today, just one of those original buildings remains, and it will soon be adorned with a work of art celebrating the Oldsmobile era. It’s a mural, and when it’s finished, it will measure 56 feet long by 28 feet high.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

All this week, we’ve been taking you to the Detroit Auto Show to see what’s new, what’s groundbreaking, and what’s just plain fun. On the main floor of the auto show, you can see a massive 3D printer, and it’s printing a car. And if you venture to Hall E in the Cobo Center, you can see the finished product.

Current State's Scott Pohl talks with Lee Herge, Chief Operating Officer of the Chandler, Arizona based Local Motors.

Mark Bashore/WKAR

The Detroit Auto show is in full swing in downtown Detroit. Two very different automakers are grabbing a lot of the electric vehicle attention at the Cobo Center this week. Current State's Peter Whorf has the latest on the electric cars on display at the North American International Auto Show through Sunday.

WKAR/Peter Whorf

What’s made in Poland and is named after the Spanish word for waterfall? It’s the newest convertible from Buick, the Cascada, unveiled this week at the Detroit Auto Show. The North American International Auto Show is in full swing at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week. Current  State will bring you all the latest these next few days in our NAIAS series.

WKAR/Peter Whorf

More than one auto writer has taken to calling the Big 3 automakers “truck companies that also make cars”. Trucks and SUVs have become the most successful categories for automakers in recent years, particularly for General Motors and Ford.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Car buffs are revving up for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. More than 800,000 people attended the show at the Cobo Center last January.

New contract bargaining between the United Auto Workers union and American automakers is scheduled for next year. Recently, we’ve been getting a clearer picture of the union’s priorities. UAW President Dennis Williams has indicated members want to eliminate a recently introduced  feature of the autoworker landscape:  “two-tier” wages and benefits.

Do car companies perpetuate stereotypes in their ads?

Oct 22, 2013

Jalopnik's Aaron Foley singles out this ad for the Toyota Prius as an example of the auto industry's stereotypical marketing to minorities. 

Target marketing is nothing new. From their cleaning products to fast food to pick-up trucks, companies have been directing their advertising at certain segments of the population for ages. But when does target marketing cross the line from just good commerce into perpetuating stereotypes about certain groups in our society?

Aaron Foley, a Detroit-based writer for Jalopnik – Gawker Media’s popular blog on cars – had a post on the subject last Friday in which he wrote,  “As a minority, it’s borderline insulting that automakers are over-thinking this.”  He says that the auto manufacturers are particularly egregious offenders of using stereotypes to market their products to minorities. He joins us to elaborate.  

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Michigan State University researchers are getting attention with a proposed remedy for urban blight. For some years, the city of Lansing and Lansing Township have struggled with abandoned auto plants.  

 

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

In 2010, the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) established its Plug-in Electric Vehicle Community Project. With funding from the U.S. department of Energy, the BWL installed an array of electric vehicle charging stations across the Lansing area to promote this emerging technology.  Now, the utility is taking another step towards building an electric car infrastructure.  

Oldsmobile through the decades

Apr 4, 2013
Joe Ross via Flicker

   The R.E. Olds transportation museum houses a diverse collection of Oldsmobiles dating from 1897 to 2004.

It also includes a wide array of auto and industrial history covering about  a century, including a nearly complete collection of Michigan license plates, early traffic signs and a working 1950s-era traffic signal.

Bill Adcock is the Executive Director of the RE Olds Transportation Museum.  He recently joined WKAR’s Peter Whorf for a tour of the museum.