Tracy Samilton

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.

Tracy graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. Before beginning her journalism career, she spent time working as a legal assistant at various firms in the Ann Arbor area.

Business
3:16 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention

General Motors has yet to explain why it took 10 years to recall a faulty ignition switch. Some blame the culture. GM says it's working on that.
Uli Deck DPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

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.

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.

But the recall crisis could speed up a culture shift that's already underway. 

Customer-Focused

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Politics
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

After Nearly Six Decades In Office, Dingell Decides Not To Run

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

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.

Business
2:59 am
Tue February 4, 2014

VW Chattanooga Plant To Vote On UAW Membership

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Next week, workers at a Chattanooga auto plant run by Volkswagen will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. This is the first attempt in 13 years to unionize a plant that is not run by one of the big three Detroit automakers.

As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, Volkswagen has given the drive its blessing, so outside groups are stepping in to fight the union.

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Business
2:43 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Product Launches Expected To Drag Ford's 2014 Profits Down

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 10:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a strong finish.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Ford Motor Company closed the books on 2013 with higher than expected profits. The Detroit automaker's net earnings for the year surpassed $7 billion.

But as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, Ford is warning that 2014 will be more challenging.

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Around the Nation
3:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan

The Pere Marquette 1225 rolls into view in Owosso, Mich. It's been a local favorite for decades and especially gained popularity after inspiring the look and sounds of the train in a 2004 film.
James DeVleeschouwer Jr. Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 4:12 pm

Every sight and sound of the magical Christmas train in the 2004 film The Polar Express is based on a real-life steam locomotive. The Pere Marquette 1225 has its own Christmas story to tell — and it involves a very close call with the scrapyard.

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Business
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

GM's New CEO Marks A Return To Tradition

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

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. Before him, it was Ed Whitaker - a telecommunications guy.

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Business
1:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Around The World, Ford's Mustang Fuels A Dream

If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:46 am

Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.

Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.

"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."

Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.

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Business
3:53 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Oil Industry And Others Cheer EPA's Ethanol Proposal

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

The EPA's decision not to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15, had a big impact on a lot of businesses. For manufacturers of motorcycles, motor boats and outdoor power equipment, it was good news. But for gas station owners who invested in expensive blender pumps, the decision hurt.

Around the Nation
3:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Museum Raises Money To Save 'Rosie The Riveter' Plant

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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. That's unless the Yankee Air Museum can raise enough money to salvage part of that massive plant.

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Business
3:27 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Ford Lowers Mileage Rating On C-Max Hybrid

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 3:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an EPA crackdown.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the change has generated a new review of fuel economy testing standards.

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Environment
3:11 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

EPA To Crack Down On Accuracy Of MPG Claims By Car Makers

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 3:43 pm

For auto companies, that Environmental Protection Agency-approved MPG sticker on a new car is a high stakes and expensive process. These days it can be damaging to a company's image if customers can't achieve that great fuel economy in their own commutes.

History
12:10 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Museum Tries To Save The Plant Where Rosie Riveted

The former Willow Run Assembly Plant, in Ypsilanti Township about 40 miles west of Detroit, is where Rosie the Riveter worked during World War II.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 4:38 pm

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.

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.

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Business
3:39 am
Tue July 30, 2013

BMW's Electric Car Cut From A Different Cloth

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 5:46 am

BMW has finally unveiled its electric car. When you think of the parts and engineering, you'll get that it's a BMW, but when it comes to the looks ... not so much, one auto analyst says.

News
5:07 am
Sun July 28, 2013

At Henry Ford's 150th Birthday Party

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 10:31 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

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.

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Business
1:23 am
Mon April 1, 2013

EPA's Push For More Ethanol Could Be Too Little, Too Late

A decal advertising E85 ethanol is displayed on a pump at a gas station in Johnston, Iowa.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 6:50 am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could soon issue a final ruling that aims to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15.

This move could come just as widespread support for ethanol, which is made from corn, appears to be eroding.

Mike Mitchell was once a true believer in ethanol as a homegrown solution to foreign oil imports. He owns gas stations, and he went further than most, installing expensive blender pumps that let customers choose E15, E20 and all the way up to E85.

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Business
3:33 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Profit-Sharing Checks Replace Autoworkers Raises

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Ford Motor Company also announced its earnings yesterday, saying it had a pre-tax profit of $8 billion for 2012. And that gives union employees a reason to celebrate. They will each get a profit sharing check of $8,300 - a record high amount.

There's also some good news coming for General Motors workers, as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

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Business
2:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Toyota Regains No. 1 Sales Position

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 4:43 am

After careening from back-to-back crises — recalls and the tsunami — Toyota is No. 1 in worldwide sales again. Toyota says it sold at least 9.7 million vehicles in 2012. General Motors reports it sold 9.3 million. Both companies say it doesn't really matter which one is in the top spot.

Business
2:25 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Ford To Try Bringing Luxury Back To Lincoln

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

Ford Motor Company is changing the name of it Lincoln brand to the Lincoln Motor Company. Ford is also planning to sell the hybrid version of their flagship sedan, the new MKZ, for the same price as the gasoline version.

Business
3:10 am
Thu November 1, 2012

GM Quarterly Earnings Exceed Expectations

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 4:41 am

Even facing economic headwinds in Europe and South America, GM's quarterly earnings came in well above analysts' estimates, and its stock soared.