Category: Business - Original Written by Curbed Detroit
Behold! The first tangible evidence that the M1 Rail project is real. These construction workers, spotted late last night at the intersection of Woodward and Congress, aren't laying track or installing station platforms. They were, however, working on the streetcar's heavy-duty utility systems, which need to be installed prior to laying track. This intersection will be the location of M1's southernmost stop. Continue to Curbed Detroit...
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:31
Category: Business - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Ram 1500 Outclasses Competition with the Fuel Economy, Torque, Style and Amenities to Satisfy the Most Demanding Truck Buyers
Motor Trend has selected the Ram 1500 as its 2014 Truck of the Year®.
The announcement was made at the Chrysler Group LLC Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan, the birthplace of Ram Trucks. A full report on Motor Trend’s comprehensive Truck of the Year testing will be featured on MotorTrend.com and in the February 2014 issue of Motor Trend.
Nine Truck of the Year contenders were put through an extensive battery of testing designed to evaluate virtually every aspect of each vehicle. In addition to the 2014 Ram 1500, the judges examined other all-new or significantly updated trucks the industry produced this year: the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram Heavy Duty, and Toyota Tundra pickups; and the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV200, and Ram ProMaster vans.
To determine which truck deserved top honors, the Motor Trend judges took the nine contenders to the Continental Tire Automotive Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. There, the judges tested each truck’s performance with the following exercises:
1. Standard testing (without load): 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip.
2. Limit handling (without load): closed-course cornering, braking and acceleration.
3. Tow/payload testing: 0-60 acceleration repeated with trailers attached (pickups) or payload secured (vans), loaded to 75 percent of each truck’s maximum rating (as equipped)
4. Road looping: Highway and real-world replication.
At Continental’s 5,000-acre proving grounds, the team utilized the facility’s 8.5-mile high-speed oval, 15-acre dynamics pad, 1.1-mile dry-handling road course, and multi-surfaced ride road to evaluate each truck’s capabilities and expose strengths and weaknesses. Following the team’s intensive, weeklong evaluation in Uvalde, the trucks were shipped to Motor Trend headquarters in El Segundo, California, to undergo proprietary “Intellichoice Real MPG” fuel-economy testing. Using advanced technology including a weather station, GPS data-logger, and flow-rate and gas analyzers, Real MPG measures exhaust samples every second during an 88-mile drive to record accurate real-world fuel economy.
Once testing was completed, the judges convened to determine which truck would be crowned Truck of the Year. The winner is not chosen from a direct comparison against the other contenders, but rather as a result of how each contender measured up against the award’s six criteria: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance of Intended Function.
With the votes cast, the Ram 1500 clearly emerged as Motor Trend’s 2014 Truck of the Year. The judges were particularly impressed with the performance of the Ram 1500’s all-new EcoDiesel V-6 engine as well as its eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission, a combination that boasts a towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds. Further, Motor Trend’s Real MPG testing supported what the team learned in Uvalde: None of the gas-powered half-ton trucks in this year’s competition – be they V-6 or V-8, 4x2 or 4x4 – could match the EcoDiesel’s mileage. After delivering observed fuel economy of 15 mpg under extreme testing at Continental’s proving grounds, the EcoDiesel continued to impress during the Real MPG test loop, returning the following frugal stats: 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined for the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 with a 3.92 rear axle and an even more notable 18/28/22 for the Lone Star Crew Cab 4x2 with a 3.55 rear axle.
The Ram’s optional air suspension system also scored high marks in Engineering Excellence, as it delivered a compliant ride and commendable handling no matter the terrain. In terms of design, the Ram 1500 impressed with its style, packaging, and interior ergonomics; notably, the Laramie Longhorn’s luxury aesthetics and real wood trim. The breadth of the lineup was another compelling factor. Whether outfitted as a basic workhorse or optioned up to a near-luxury hauler, the Ram 1500 provides all of the capability needed in a truck.
“For 2014 we had a large and highly competitive field of contenders for Motor Trend's Truck of the Year," said Edward Loh, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "At the end of the day, though, the Ram 1500 quickly rose to the top. Not only did it withstand our rigorous testing, it thoroughly impressed our judges with its vast array of standard and optional equipment, and, most notable, its fuel-efficient, segment-exclusive EcoDiesel V-6. With 420 lb-ft of torque and up to 28 ‘Real MPG’ highway, the EcoDiesel is a true game-changer. In fact it helped make Ram 1500 the Motor Trend 2014 Truck of the Year – and the only consecutive winner in the history of the award.”
"Half-ton truck customers have been asking for a diesel engine and Ram is the only truck manufacturer to answer the bell and deliver not only best-in-class fuel economy but also 9,200 pounds of towing capability," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "In a brutally competitive truck industry, the Ram 1500 is the only vehicle to ever win the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award two years in a row, reaffirming the fact that we have the best truck on the road."
Truck of the Year® is one of several coveted honors Motor Trend bestows on automakers, including Best Driver’s Car®, Sport/Utility of the Year®, and Car of the Year®. For more information on our 2014 Truck of the Year, visit motortrend.com, pick up the February 2014 issue of Motor Trend, or search the hashtags #MTTOTY on Twitter (@motortrend), Instagram (@motortrend), Facebook.com/motortrendmag and Google+ (plus.google.com/+motortrend).
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:27
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Delta Service Through Detroit Foundation, Inc., a non-profit serving metro Detroit, will open Twice Nice — an upscale resale shop — this month in Southfield. It will open for business at 8 a.m. on Black Friday, Nov. 29, at 26205 Greenfield Road, between 10 and 11 Mile Roads, just north of Lincoln. Profits will benefit community organizations through grants, as well as the public service programming of the foundation, in partnership with the Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
“This project provides a sustainable revenue source for the foundation, allowing us to continue to provide help to those in need in the Detroit metro area,” said DSTDFI President Jessye V. Franklin. “We have some fabulous items already and we’re looking for more.”
Startup monies for the venture were raised through foundation fundraisers, the pilot shop on ebay, and by DSTDFI board member contributions. The charitable fundraising business model also earned the support of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, which granted DSTDFI an Angel Micro Loan at the maximum level which is $35,000.
The upscale resale store will sell donated new and gently used clothes, accessories, furniture and other fashionable and home goods, and will be staffed predominately by volunteers. All items will be affordably priced and there’s something for everyone in the “Nice,” “Very Nice” and “Extremely Nice, Individually Priced” color-coded pricing structure. Holiday shopping hours are Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Twice Nice project gives back to the community in more ways than one. The programming aspect of the venture is a long-term goal for a workforce development component — the opportunity to train metro Detroiters who desire a career in retail and/or retail management. DSTDFI will partner with a big box retailer to serve as an employee pipeline. Working for the nonprofit will also be an excellent opportunity for high school students to earn the community service hours that are required for their high school graduation.
Profits from Twice Nice will be reinvested in the community through direct grants to community-based nonprofits and through service projects. Funds will also support programming delivered by the Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
￼“This resale shop is unique,” said Mardi L. Woods, chair of the resale committee for the foundation. “Not only will it support access to goods in a clean, organized and accessible location, but the foundation will offer grants to other nonprofits that are doing work that responds directly to community need.”
The foundation is accepting donations of new and gently used goods on a continuing basis. For additional information, visit the website at www.twiceNICEresale.org or visit on Facebook.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:00
Chrysler Group LLC Reports November 2013 U.S. Sales Increased 16 Percent; Best November Sales Since 2007
Category: Business - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Chrysler Group LLC today reported U.S. sales of 142,275 units, a 16 percent increase compared with sales in November 2012 (122,565 units), and the group’s best November sales since 2007.
The Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Ram Truck brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in November compared with the same month a year ago. The Jeep brand’s 30 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand during the month. Chrysler Group extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 44-consecutive months in November.
“Our all-new Jeep Cherokee is off to a terrific start with more than 10,169 units sold in its first full month on sale,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Our launch emphasis on Jeep Cherokee quality is now being rewarded with brisk sales and helping Chrysler Group achieve our 44th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth.”
In its first full month of sales, the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV recorded sales of 10,169 units. The addition of the Cherokee to the product lineup helped the Jeep brand attain its best November sales ever. In addition, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass each posted year-over-year sales gains in November, led by the 31 percent increase in Compass sales.
Four Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records during the month of November. The Wrangler, Patriot, Dodge Dart, and Ram Cargo Van each recorded their best November sales ever. The Dart compact car achieved its record with a 44 percent year-over-year sales gain.
Chrysler Group finished the month with a 91 days supply of inventory (500,536 units). U.S. industry sales figures for November are internally projected at an estimated 16.3 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:22
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Detroit based Quicken Loans Inc., previously Rock Financial Corp., was founded by Dan Gilbert in 1985. Initially a branch-based lender, the company launched Rockloans.com in January 1999, which quickly positioned the company as one of the fastest growing online direct mortgage lenders on the Internet.
In December 1999, Intuit Inc. (makers of market-leading software Quicken, TurboTax and QuickBooks) purchased Rock Financial. The company was renamed Quicken Loans. In August 2002, Gilbert led a small group of private investors in purchasing the Quicken Loans Inc. subsidiary back from Intuit. Quicken Loans has been privately held since. Fortunately, the company retained all Quicken Loans branding and marketing initiatives.
During the turmoil in the mortgage industry in 2008 and 2009, Quicken Loans was able to grow its market share significantly, due in large part to the company’s past refusal to originate subprime mortgages.
In August 2010, Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and 1,700 full-time team members to downtown Detroit and Dan Gilbert coined the name “WEBward Avenue” to illustrate the movement toward a brain-based economy that is currently taking hold in Detroit as more tech-based companies move to Detroit along with Quicken Loans.
The company later moved an additional 2,000 team members to Detroit. Later that year the company completed the move of all its Michigan-based team members to the city. Today, more than 8,000 team members call Detroit home.
Quicken Loans ended out 2011 with a company record of $30 billion in closed loan volume. In June 2012, Quicken Loans partnered with other Detroit businesses to create “IT in the D,” a program to give local university students real-world experience to prepare them for tech jobs in Detroit.
Quicken Loans closed $70 billion in residential mortgages in 2012, beating the previous record set in 2011 by more than 133 percent. The organization also significantly entered the mortgage servicing business, announcing it had built an $80 billion – and growing – servicing portfolio as of the end of calendar year 2012.
In March, Quicken Loans announced its purchase of $34 billion in mortgage servicing rights from Ally Bank, expanding its servicing portfolio to exceed $125 billion.
According to quicken loans founder Dan Gilbert, culture is the single most important aspect of a company’s success. Culture frames expectations, deconstructs bureaucracy and sets the tone for everything that an organization is today, and has the potential to achieve in the future. Understanding and incorporating that fundamental idea has ranked Quicken among the top-30 companies on Fortune magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 10 consecutive years.
Gilbert knew the role culture would play in the company’s success, and it is something the company leadership has spent a lot of time focusing on ever since. Every team member — and the term team member is used intentionally — is valued and Quicken Loans recognizes diverse backgrounds, experiences and talents build stronger and more effective teams. Beyond the diverse and inclusive work environment, the over the final by-product of culture is success. This is reflected in the company’s rapid growth and expanding steak in lending market.
Community service is embedded in the Quicken Loans company credo, as each full- time team member is given eight hours of paid time off each year to volunteer in the community. It is essential for Quicken Loans and the additional family of companies to make a difference in their surrounding communities.
During a special blitz weekend in early August, as part of the broader ARISE Detroit! Neighborhood’s Day effort, more than 1,200 Quicken Loans team members volunteered, – the company’s largest volunteer event to date.
Quicken Loans also partnered with Life Remodeled, Handy Man Ministries and local Detroiters to help transform nearly 50 blocks in Detroit’s North End neighborhood into a clean, safe and livable area.
Year in review…
‘Opportunity Detroit’ public Wi-Fi launches in Campus Martius, Cadlliac Square the lobbies of the First National, 1001 Woodward and Chase Tower buildings.
Rock Ventures adds 1505 Woodward and 1265 Griswold to its downtown Detroit real estate portfolio.
Bedrock Real Estate Services and fine-art gallery Library Street Collective announce the launch of a dynamic art project that will make “the Z” parking structure and retail development a uniquely exciting experience for downtown visitors.
Dan Gilbert is named as a co-chair of the Blight Revitalization Task Force by The Obama Administration.
Quicken Loans partners with the Neighborhood Service Organization to fight homelessness’ in Detroit, contributing $350,000 for permanent supportive housing for homeless adults in Detroit.
The first 15 police cruisers and 10 EMS units, paid for by a pledge from the business community (including Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans), are delivered to the Detroit Police Department.
As part of ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, more than 1,200 Quicken Loans team members clean up Detroit neighborhoods by painting, removing debris, doing yard work and more.
The second annual Live Downtown Games kicks off with a week-long friendly competition between Quicken Loans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware, DTE Energy, Marketing Associates and Strategic Staffing Solutions. The competition recognizes the five-year, $4 million Live Downtown Program created to incentivize team members to live in the city in Detroit.
Rock Ventures acquires 1238 Randolph Street, the former Serman’s building in the historic Greektown neighborhood
The 620 and 630 Woodward buildings are acquired by Rock Ventures.
Opportunity Detroit sponsors an international design ideas competition to develop a signature project on the historic Hudson’s Department Store site.
Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies hires 1,200 paid summer interns to spend the summer living, working and playing in Detroit.
Rock Gaming affiliate, Athens Acquisition LLC, acquires a majority interest in downtown Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel with a vision to enhance and grow the existing entertainment district and continue the positive momentum already occurring in the heart of downtown Detroit.
Rock Ventures acquires the 23-story 1001 Woodward office tower, located in the heart of Detroit’s emerging tech district.
Rock Ventures acquires the historic 12-story Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building.
Rock Ventures signs master lease agreements with the Schostak Brothers and Farbman Group to manage more than 60,000 square feet of first floor retail along the Woodward Corridor in downtown Detroit.
Rock Ventures announces popular grocer Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market and Catering will occupy 15,000 square feet of space in the First National Building, steps from Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit.
Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans joins with Penske, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Platinum Equity, Shinola and the Kresge Foundation to announce an $8 million pledge to replace 100 police cruisers and 23 EMS units in the city of Detroit.
The Roasting Plant, a unique and innovative coffee shop, opens in the Rock Ventures-owned First National Building.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 16:49
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