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Second degree murder charges for man accused of shooting Detroit teenager

A suburban Detroit homeowner has been charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and the possession of a firearm in the November 2nd shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.

Former Detroit mayor sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption

Controversy-ridden former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison for racketeering and conspiracy in a US federal court on Thursday, a surprising end for the formerly popular politician.

7 unthinkable urban comebacks to inspire Detroit

Buck up, Motown. From Juarez to Mogadishu to London, anything's possible. See these lessons from around the world.

Chatter: Detroit goes bust

Detroit becomes the biggest municipal bankruptcy in US history, there's a war of images over the Boston bomb suspect, Russia's Alexei Navalny is free — for now, and swimming with sharks is fine, so long as they don't see you.
ChatterEnlarge
Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
Detroit becomes the biggest municipal bankruptcy in US history, there's a war of images over the Boston bomb suspect, Russia's Alexei Navalny is free — for now, and swimming with sharks is fine, so long as they don't see you.
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Auto sales in March: Detroit roars again

US auto sales are surging. Hooray for high gas prices!
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A Ford Focus on the assembly line at Ford Motor Co.'s Michigan Assembly Plant December 14, 2011 in Wayne, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Two weeks ago at the Society of Business Editors and Writers annual conference in Indianapolis, I heard Ford's marketing chief James Farley say something interesting.

When it comes to sales in the US, "Fuel economy and perception of fuel economy is key," Farley said.

The latest auto sales numbers are clearly backing up that statement.

Both Ford and Chrysler report that sales in March rose to their highest level in at least four years.

General Motors, too, saw a big jump last month.

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US auto industry expects profits in 2012

At this week's Detroit auto show, experts say the American auto industry is on the road to recovery

Detroit revs up auto sales

The auto industry has just logged its best sales year since 2008. Next year looks good, too.
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Auto industry car sales are at its highest since 2008, according to a report from truecar.com (Bill Pugliano/AFP/Getty Images)

2011 has been the best year for the auto industry since 2008, and analysts are optimistic that 2012 will be even better.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, total sales will reach 12.7 million vehicles in 2011 and 13.8 million next year, USA Today reported.

Chrysler has been especially strong this month. So, too, have Hyundai and Kia. All three posted sales gains of more than 30 percent in December, according to TrueCar.

That trend has held for much of 2011. 

“December’s sales rate was a continuation of the rather slow and steady recovery that now symbolizes 2011,” Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Industry Trends and Insights for TrueCar.com said in a statement.

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US-China: Hints of a trade war?

China will impose punitive duties of up to 22 percent on large cars and SUVs exported from the US.
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A model relaxes her foot beside a Buick during the Auto China 2008 show April 20, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

This is not what the fragile global economy needs right now. And it's certainly not what fragile Detroit needs, either. 

China's Commerce Ministry today said that it is imposing tariffs on large cars and SUVs exported from the United States.

Those duties could be as much as 22 percent, Reuters reported. And they will be tacked on to an existing 25 percent tariff that's imposed on US auto exports in China.

Reaction by US lawmakers has been, not surprisingly, swift:

"China relentlessly breaks international trade rules and seeks to gain an anti-competitive advantage over our companies and workers. America must be equally relentless in fighting back," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who represents Michigan.

Stabenow wants the USTR to take action. Four US House of Representative members agree, and called Beijing's move "unjustifiable" and "one more instance of impermissible Chinese retaliation against the United States and other trading partners," according to Reuters.

This latest trade mash-up comes at a particularly bad time for Detroit as US automakers have been aggressively targeting China, the world's biggest market for autos.

More from Thomas Mucha: Can China save General Motors?

But auto sales in China have slowed dramatically, so Beijing is stepping in to protect its homegrown industry.

“The move shows that China is always capable of intervening politically in its markets,” Urgent Pepper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler told Bloomberg. “The automobile industry is very dependent on China for growth, and there's doubts about the pace of future expansion.”

Today's spat is also part of a longer-running auto trade fight between the world's two largest economies.

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