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Detroit News Columnist Daniel Howes and Michigan Radio are partners in weekly essays examining what's hot in Michigan business and politics – and what it all means. This week, Howes says global automakers face a “profit desert” in coming years as spending for the Auto 2.0 spaces of mobility, autonomy and electrification consume vast amounts of capital. But returns on those investments are showing unmistakable signs of declining even as sales in major markets soften and break-even points rise. The trend could have profound implications for Detroit’s automakers, their place in the next-gen automotive hierarchy and future profit-sharing payouts to members of the United Auto Workers.

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