Auto briefs: Train station, recycled materials, sustainability

The purchase of an iconic Detroit train station, a commitment to using recycled materials in new vehicles, and a debut sustainability plan were among the items promoted by automakers recently.

  • Ford has purchased the Michigan Central Station, a prominent abandoned railroad station in Detroit, and plans to make the structure the central feature of a new campus in the city's Corktown neighborhood. The Beaux-Arts station, which includes a three-story former train depot and an 18-story office tower, opened in 1913 and closed in 1988. Although it fell into disrepair in the ensuring years, it went through extensive renovations under a recent owner. Ford has purchased several properties in Corktown, and its planned campus will include approximately 1.2 million square feet of space and about 2,500 employees by 2022.
  • Volvo has committed to using at least 25 percent recycled plastics in every one of its new vehicles starting in 2025. The automaker recently used an XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV with a number of recycled materials to illustrate how this vision is possible. The model includes a console made from old fishing nets and maritime ropes, carpets and seats that use fibers from plastic bottles, and materials from old Volvo car seats as well as clothing manufacturers' unused cuts. The announcement follows Volvo's recent goal to eliminate single-use plastics from its facilities by the end of 2019.
  • Nissan has announced its first sustainability plan, which it says aims to unite its environmental, governmental, and social initiatives. Some of the initiatives the automaker hopes to complete by 2022 include reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent compared to fiscal year 2000 levels, reducing use of new materials by 70 percent, eliminating fatalities in crashes involving new Nissan vehicles, and increasing the proportion of female managers to at least 16 percent. The sustainability plan aims in part to assess the automaker's progress as it nears the halfway point of the Nissan Green Program, which debuted in 2001 with a number of initiatives to be completed by 2050.

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