Archive for the ‘EVs’ Category

Despite Problems, Musk Promises Tesla Profit in Second Half of 2018

Stock up, but not everyone convinced.

by on Apr.13, 2018

CEO Elon Musk shown exiting the back seat of a Model 3 at its debut. Musk still needs to dig out of trouble caused by Model 3 delays.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Tesla, the battery-electric automaker again missing production targets, being accused of improperly firing nearly 1,000 factory workers and being scolded by federal safety regulators for its role in investigating a fatal crash involving its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

But that has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of CEO Elon Musk. After earlier this week suggesting Model 3 production isn’t delayed but in a “time shift,” the South African-born exec on Friday tweeted a promise that Tesla will be both profitable and produce positive cash flow by the second half of this year.

Promises, Promises!

Musk’s latest tweet came in response to a harsh Twitter post by British news magazine The Economist, which warned Tesla would need to raise more cash this year. “The Economist used to be boring,” Musk responded, “but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.”

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Family of Tesla Model X Fatality Hires Law Firm, Plans to Sue

San Franciso-based law firm points to Autopilot as cause of death.

by on Apr.12, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

As the investigation into the death of a Model X owner continues, Tesla is taking a familiar stance when it comes to where the fault lies in the collision with a concrete median: the driver.

Walter Huang died in a crash and vehicle fire in a Model X near Mountain View, California, last month. The family hired law firm Minami Tamaki LLP to explore legal options, and the firms said it believes the Autopilot feature in the electric carmaker’s vehicle probably caused his death.

News Now!

Tesla notes that according to its readings from the vehicle, Huang did not follow the procedure for using Autopilot. The company said he went longer than six seconds before touching the steering wheel. The system requires drivers to touch the wheel every five seconds. (more…)

Waiting to Take Delivery of a Tesla Model 3? You May be Caught in a “Time Shift”

Apparently, there are no “delays” in Elon Musk’s dictionary.

by on Apr.12, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Fremont plant.

Last we checked, there were more than 400,000 folks waiting to take delivery of the Tesla Model 3, a potential problem considering the slow ramp-up of production. But even though some potential buyers might now have to wait until 2019 – perhaps beyond – they shouldn’t consider that a delay but simply a “time shift,” according to CEO Elon Musk.

The South African-born entrepreneur famously predicted his company’s Fremont, California assembly plant would go through “production hell” when it launched its first mainstream model last July. And, indeed, it had to largely hand-build them for the rest of the year. Tesla recently released numbers that showed first-quarter production reached 2,000 a week, but even that was 20% below the company’s target. And that’s leading some frustrated shoppers to cancel their advance reservations.

News You Can Trust!

“You’ll definitely get your car,” Musk declared during an interview on CBS on Thursday, suggesting customers shouldn’t think of what’s happening as a delay, but “a six- to nine-month time shift. That’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.” (more…)

Volkswagen CEO Mueller Likely to Be Replaced by VW Brand Boss Diess

Mueller helped company weather diesel scandal, but Diess seen as change agent.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Prior to being tapped to head VW after its diesel scandal broke, Matthias Mueller ran Porsche.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to be forced out at a management meeting Friday, with VW brand boss Herbert Diess expected to replace him, according to reports out of Germany.

The shake-up, which has apparently been in the works for months, has the blessing of some of VW’s top shareholders, as well as its chairman and powerful labor chief. It will mark the most extensive management moves since shortly after the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

Global Business News!

VW issued a short statement noting it is considering “a further development of the management structure of the group which would also be associated with personnel changes in the board of management.” The statement hinted that changes under study “could include” the naming of a new CEO, adding that Mueller himself “showed his willingness to contribute,” suggesting the 64-year-old executive might voluntarily step aside rather than fight to retain his post. He is currently under a contract set to continue through 2020.

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BMW Going Big at Auto China in Beijing

Automaker debuting mix of next-gen utes and concepts.

by on Apr.10, 2018

BMW plans to unveil its third-gen X3 sport-activity vehicle at Auto China in Beijing later this month.

BMW is preparing use the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing later this month to show off an array of new models, including the debut of the third generation X3, concept vehicles and developments in automotive technology.

The selection of new products on display in Beijing underscores the company’s commitment to the next steps in its electrification strategy and heralds its upcoming model offensive in the luxury segment, BMW officials said this week.

Global News!

BMW also said the displays also underscores the huge significance of China as both the world’s largest car market and the production location for a growing number of BMW models. (more…)

GM Set to Unveil EV Concept in China Despite US Trade Issues

Company straddling tough line due to tariff-based volatility.

by on Apr.09, 2018

GM is ready to unveil its first-ever fully electric SUV, the Enspire, in China later this month.

The United States and China might appear headed for a full-blown trade war that could rattle the global economy, but General Motors, one of the American companies that could get hurt in the crossfire is moving ahead with its aggressive plans for the Chinese market.

Last week, Buick, GM’s leading brand in China, announced that the Enspire, its new all-electric concept SUV, will make its global debut at Buick Brand Night April 17, in Wuzhen, Zhejiang.

Global News!

It will also be on display to the public at Auto China 2018 in Beijing, which begins later this month. (more…)

Cadillac Exposed!

Here's how brand boss de Nysschen plans to use a new fleet of cars, crossovers and EVs to double U.S. and Chinese sales and even – finally – crash Europe. Exclusively on TheDetroitBureau.com.

by on Apr.06, 2018

Cadillac President John de Nysschen had two big intros in NY, including the CT6 V-Sport.

Cadillac is covering both ends of the spectrum at this month’s New York International Auto Show, offering up both the new entry-luxury XT4 sport-utility vehicle, as well as a high-performance version of its flagship sedan, the new CT6 V-Sport.

The two mark the start of an unprecedented product roll-out that, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen announced during a NYIAS news briefing, will add 11 models to the brand’s line-up by 2021. But that’s only a glimpse at what’s actually coming, the South African-born executive revealed in an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.

The Last Word!

Long positioned as “the standard of the world,” Cadillac fell off its perch in the 1990s, dethroned by high-line European and Asian imports like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It’s had a few false starts in its bid to regain its former glory. But de Nysschen has put in place a do-or-die strategy that is aimed at more than doubling Caddy’s global volume with a mix of new products, advanced powertrains and a new approach to sales and service. Much will depend on the booming Chinese luxury market, but the Caddy chief is also determined to take on key rivals in their home, European market.

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Tesla Hit With NLRB Complaint Over Mass Firings

Feds probe controversial firing of nearly 1,000 employees.

by on Apr.05, 2018

Tesla's Fremont plant has faced a series of problems over the last year.

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint against Tesla, finding merit to a series of charges involving the company’s treatment of employees over the past months, including claims that union supporters were swept out in a mass firing.

Charges, cited by the NLRB, range from terminating employees in retaliation for engaging in union and/or protected activities to unlawful interrogations of union supporters. Many of the pro-union employees were fired last fall when Tesla dismissed nearly 1,000 employees for what it described as substandard job performance.

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Unplugged?

Tesla has yet to file an answer to the complaint lodged by the NLRB but denied the allegations when the union fielded the charges last autumn. It will have to come up with a response before a trial date now set for June 11.

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Tesla Dismisses Model 3 Production Shortfall and Investors Appear to Agree

Production accelerating so fast it may soon “exceed even that of Ford and the Model T.”

by on Apr.03, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk told investors the company will be closing in on higher production numbers for the Model 3.

Tesla on Tuesday confirmed that it again fell short of its production target for the much-delayed Model 3 sedan, though it also promised that the “production rate will climb rapidly” from the 2,000 battery-cars assembled each week in late March to 5,000 by the end of the second quarter.

Delays with the ramp-up of the Model 3, Tesla’s first mainstream offering, have been a nightmare for the California-based carmaker, plunging its first-quarter earnings deeply into the red and raising the specter of having to raise new equity to fund its ongoing operations. But after a sharp plunge in its stock over the past month, investors appear to be taking solace in the latest production figures, Tesla shares surging by more than 3% in late morning trading.

Plug In Now!

Tesla played up the positive in a statement Tuesday, despite missing its production target. It cited “the progress made thus far” as “laying the groundwork” for a strong third quarter. “As a result, Tesla does not require an equity or debt raise this year, apart from standard credit lines.” (more…)

EPA Rolling Back CAFE in Move Likely to Set Up Legal Battle with California

The Trump Administration wants to eliminate the California waiver and adopt one national mileage standard.

by on Apr.02, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to rollback CAFE - and eliminate the CA waiver.

In a widely expected move, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has confirmed the agency will roll back the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, though by how much is not yet clear.

The news was largely hailed by the auto industry, which had challenged the 54.5 mpg target it initially agreed to under the Obama Administration. But the announcement drew significant criticism from consumer groups, environmentalists and, in particular, California regulators. Under current Clean Air standards, that state has the right to set its own standards which are normally even tougher than the EPA rules. But Pruitt signaled his intention of revoking that authority, something likely to touch off a legal battle that could delay any steps the EPA takes.

Breaking News!

“The Obama EPA’s determination was wrong,” Pruitt said in a statement Monday. “Obama’s EPA cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality and set the standards too high.”

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