Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Tesla to Hold Musk to a Higher Standard for Compensation

No cash or bonuses unless carmaker hits milestones.

by on Jan.23, 2018

Elon Musk won't receive any compensation from Tesla until the EV maker begins hitting select stock and operational milestones.

With Tesla still struggling with serious production problems and a balance sheet that has been sinking deeper into the red, the battery-carmaker said Tuesday that its billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk won’t be in line for any form of compensation until it reaches stock and operational milestones.

While investors continue to back the company, its shares rebounding sharply since a deeper-than-expected third-quarter loss was announced last autumn, there has been growing concern about the delays in ramping up production of the new Model 3. That has raised concerns the company might have to raise more capital to compensation for its rapid cash burn.

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“Tesla and all of its shareholders” will have to perform “extraordinarily well before Musk is to receive any form of compensation going forward, the company said. But the announcement also took aim at another concern that some investors and analysts have raised in recent months: whether the South African-born Musk would remain onboard. (more…)

What Does New China-Only Jeep Grand Commandeer Reveal About Upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

Official debut set for Beijing Motor Show in April.

by on Jan.23, 2018

The Jeep Grand Commander will debut in China before it hits U.S. dealerships in 2020.

Jeep expects to reach a critical milestone this year, topping 2 million sales worldwide, or more than triple its volume when the old Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy and was transformed into FiatChrysler early in the decade.

To get there, Jeep has taken a two-pronged approach: entering into new markets and both expanding and updating its line-up. Nowhere is that strategy paying off like China, a market that has only belatedly been caught up in the SUV craze. To take advantage of that trend, the automaker is launching an all-new model specifically targeting the Chinese market, the Jeep Grand Commander.

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According to Jeep, the three-row, seven-seat model has been designed specifically for China. But it just happens to be coming online not long before the company plans to launch another three-row model, the Grand Wagoneer. And that raises the question: how much of what we’re seeing in China will carry over into the American seven-seat SUV? (more…)

Former FCA Executive Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

Iacobelli takes plea deal; likely to serve 96 months.

by on Jan.23, 2018

FCA's former top negotiator, Alfonse Iacobelli, right, pleaded guilty in the federal investigation of corruption at FCA and the UAW.

One of the key figures in the corruption charges that have damaged the United Auto Workers and raised questions about the management of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges.

Alphonse Iacobelli, Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief, pleaded guilty to two charges related to a conspiracy to siphon millions from an employee training fund operated jointly by the company and the union. Sentencing was delayed to May 29, but Iacobelli could face up to 96 months in prison, according to the plea deal with federal prosecutors.

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Iacobelli pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and for subscribing a false tax return before U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit. (more…)

Gas Prices Rising — Get Used to It, AAA Says

Market actions suggest price increase last month is first of many.

by on Jan.23, 2018

Gas prices went up slightly last month, AAA says, adding its a trend drivers may want to get used to.

The price of gasoline across the U.S. crept up by 1 cent to $2.54 per gallon last month, indicating that the price of gasoline is likely to climb even higher in the months to come according to new report by AAA.

Gas prices increased for 41 states with Florida seeing the largest jump at the pump with a 9-cent increase, AAA said, while the federal Energy Information Administration reported that demand for gasoline decreased only slightly.

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“For consumers, the questions is: how high are gas prices going to go in 2018,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. (more…)

Audi Forced to Deal with Diesel Emission Problem

VW's luxury brand has until Feb. 2 to fix the problem.

by on Jan.22, 2018

Audi's 3.0-liter diesels were part of the diesel scandal from 2013–15.

Audi’s in trouble once again for problems with emission levels on 127,000 diesel-powered vehicles around the world. The transport ministry ordered the recall of the vehicles because they contained illicit emission-control software.

The authority gave Audi until Feb. 2 to come up with a plan to update vehicle software that controls the emissions and make it impossible for them to be tampered with, according to Bild am Sonntag, a German newspaper.

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The order, which affects 77,600 vehicles in Germany, requires Audi to bring them up to Euro 6 emissions standards. The order affects 77,600 vehicles in Germany, the paper reported. (more…)

Mazda NAO CEO Denies Toyota Merger Speculation

Toyota deal is just a deal, CEO says. Despite EV growth, gas engines to stay.

by on Jan.22, 2018

Masahiro Moro, Mazda NAO president and CEO, told a crowd in Detroit that the factory deal with Toyota was not a prelude to a merger.

Mazda’s recent partnership with Toyota to produce EVs at a new plant in Alabama is just that — a partnership. Masahiro Moro, Mazda North America Operations president and CEO, told a crowd that Mazda plans to remain an independent automaker for foreseeable future.

Moro, the company’s top executive discussed Mazda’s future during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. He also noted that while electric vehicles and fuel cells are important, Mazda believes it can squeeze substantially more fuel savings from its internal combustion engine during the next decade.

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The automaker does not have an EV or even a hybrid in its U.S. line-up, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Mazda as the most fuel-efficient brand in the industry five years in a row, Moro noted.  (more…)

Bollinger Eyeing Downtown Detroit for Truck EV

Upstart moving from upstate New York to Motor City.

by on Jan.19, 2018

Bollinger Motors unveiled its all-electric prototype sport-utility/truck in Manhattan last July.

The city of Detroit just received one more affirmation that it is indeed The Motor City as upstart EV truck maker Bollinger Motors announced plans to move its operations from upstate New York to Detroit.

Bollinger founder Robert Bollinger visited Detroit during the North American International Auto Show. While originally searching for property along the I-75 corridor, but after a look around decided moving inside the city limits would be a better plan.

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Bollinger told Curbed Detroit he wants the company to be closer to the people, i.e. the talent, of Detroit, as well as the vendors. The company will move its eight-person team from New York to Detroit later this year. (more…)

GM Escapes $1B Stock Payout in Ignition Case

Judge says trust acted in bad faith.

by on Jan.19, 2018

GM ultimately admitted delaying a necessary recall which eventually involved millions of vehicles.

General Motors just avoided a $1 billion bill, as a New York bankruptcy judge threw out a settlement agreement that would have forced GM to pay $1 billion in stock to owners of cars with defective ignition switches.

The case is part of the automaker’s recall of 2.6 million small cars equipped with faulty ignition switches that resulted in the deaths of 124 people. The vast majority of the cars were produced before GM’s bankruptcy in 2009.

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The automaker’s bad assets were lumped together and considered “old GM,” technically called Motors Liquidation. Wilmington Trust, the M&T Bank Corp. unit that oversees the bankruptcy claims filed against the “old GM” trust, struck the deal to resolve hundreds of personal-injury cases and a class-action suit over millions of vehicles that allegedly lost value due to a series of 2014 recalls. (more…)

FCA Arguing About Viability of Midsize Pickup

Ford joins GM, Toyota and Nissan in booming segment.

by on Jan.19, 2018

CEO Sergio Marchionne said there has been a lot of pushback on the idea of building a midsize pickup truck.

Executives inside what is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have been arguing about building a midsize pickup truck for nearly a decade, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne told the media this week during a meeting at the North American International Auto Show.

Marchionne told reporters that FCA had not made any decisions on a future midsize pickup even as Ford Motor Co. revealed its new Ford Ranger during the press previews for the NAIAS.

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“We’re still studying it,” said Marchionne, who acknowledge that the midsize segment where the new Ranger will compete with the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier have has come alive in the last couple of years.  (more…)

PSA Lays Out 3-Stage, 10-Year Roadmap for U.S. Return

CEO calls for “100% electrified” line-up by 2025.

by on Jan.19, 2018

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares has been credited with turning around the near-bankrupt French company.

After a 26-year absence from the North American market, French automaker PSA Group is formalizing plans to reenter the market, though in a series of interviews and appearances in Detroit this week, CEO Carlos Tavares made it clear he’s not in a rush.

With the once nearly bankrupt automaker now flying high in most of its other markets, Tavares outlined a three-stage process that will take as much as a decade to complete. In the meantime, he is focusing on several other critical endeavors, including the revival of the Opel/Vauxhall operations PSA purchased from General Motors last year, as well as a plan that call for the company to have 100% of its products electrified by 2025.

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“When we go into a country we try to be really cautious,” Tavares said during a Thursday roundtable with a small group of journalists, one of several meetings he held in connection with the annual North American International Auto Show. The plan for North America is “more frugal, more humble” and will require only “a small investment,” he explained.

(more…)