Archive for the ‘Lawsuits/Legal’ Category

EU Auto Tariffs Deadline Fast Approaching

European and American automakers alike hope for delay.

by on May.15, 2019

President Donald Trump has until May to either enact new tariffs on EU autos or order a delay.

With one trade war already underway, the White House could kick off another battle this weekend as the May 18 deadline nears for Pres. Donald Trump to decide whether to impose tariffs on European auto imports.

Any move would follow the completion of a Commerce Department study completed last February that concluded auto imports pose a threat to America’s national security. The president has not given a clear indication of how – or whether – he will respond as a 90-day deadline approaches, though he has had harsh words about European automakers in the past, at one point threatening to banish all Mercedes products from the streets of his home city, New York.

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Auto imports from Europe totaled $56.4 billion last year, according to Commerce figures, Germany responsible for the bulk of that. The risk of new tariffs sent shares of German manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen reeling in recent days. But even U.S. automakers, as well as suppliers and dealers, have been pressing the Trump Administration to hold back on launching a new front in the trade war.


Ferrari Set to Reveal New Hybrid Supercar this Month

“Top-of-the-line performance…and a true beauty,” promises CEO.

by on May.10, 2019

The LaFerrari showed that hybrid power could deliver high levels of performance.

It’s been a while since Ferrari first dropped the hint that it would add a new hybrid to its line-up and now, according to CEO Louis Camilleri, we’ll be getting to see it before the end of this month.

The hybrid will be one of five new models coming from the Maranello-based manufacturer, said the chief executive, and there are some signs more than one of these products will rely on an electrified boost to performance. But that should surprise fewer and fewer Ferrari fans considering the broad push towards battery propulsion in the supercar and hypercar segments.

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We’re hearing plenty of rumors about the hybrid coming this month, including the comment Camilleri dropped during a conference call to discuss the brand’s first-quarter earnings. According to the chief executive, “It will be a top-of-the-line hybrid with supercar performance and a true beauty.”


Electrifying America

Volkswagen-funded start-up is rolling out a nationwide network of quick-chargers -- and cutting prices 20%.

by on May.06, 2019

A Chevrolet Bolt is plugged into an Electrify America charger at EA's suburban DC tech center.

Volkswagen plans to spend $50 billion on battery-electric vehicles while General Motors’ CEO says the automaker is on a “path” to go fully electric. Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and, of course, Tesla, by mid-decade, these and other manufacturers expect to have more than 200 electric vehicles on the market.

But just because you build them doesn’t mean buyers will come, industry analysts warn, pointing to a variety of obstacles to mass acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, including range and cost. But one of the biggest concerns is the lack of a viable charging infrastructure that would allow electric vehicle owners to travel as freely as do owners of conventional gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

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That is beginning to change as charging stations, especially “Level 3” fast chargers begin to pop up across the countryside. And, ironically, that roll-out owes a fair share of credit to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Out of the roughly $30 billion the automaker has so far paid out in terms of fines and settlements, $2 billion is funding Electrify America, a start-up helping promote the adoption of plug-based vehicles, in large part by setting up the fastest-growing public charging network in the U.S.

EA is taking another step to increase the appeal of running on battery-power, on Monday announcing plans to cut the cost of charging at one of its stations by 20 percent.


VWoA Wins Delay in UAW Vote in Chattanooga

Union's attempt to get a quick vote denied.

by on May.06, 2019

The UAW's third election in five years at VW's Chattanooga plant has been delayed by the NLRB.

The National Labor Relations Board, in a vote along party lines, agreed to Volkswagen’s request to postpone an union election vote at the German automakers factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The United Auto Workers surprised VW last month by asking for a quick vote, among the 1,400 production workers in Chattanooga with the hope of minimizing the impact of anti-union campaigns, particularly by local political figures and outside anti-union groups.

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The UAW won the right to represent Chattanooga’s 300 or so maintenance workers in 2016. (more…)

VW Earnings Strong Despite Hit from Diesel Scandal

Credit largely goes to higher-priced crossovers like VW Atlas.

by on May.02, 2019

VW's utility vehicles now account for 23% of group sales, with a target of 20% by late 2020.

Volkswagen’s earnings took a tumble during the first quarter, largely due to a 1 billion euro, or $1.1 billion, set-aside to cover legal costs related to its ongoing diesel emissions scandal.

But at 3.05 billion euros, or $3.41 billion, after-tax profits came in close to last year’s 3.30 billion euros figure from the January-March quarter, with profit margins actually rising across the company’s 12 different automotive brands.

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It was a “very strong first quarter,” said Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter, and “to an extent better actually better than we expected.”


Musk Keeps Job With SEC Settlement – But Not Everyone is Pleased

A “bizarre series of events.”

by on May.01, 2019

The new SEC settlement will allow Musk to remain Tesla CEO - as long as he reins in his tweets.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement with Elon Musk on Tuesday that ends a court battle that could have seen the South African-born executive forced out as the CEO of Tesla.

The agreement more clearly lays out the sort of things that the social media-savvy Musk cannot post on Twitter, blogs or other outlets without first having his comments reviewed by Tesla’s legal counsel. That includes topics that could have a direct impact on the automaker’s stock price. Musk initially agreed to having Tesla review some of his comments last year as part of a settlement of another dispute with the SEC.

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But not everyone is pleased by the agreement. At least one SEC Commissioner, former Columbia University law professor Robert Jackson, is speaking out about what he is describing as “this bizarre series of events” that led to the latest court case between the agency and the Tesla chief executive. In a statement released after the court case was concluded, Jackson said, “I cannot support (this) settlement.” (more…)

Tesla May be Looking to Raise More Capital

Musk, SEC reach deal on Twitter use.

by on Apr.29, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said now was a good time to explore raising capital, but then suggested the company wouldn't.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s passing comment about getting additional money for the electric vehicle maker during the company’s earnings call last week may have had more meaning behind than expected.

During the call, during which the company announced it lost $700 million during the first quarter, Musk was asked about the possibility of raising more money for the company.

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“There is some merit to raising capital,” Musk said. “It’s probably about the right time.” (more…)

Tesla’s Musk, SEC Ask Judge for 2nd Deadline Extension

Two sides can resolve issues with Musk's social media use.

by on Apr.26, 2019

CEO Elon Musk is facing a contempt charge levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After weeks of negotiations, Tesla and Elon Musk still haven’t reached an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on a revised settlement deal and have asked for a second deadline extension from a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan.

Essentially at issue is Musk’s freewheeling use of Twitter. It got him in trouble with the SEC when he used it to proclaim he had the funding in place to take Tesla private at $420 a share, sending the stock soaring. However, he didn’t have the funding secured, and the agency pounced.

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Ultimately, the two sides reached deal, fining both Tesla and Musk $20 million each, forcing him to give up his job as chairman and putting a limit on his use of social media — and it’s the last item that is causing the problem. (more…)

Ghosn Released on $4.5M Bail; Court Limits Contact with Wife

Appeal of bail by prosecutors fails.

by on Apr.25, 2019

Carlos Ghosn's been released after posting $4.5 million bail. Aside from his previous bail conditions, he can only speak with his wife, Carole, with court permission.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been released from a Japanese detention center – again – after posting $4.5 million bail. His release, which was appealed by prosecutors, came with conditions, the most noteworthy being he must limit with his wife, Carole.

Ghosn was arrested the first time last November and released more than three months later on $9 million bail and some conditions. Prosecutors brought new charges against the former Nissan chief and he was jailed again.

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He maintains he is innocent of all charges, including producing a video reiterating his innocence, blaming his arrest on Nissan executives. He also blamed the current executive team, led by CEO Hiroto Saikawa, on the falling profits the company is experiencing. He called the current leadership “sickening.” (more…)

Rear-Seat Occupants at Higher Risk of Death, Injury, Warns IIHS

Manufacturers need to “solve this puzzle,” says IIHS president.

by on Apr.25, 2019

Rear-seat occupants are less likely to survive some frontal crashes than those up front, warns the IIHS.

Automotive manufacturers have made significant improvements in safety in recent years, but rear-seat passengers may be getting left behind, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The insurance industry trade group studied more than 100 fatal crashes, while conducting a series of its own tests, and found that passengers seated in the rear are less likely to survive a frontal collision because they often don’t have access to effective safety systems such as frontal airbags.

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“Manufacturers have put a lot of work into improving protection for drivers and front-seat passengers,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement. “We hope a new evaluation will spur similar progress in the back seat.”