Archive for the ‘Personalities’ 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…)

Safety Groups Join Forces, Push for Traffic Safety Reforms

Groups rallying around 16 optimal laws that should be in place across U.S.

by on Jan.22, 2018

KidsAndCars.org President and Founder Janette Fennell pushed for the changes outlined in the SafeRoads.org report.

Rhode Island and South Dakota are the best and worst states, respectively, for driver safety in the U.S., according to a new report out by Advocates for Highway Safety.

The group’s annual report, the 2018 Roadmap for Highway Safety, gives each state a ranking based on what the safety advocacy group considers 16 fundamental traffic safety laws to ensure roadway safety. Rhode Island employs 13 of the 16 while South Dakota just two.

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“Advocates has spent decades fighting for vehicle safety technology and we too believe driverless cars have the potential to one day make our roads a dramatically safer place,” said Advocates’ President Cathy Chase, during a press conference earlier today. (more…)

NYC Could Join List of Cities With Congestion Charge for Drivers

Even Uber drivers would have to pay fees in Midtown, Downtown.

by on Jan.22, 2018

New York City may become the first U.S. city to charge a congestion fee, similar to those charged in London or Singapore.

After facing years of delays New York City seems set to become the first American metropolis to enact a congestion charge on drivers passing through its crowded Midtown and Downtown streets.

The proposal, issued by the “Fix NYC” task force would hit drivers of passenger vehicles with a congestion charge of $11.52, if enacted, while trucks would pay $25.34. Even taxis and ride-share vehicles would have to pay between $2 and $4 a ride. If approved by state officials, New York would join cities like London, Milan, Stockholm and Singapore that have been using congestion charges to try to reduce central city gridlock.

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The measure is backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and some lawmakers who opposed similar proposals in the past now appear to be ready to sign on. “Though I have been a critic of congestion pricing in the past and still remain skeptical, the plan released today … offers a wide variety of innovative suggestions,” said Democratic Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (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…)

Government Panel Wants Lower Drunk Driving Threshold

Drunk driving deaths “entirely preventable.”

by on Jan.19, 2018

There is a movement underway to lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit for drunk driving to 0.05.

You might have to skip that extra beer or third glass of wine, at least if you’re planning to then get behind the wheel of a car. A new government report recommends states significantly lower the level of alcohol in the blood that would be considered driving under the influence of alcohol.

In recent decades, a crackdown on drunk driving has had a significant impact, but an estimated 10,000 people a year still die in alcohol-related accidents and the figure has begun creeping back up, warned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The worst part, a panel added, is that those deaths are “entirely preventable.”

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In the U.S., all states now count a blood alcohol level of 0.08% as driving under the influence. By comparison, the figure has dropped to 0.05% in much of Europe and as little as 0.02% in Norway and Sweden. The National Academies panel wants to see all U.S. states drop to 0.05%, the same figure went into effect in Utah Dec. 30. (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…)

Safety Titan Claybrook Wants to Rein in Autonomous Vehicles

Former NHTSA leader says self-driving cars have too many shortcomings.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Joan Claybrook (left) during a panel discussion in Detroit said she doesn't trust autonomous vehicles and they should be tightly regulated.

Self-driving cars are not yet roadworthy and could pose a lethal threat to motorists unless they are carefully regulated said Joan Claybrook, the former chief of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and longtime critic of the auto industry’s safety record.

“The excitement around autonomous cars is very interesting, we have had massive problems with failures in the auto industry with airbags and with the GM ignition switch and they have killed people,” Claybrook said during a panel discussion on Autonomous Vehicles and regulation held as part of Automobili-D sponsored by Politico and held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.

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In addition, for a long time to come what NHTSA has deemed as Level 3 autonomous vehicles that can cruise on auto pilot under certain circumstances but require driver intervention in an emergency situation, will mix with conventional vehicles on streets and highways. (more…)

Debugging Volkswagen: SUVs Supplant Sedans, Hatches

But no more tongue-twisting model names.

by on Jan.17, 2018

One of the first jobs for VW Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken was revealing the new Atlas.

Things didn’t look very good when Hinrich Woebcken landed in the U.S. two years ago as the new CEO and President of the Volkswagen Group of America. The automaker had just acknowledged cheating on diesel emissions tests and was not only facing the prospect of paying billions of dollars in fines and settlements but a collapse in its U.S. sales as it was forced to pull off the market all of its popular diesel models.

“The only reason dealers didn’t kill me was that I was the new guy,” the German-born executive said, only half joking, during a presentation at the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday afternoon.

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These days, dealers are a lot more sanguine about Woebcken, and VW in general, though the VWoA chief cautioned that the automaker has a long way to go before he can claim success rebuilding its U.S. operations. (more…)

Marchionne Confirms Plan for Ferrari SUV, Hints at Battery Supercar

“Ferrari Utility Vehicle” will be world’s fastest, promises CEO.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari will produce a sport-utility vehicle, like competitors Lamborghini, Porsche and others.

There are SUVs, CUVs and, soon, there will be an FUV. And before you try to guess what that means, Sergio Marchionne calls it the Ferrari Utility Vehicle – though considering the disdain some of the brand’s gold chained owners often display, you might come up with a different interpretation.

Rumors of a Ferrari sport-utility vehicle have been circulating for some time, and after dropping some earlier hints, Marchionne made it absolutely official during a series of appearances and conversations at the North American International Auto Show this week.

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The executive, who heads both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Ferrari brand it spun off two years ago, suggested that we could see the new hyper-ute by sometime next year or into 2020, emphasizing his intent for it to be the world’s fastest utility vehicle. (more…)