Archive for the ‘Executives’ Category

Tesla Model 3: How Can Such a Good Car Be So Bad

Teardown of battery-electric vehicle reveals many surprises.

by on Apr.25, 2018

"You can see the gaps from the moon" on the body of a Tesla Model 3, according to Sandy Munro.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, think of it as two tales of a car, suggests Sandy Munro, head of the suburban Detroit competitive analysis firm, Munro and Associates. How can such a breakthrough vehicle also have so many problems, he asks, during a lengthy look at what’s under the skin of the Tesla Model 3.

Over the years, Munro’s firm has vivisected hundreds of automobiles, including a number of new battery-electric vehicles, such as the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV. But few teardowns, he suggested, have been more eye-opening than Tesla’s first mainstream offering. In terms of its battery-based drivetrain technology, the Model 3 readily sets a benchmark, but it’s another matter entirely with many of the things an owner more readily sees, including a body with massive quality and fit-and-finish problems.

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“It’s the best of (cars) and the worst of (cars),” Munro said, during a special meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association held at his Auburn Hills facility. “Some stuff gets a six, on a scale of one to five, others a one.”

(more…)

Elio Motors Secures $2.5M in New Funding from Overstock

Once in production, plans call for Elio to be sold through Overstock.

by on Apr.24, 2018

Elio Motors just took in $2.5 million in new cash from a new investor.

Rarely has a three-wheeled anything, much less a car, engendered as much goodwill — and second (and third, fourth …) chances financially – as the Elio.

The quirky three-wheeled car initially introduced nearly five years ago has secured $2.5 million in new funds through a private stock placement with Overstock.com. The shares are worth $2.75 each, but as a private stock, it cannot be traded or sold.

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Elio Motors officials say the company intends to use the proceeds of the new investment to fund capital expenditures and repay certain outstanding debt and accounts payable. Since it’s a private placement, Elio will enter into a registration rights agreement with Overstock. (more…)

Musk Gets Preliminary Approval for Testing Tunnel in L.A.

Los Angelse City Council must provide a final approval.

by on Apr.20, 2018

Elon Musk's Boring Co. got preliminary approval for a proof of concept tunnel under Los Angeles.

The City of Los Angeles has approved Elon Musk to be more boring, er, to do more boring of tunnels that is.

Actually, Los Angeles City Council’s public works committee approved an environmental review exemption for a tunnel that Musk, through his Boring Co., wants to dig to test his underground transportation system.

Pushing the Envelope!

The committee approved the measure noting it was in favor of any idea that could help alleviate the crippling traffic jams that so often plague the city and surrounding areas. The motion now heads to the full City Council for approval. (more…)

GM Adds eBay CEO to Board of Directors

Company updates $16.5 billion line of credit.

by on Apr.20, 2018

Devin Wenig, eBay CEO, has been recommended to joined the General Motors Board of Directors.

General Motors has reached out to Silicon Valley to obtain a new recruit for the company’s board of directors while also adding to its lines of credit.

The election of eBay CEO Devin Wenig to the board’s slate of nominees will bring GM’s Board of Directors to 11 members, 10 of whom are non-employee directors. Wenig will stand for election at GM’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders on June 12, 2018.

Industry News!

“Devin brings significant expertise in technology, global operations and strategic planning to our board,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.  (more…)

Tesla Going Round the Clock on Model 3 Production

EV maker looks to up Model 3 build rate to 6K weekly.

by on Apr.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is looking to make the Fremont, California plant a 24/7 operation to meet a new Model 3 production goal of 6,000 units weekly.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is borrowing from a famous ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll ditty in order to get Model 3 production levels back on track: they’re going to work around the clock.

Musk ordered a weeklong shut down of the company’s plant in Fremont, California, to resolve once and for all the production bottlenecks the facility was experiencing related to Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.

Product News!

The company’s founder, who has taken to sleeping on the plant floor regularly, said one of the big problems was the plant was too automated. “Humans are underrated,” he said. (more…)

Brand boss de Nysschen out in Shake-Up at Cadillac

Move comes at launch of critical new products.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Johan de Nysschen, now former Caddy chief, said in New York last month Caddy's upcoming product lines could double current sales.

Just weeks after presiding over the debut of two critical new products, the CT6 V-Sport sedan and XT4 sport-utility vehicle, Johan de Nysschen is out as the head of the Cadillac brand, replaced by Steve Carlisle, a fast-track executive credited with major turnarounds for parent General Motors in Canada and Thailand.

With extensive experience in the global luxury car market, including stints with BMW, Audi and Infiniti, de Nysschen laid out broad plans for Cadillac’s revival after joining the brand in 2014. That ranged from additions to its product portfolio to the decision to move Caddy from Detroit to New York City to give it more distance from the parent company and put it at the center of one of the country’s biggest luxury car markets. But several sources suggested senior GM management was growingly increasingly concerned about Caddy’s weak performance in its home market.

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“We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann, who helped lure de Nysschen from Infiniti to Cadillac. “Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard.” (more…)

Model 3 Production Halt Raises New Worries About Tesla

Automaker wants to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks.”

by on Apr.17, 2018

Tesla is shutting down its plant temporarily to resolve production problems that have delayed Model 3 production.

Tesla is temporarily idling its troubled Fremont, California assembly plant for as long as five days, the automaker has confirmed, in order to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks.”

The factory, originally built by General Motors, is Tesla’s only automotive manufacturing facility and currently produces the company’s three battery-electric vehicles, the Models S, X and 3. The latter EV is Tesla’s first “affordable,” long-range vehicle and is meant to push the company into the mainstream – and its balance sheet into the black.

Product News!

But the factory has been in what CEO Elon Musk calls “production hell” since the first Model 3 rolled off the line last July, running up unexpected deficits and leading some to question the company’s very survival. (more…)

Big Changes Coming at VW, Says New CEO

Diess targeting “slimmed down company” and focus on new technologies.

by on Apr.13, 2018

VW's new CEO Herbert Diess wants to both cut costs and shift focus to new technologies.

Volkswagen Group is likely to be a very different company in the coming years, at least if new CEO Herbert Diess has his way, the new chief executive outlining some of the key changes he has in mind during a Friday media briefing that followed a management shake-up the day before.

The one-time BMW board member has been viewed as a change agent since joining VW in 2015, just months before a scheme to rig diesel emissions tests was revealed by the U.S. EPA. Diess has already trimmed what is often described as a bloated workforce, in the process slashing almost $5 billion in costs.

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He is expected to further attack costs at the German giant while also putting more emphasis on new technologies and services. And VW officials suggested they could move to trim assets, though they cautioned that a rumored spin off of their truck business isn’t in the cards – yet. (more…)

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.”

(more…)

Mueller Out, Diess In at VW – And More Shake-Ups Likely

Automaker restructuring into three groups and may be readying spin-off of truck group.

by on Apr.12, 2018

New VW CEO Herbert Diess unveiled two EVs, including the Buzz microbus, at CEO.

Matthias Mueller, the executive often given credit with steering Volkswagen Group through the worst crisis in its post-War history, has been pushed aside, replaced as CEO by Herbert Diess, the head of the flagship VW brand.

The elevation of Diess comes at a time when Volkswagen is charting a path that calls for greater sales and profits, lower costs, and a decreasing dependence on the diesels that had been a foundation, albeit a troubled one, for the company. Diess will also oversee a restructuring that will reform the parent company into three groups and could lead to the eventually spin-off of its truck and bus division.

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Shaking Things Up!

The 64-year-old Mueller was elevated to CEO in 2015, following revelations that VW had rigged its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. He “has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group,” the automakers said in a statement, work that included dealing with angry regulators, shareholders and owners and negotiating settlements, fines and buybacks that ultimately are expected to cost VW about $30 billion in the U.S. alone.

(more…)

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