Archive for the ‘Executives’ Category

FCA Continuing Diesel Settlement Talks with DOJ, CARB

Discussions centering on potential penalties for automaker.

by on Apr.11, 2018

The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is part of the group of vehicles that allegedly used a cheat device to beat emissions tests.

Despite repeatedly denying any wrongdoing, Fiat Chrysler is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board to reach a settlement about accusations it used illegal used software to beat diesel emissions tests.

The discussions, which according to multiple reports, are very far along, address allegations that FCA used the software, in a manner similar to Volkswagen’s diesel testing cheat device, for 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles – mostly light trucks – sold since 2014.

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According to Reuters, Ken Feinberg, an adviser in the process, at a federal court hearing in San Francisco revealed that government lawyers and Fiat Chrysler were swapping documents as part of the settlement process, which was moving “at a rather swift pace.” (more…)

Tenneco Buys Federal-Mogul for $5.4 Billion

Company will split into two publicly traded entities next year.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Billionaire Carl Icahn sold Federal-Mogul to Tenneco Inc. for $5.4 billion.

Federal-Mogul, a century old supplier of automotive component with a storied past, is being sold to Tenneco Inc. as part of a deal valued at $5.4 billion.

In recent years, Federal-Mogul – owned by Wall Street financier Carl Icahn – has gone through multiple re-organizations but has maintained its core businesses of powertrain products aftermarket parts even as it struggled to pay its debts.

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Icahn Enterprises will get $800 million in cash and 29.5 million shares of Tenneco stock. Tenneco will assume Federal-Mogul’s debt. The Lake Forest, Illinois-based auto parts maker said Tuesday that it will split the company into two parts, both to be traded publicly. (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.

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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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Feds Charge Former FCA Exec in Labor Scandal

Seven people have faced indictments in ongoing probe.

by on Apr.06, 2018

Michael Brown is the latest person to be charged in a federal probe of FCA and the UAW. (Photo credit: UAW-Chrysler)

The U.S Department of Justice is bringing charges against a third Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. official as part of the expanding corruption probe into the illegal use of funds set aside under FCA’s labor contract with the United Auto Workers for training union members.

Michael Brown, former director of employee relations at Fiat Chrysler, was charged with lying to a federal grand jury about an alleged bribery scheme involving his direct superior, Alphonse Iacobelli and others at FCA. The scheme netted Iacobelli and others participating in the scheme more than $4.5 million, according to the DOJ.

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Federal prosecutors allege Brown knew that FCA officials were bribing UAW leaders, but “deliberately” provided “misleading and incomplete testimony.” Not only did he know that this was going on, prosecutors allege, but he failed to notify authorities about the corruption, according to the DOJ. (more…)

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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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.

(more…)

Daimler’s Zetsche Talks About Future With New Investor

Geely's Li Khufu is Daimler's largest investor, which may foster new deals.

by on Apr.05, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche discusses the company's future during its annual shareholders meeting.

Daimler AG continues to enjoy record success even as it spends heavily on new investments to prepare the company to meet future challenges in an auto industry that is changing quickly and dramatically even as it adjusts to new shareholders.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche also moved quickly at the beginning of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin to head off questions about the investment of Li Shufu, the Chinese entrepreneur who recently acquired approximately 10% of Daimler’s shares.

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“I’d like to start by saying our talks with Li Shufu have been very positive,” Zetsche said. “He wants to have a long-term investment with Daimler and he supports our successful strategy,” said Zetsche, adding that future collaboration with Li Shufu’s automotive empire, which includes Geely, the Chinese company he founded, and Volvo, is a possibility. (more…)

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.

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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…)

Tesla Faces a Stock Market Freefall Over Growing Model 3, Crash and Cash Flow Concerns

“Reality is setting in,” as shares fall by a third from 52-week high.

by on Mar.29, 2018

Tesla CEO Musk has repeatedly been caught missing production targets on vehicles like the Model 3.

Tesla stock is getting pummeled by investors over growing concerns about the company’s cash coffers, a crash that is raising serious concerns about its vaunted Autopilot technology, and the ongoing “manufacturing hell” at the automaker’s assembly plant in Fremont, California.

TSLA shares briefly crashed through their 52-week low Thursday morning before staging a modest rebound. But the once high-flying stock has clearly been wounded and is now running about a third below its 52-week high.

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“Reality is setting in,” said Joe Phillippi, head of AutoTrends Consulting, and a long-time Wall Street automotive analyst. Investors, he said, “were banking on increased earnings…once they got their manufacturing system fixed. It was going to be a no-brainer.”

(more…)

RAV4 Remake Could Be Toyota’s Biggest Intro in Years

SUV now outsells sedan mainstay Camry.

by on Mar.28, 2018

The new 2019 Toyota RAV4 gets an exterior makeover that injects passion into the design.

You don’t mess with success, goes the old adage. But there’s an alternative way of looking at things: no risk is the biggest risk of all. Or, so goes the long-time mantra at Toyota.

Which is right? We’ll likely learn in the months ahead as buyers get a look at the all-new Toyota RAV4 that’s making its debut this week at the New York International Auto Show. These days, few vehicles are more important to the Japanese giant, booming sales of SUVs propelling the RAV4 at an explosive pace. Last year, it surged past the Camry to become Toyota’s best-selling model and it was fourth overall in the U.S. market, behind only three full-size domestic pickups.

Pushing the Envelope!

At a time when the overall U.S. market has been sliding, demand for the original “cute ute” rose 15% last year, topping 400,000, an almost unseen number anymore. So, any mistakes with the new model and you can just imagine the impact on the bottom line – and careers. (more…)

Cadillac’s Compact XT4 Crossover Breaks Cover in NY

“The Cadillac rejuvenation is really taking root.”

by on Mar.28, 2018

Cadillac is finally ready to play in one of the fastest growing and most competitive markets going: small luxury crossovers.

There’s been a big gap in the Cadillac line-up, and that’s been a major headache for the U.S. luxury brand, leaving it on the sidelines as key competitors, such as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus have been able to take advantage of the growing market for compact crossovers.

But the wait is over, declared Caddy President Johan de Nysschen, as he pulled the wraps off the long-awaited XT4 during a media preview ahead of the opening of the New York International Auto Show. Slotting in below the current Escalade and XT5 offerings, the Cadillac XT4 could become one of the brand’s most important additions since the original CT4 introduced the Art & Science design language.

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“The new vehicle is going to add to the impressive gains we’re making,” said de Nysschen, during an invitation-only event at Cadillac House, its Manhattan headquarters. With the launch of the XT4, he added, “The Cadillac rejuvenation is really taking root.” (more…)