Archive for the ‘Personalities’ Category

Audi CEO Stadler Arrested as Germany Expands Diesel Emissions Probe

As many as 20 current, former Audi employees now under investigation.

by on Jun.18, 2018

German prosecutors have arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, though no charges have yet been filed.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been “provisionally” arrested, the luxury arm of Volkswagen AG confirmed Monday morning, as the German government probe into emissions rigging by VW and the Audi subsidiary continues to expand.

Nearly a dozen executives and managers from the vast Volkswagen Group empire have been indicted since the automaker was first charged in September 2015 with rigging various diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. Several have already been convicted in the U.S., though others have fled to Germany where they cannot be extradited. But as many as 20 others are now under suspicion as Germany moves forward with its own investigation, according to the Associated Press.

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“Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was provisionally arrested this morning,” VW’s largest luxury brand said in a statement Monday morning. It added that “the presumption of innocence remains in place for Mr. Stadler.”

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NAFTA Talks Halted — For Now

Talks on hold until after Mexico's presidential election July 1.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Trade representatives from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. agreed to halt talks until after July 1.

The North American Free Trade Agreement isn’t dead — yet.

The laborious pace of talks which has resulted in several missed deadlines for completion will continue, according to Canada’s top negotiator, Chrystia Freeland.

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“We decided … to continue our negotiations on NAFTA,” Freeland said after meeting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington D.C. (more…)

Diesel Scandal Continues to Grow With New Daimler Recall

Company order to recall 238K vehicles in Germany.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche attempted to assuage concerns of investors about diesel engines during the company's annual meeting.

The diesel cheating scandal is almost three years old, but it just seems to keep getting bigger.

Daimler AG has been hit by the German government with an order to recall 238,000 vehicles in Germany after they were identified has being equipped with illegal software that hide diesel emissions.

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In all, there are a total of 774,000 diesel vehicles across Europe, containing the so-called “defeat devices” software and Daimler indicated it would recall all of them Daimler said it would refit the software but denied any wrongdoing. (more…)

GM Names Suryadevara to Replace Stevens as CFO

Company now one of a few with women in CEO, CFO roles.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Dhivya Suryadevara becomes General Motors chief financial officer on Sept. 1.

General Motors Co. tapped 39-year-old Dhivya Suryadevara to take over one of the company’s senior executive positions, making the company part a select group with women in the role of CEO and CFO.

GM appointed Suryadevara as Chief Financial Officer, effective Sept. 1, 2018. She will report to Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO, the company said.

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Suryadevara replaces Chuck Stevens as GM executive vice president and CFO, who has elected to retire after more than 40 years with the company, effective March 1, 2019. will remain with the company as an adviser until his retirement. (more…)

Electrifying Jaguar I-Pace Sets a Benchmark Even Tesla Will Have to Clear

Performance, handling, style and spaciousness come together to redefine the BEV.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Whether on a track or a back country road the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is a real game-changer.

I have seen – and driven – the future, and it is electric.

And I found it in a place you normally wouldn’t go looking, Faro, in the heart of Portugal’s Algarve region. When my plane touched down there, earlier this week, I was looking forward to some pleasant driving time. It’s beautiful countryside with lots of winding, lightly traveled mountain roads that pass through pastoral villages almost lost in time. As for the vehicle I’d crossed the ocean to test out, the new Jaguar I-Pace was, if nothing else, distinctively styled, both inside and out. Whether it would deliver that sometimes intangible concept we describe as “fun-to-drive” was going to be the real question.

When the first mass market battery-electric vehicles came to market early in this decade, about the most you could say for them was that they were environmentally friendly. They were slow, stodgy and required you to keep a constant eye on the range gauge lest you find yourself stranded miles from home. Tesla kicked it up a big notch by offering range comparable to a gas-powered vehicle and, with the optional Ludicrous Mode, blindingly fast acceleration. That said, the Models S, X and 3 each have their shortfalls. For most of us, they’re still not quite serious alternatives to conventional vehicles.

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The I-Pace, on the other hand, changes the equation. It is easy to fall back on clichés when trying to describe Jaguar’s first all-electric model, but it truly is electrifying, and by virtually every measure, it not only sets a benchmark for future battery-electric vehicles but also shows that BEVs can pose a direct challenge to conventional gas-powered models when it comes to not only design, interior space, comfort and utility, but performance and handling, as well.

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Chicago Gives Go to Musk’s Boring Co. for Underground Link to O’Hare Airport

System would take just 12 minutes for 16-mile route, slashing travel times, hassles.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Elon Musk's The Boring Co. won the bid to build a new high-speed tunnel from downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport.

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. has received tentative approval from the City of Chicago to build a link from downtown to its suburb-based O’Hare Airport using skateboard-like pods that could move both vehicles and individual passengers.

The Boring Co. beat out bids by a number of other transit companies, but negotiations still have to be completed before work can begin on the venture which would be privately, rather than publicly funded. It would be “transformative,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement, and that likely goes for the new company launched by Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.

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“We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!” the Boring Co, tweeted after the city confirmed the discussion had moved to the next phase. (more…)

With AMR, Aston Rapide Gets a Little More Rapid

205 mph sedan is fit for street or track.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The Aston Martin Rapide AMR was first shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

Aston is no slouch when it comes to performance, but it’s in the midst of amping things up another notch with the help of its motorsports operations, Aston Martin Racing.

Appropriately, fast on the heels of the new DB11 tune-up, it’s pulling the covers off the Rapide AMR, a production version of the concept first shown at the 2017 Geneva Motors Show. If you happened to get a look at the prototype, it turns out, you’ll have a good idea what will soon be hitting the street – and the track, as many buyers will likely be finding ways to push the performance version of Aston’s sedan to its limits.

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The new performance models, Aston explained in a statement previewing the Rapide AMR, “draw a direct engineering and aesthetic link between the company’s successful race team and its road cars. As such the Rapide AMR is a sports car capable of comfortably transporting a team of race drivers to a circuit on the other side of a continent and then tackling the track when they get there.” (more…)

GM Impacted Already by Rising Costs Due to Trump Tariffs

CEO Barra says no changes planned yet.

by on Jun.12, 2018

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra talks with media prior to the start of the 2018 General Motors annual shareholders meeting.

Tariffs on aluminum and steel are already beginning to push up costs General Motors top executive acknowledged before the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Detroit.

GM is beginning to see cost increases as a result of the tariffs imposed on aluminum and steel by the Trump administration, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marry Barra said Tuesday ahead of the company’s meeting.

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Barra told reporters that the trade negotiations are still incomplete so it is difficult to have a complete picture of the impact of tariffs will have on the General Motors or the automobile industry in general.  (more…)

Tesla Slashing Up to 9% of Workforce

Up to 3,000 likely to lose jobs, but assembly, battery-plant workers expected to be spared.

by on Jun.12, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees that the company would lay off 9% of the workforce in a letter.

Tesla will lay off as many as 3,000 workers, or nearly 9% of its workforce, in a bid to reorganize and address endemic problems, according to a letter sent by CEO Elon Musk to company employees.

The first layoffs reportedly were set to take effect this week, according to website Electrek, which obtained a copy of the letter. The automaker subsequently confirmed that the layoffs will take place, but emphasized that production workers will be spared, the cuts targeting the salaried side of a workforce that grew to around 30,000 after last year’s acquisition of Solar City.

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If anything, Tesla has been trying to expand the workforce at both its Fremont, California assembly plant and Reno, Nevada Gigafactory in an effort to finally put production of the critical Model 3 battery-sedan on track. Musk recently said Tesla is on track to roll out about 5,000 of the vehicles a week by the end of this month, a roughly 250% increase from the end of the first quarter – though still well below its original target. (more…)

Despite Concerns, Safety Probes, Musk Promise “Full Self-Driving” Autopilot to Debut in August

But CEO Musk doesn’t explain what that actually means.

by on Jun.12, 2018

According to a new tweet from Tesla CEO Musk, products like the new Model 3 may soon be updated with full "self-driving" capabilities.

Tesla Version 9, an apparently major software update to the operating system used for the automaker’s vehicles, will debut in August and, according to CEO Elon Musk, add “full sell-driving” capabilities to the controversial Autopilot system.

The news, announced in a Musk tweet late Monday, comes at a time when earlier versions of the semi-autonomous Autopilot system have come under intense scrutiny. A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board has raised serious concerns about how it functioned in the moments leading up to a fatal crash of a Tesla Model X SUV in California earlier this year.

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But Musk has repeatedly downplayed such concerns — even pointing his finger at owners who may not have used Autopilot properly – while promising a far more advanced version of the system was coming. And in his late Monday tweet, Musk said, “to date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety (but) with V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.”

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