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Tesla Cutting 7% of Workforce, Warns “Road Ahead is Very Difficult”

Move comes days after cuts at CEO Musk’s SpaceX announced.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.18, 2019

Tesla chief Elon Musk, in atter to employees announced plans to cut 7% of the company's workforce.

Warning that Tesla faces some serious challenges, despite delivering a solid third-quarter profit, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans to cut 7% of the battery-carmaker’s staff in a letter sent to employees on Friday.

All told, that would work out to about 3,150 of the people who work at Tesla’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, plants in Fremont, California, and Reno, Nevada, and other facilities. The move comes just days after Musk outlined plans to cut 10% of the workforce at his SpaceX rocket company.

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“I want to make sure that you know all the facts and figures and understand that the road ahead is very difficult,” Musk said in the memo sent to the Tesla workforce, adding that, “While we have made great progress, our products are still too expensive for most people.” (more…)

No-Shows, But Tesla and Musk Still Have Strong Presence at NAIAS

But can California carmaker survive the new onslaught of competition.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.17, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype Model S in 2010, the last time he attended the NAIAS.

Battery-electric vehicles may still account for less than 1% of the U.S. new vehicle market, but they have had a notable presence at this year’s North American International Auto Show – something that many credit to a manufacturer that was notably absent from Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center: Tesla.

Cadillac made a major splash during the first media preview of this year’s show, when it not only revealed the new XT6 utility vehicle but announced that it will be the first General Motors brand to use the automaker’s new all-electric platform for another SUV debuting in 2021.

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Electrifying!

Throughout the show, automaker’s either revealed new battery cars and concepts or outlined their plans for an electrified future. Volkswagen, for one, announced plans to invest $800 million to add production of two new all-electric models at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Key Message Lost in GM’s Plant Closing Announcement, Barra Says

Company offered jobs to all 2,700 employees affected.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.17, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra told the Automotive News World Congress that she understood why people were upset by GM's plans to close five plants.

General Motors fumbled its recent announcement about its plans to close plants in the U.S. and Canada, GM’s top executive acknowledged.

During an appearance at the annual Automotive News World Congress, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the timing of the announcement in November that the company planned to close plants in and around Detroit, Lordstown, Ohio, Baltimore and Oshawa, Ontario, was driven by the change in customer preferences away from cars and to SUVs.

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“Having been at General Motors for 38 years, I feel a huge obligation to make sure that General Motors is successful not just a for a few years. I want GM to be successful for many, many decades,” Barra said. (more…)

New President, New Strategy for Infiniti

Luxury brand wants to downsize its ambitions.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Infiniti's new boss, Christian Meunier, plans to streamline the luxury brand's product portfolio.

Nissan’s luxury division Infiniti has a new president. And Christian Meunier has a new strategy for the brand, one that downsizes the marque’s line-up but which he is confident will also make Infiniti more nimble and responsive to changing consumer trends.

The automaker offered a hint of where it is going during a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday – or at least it tried to. But the QX Inspiration Concept vehicle didn’t want to cooperate, refusing to budge from its hiding spot behind the stage. It was eventually towed out almost two hours after the event ended.

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Glitches aside, the electric concept vehicle is meant to showcase a variety of trends Infiniti is looking at, including autonomous and electrified technologies, as well as the shift from conventional sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. While the timing for Infiniti’s first self-driving vehicle to reach market is uncertain, it intends to “electrify” all of its models by 2021, whether using pure battery-electric power or as plug-in hybrids. (more…)

Jaguar Land Rover Cutting 4,500 Jobs in Europe

Brexit, dying diesel sales and slow sales in China driving cuts.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.11, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth said the company was facing struggles due to Brexit and other industry issues around the globe.

Jaguar Land Rover is preparing to eliminate about 4,500 jobs worldwide as it responds to the decline of demand for diesels, the slowdown in the sales of new vehicles in China and the drag on sales created by Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, known as Brexit.

While Jaguar Land Rover enjoyed a good year in the U.S. with sales rising 7%, the company, which is the United Kingdom’s largest automaker representing roughly 10% the company’s workforce, is implementing a plan to reduce costs by $3.2 billion.

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The effort was announced last year as part of a series of moves toboost cash flow through 2020. JLR already eliminated 1,500 jobs in 2018, the company said Thursday in a statement. (more…)

Oil-Rich Norway is the Land of the Battery-Electric Vehicle

BEVs generated a third of country’s new car sales, a record, in 2018.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.02, 2019

Picture courtesy Norwegian Electric Vehicle Assoc.

Norwegians have roundly embraced EVs.

It has massive offshore oil reserves that have helped fuel its economy, but as far as millions of Norwegian motorists are concerned, they’d rather spend their money on an electric vehicles.

Battery-cars accounted for a record 31.2% of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian nation last year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation, up from 20.8% in 2017. And the shift away from gas and diesel is only expected to accelerate as Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of vehicles using internal combustion engines by the middle of the decade.

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Last year’s surge “was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

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Unifor Puts Pressure on GM in New Advertising Campaign

Ads have a pointed message for the company.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.02, 2019

Unifor President Jerry Dias said the new advertising campaign is designed to get GM to change its mind about the Oshawa, Ontario plant.

Unifor, the union representing autoworkers in Canada, has launched an advertising campaign attacking General Motors’ decision to shutter plants and idle workers.

Jerry Dias, Unifor president, the successor to the old CAW, hase advertising campaign objective is to force GM to reconsider the decision to idle an assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, on an industrial site with a history of vehicle building stretching back more than 100 years.

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The Unifor ads are scheduled to appear in Canada and the U.S. and appeared even as GM was airing an expensive advertising campaign during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays that featured GM “employees,” touting Chevrolets. (more…)

Tesla Pushing Midnight Sales to Clear Backlog of 3K Model 3s

Musk offers big incentives to Tesla employees to buy a new car.

by Michael Strong on Dec.31, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk is looking to sell Model 3s all the way til midnight to make sure buyers get the full $7,500 tax credit.

Two nights ago, Tesla boss Elon Musk sent out a tweet telling his millions of followers that there was 48 hours left to buy a new EV and still qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit from the U.S. government.

Nothing wrong for being a shill for your company and its products on social media, but it’s becoming more clear as to why he was so motivated to try to drum of up sales for a company that supposedly has a lengthy waiting list for new Model 3 sedans.

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Tesla has more than 3,000 Model 3s left in inventory in the United States as of Sunday, according to website Electrek, which cited people familiar with the matter. (more…)

UAW Contract Talks to Determine Fate of Lordstown Plant

Automaker leaves door open to saving at least one of three threatened assembly plants.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.20, 2018

Could the Lordstown, Ohio plant be spared? Contract negotiations between the UAW and GM could bring it back to life.

Workers at General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio plant may have reason to hope their prayers will be answered.

The automaker is dangling the possibility that the factory – one of five it plans to shutter next year – could be salvaged when GM and the United Auto Workers Union sit down to negotiate a new, five-year contract next summer.

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“Plant closings are a matter of negotiations between GM and the United Auto Workers,” spokesman Pat Morrissey told TheDetroitBureau.com. “At this point, the plants are ‘unallocated,’” which, under the language of the current union/management contract, means there is still the possibility GM will move forward and allocate new product there as part of the next agreement. (more…)

Senators Pressuring GM to Halt $14B Stock Buyback Plan

Stopping buybacks gives company some of $5B saved from closures.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.19, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra is feeling more heat from three U.S. Senators demanding the company stop its $14 billion stock buyback program.

General Motors political woes aren’t getting any better as three members of the U.S. Senate have launched an attack on the company’s stock buybacks.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) are pressing GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra to eliminate future stock buybacks, in light of recently announced layoffs in the United States.

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Companies generally buy back shares to improve shareholder returns on their investment. (more…)