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Faraday Future May Have a Future, After All

Start-up settles dispute with primary investor.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.07, 2019

Faraday Future has been at death's door for several months now, but a new deal with an investor may clear the way for its return to life.

Only a week ago, it seemed, EV start-up Faraday Future was down for the count. Now, however, it may have a new lease on life, after appearing to resolve a dispute with its primary investor.

That said, the California-based carmaker isn’t out of the woods. That investor, China’s Evergrande Health, has simply agreed to step back on its stake in the company. Faraday must now find a new primary investor that will help it resume operations, starting with bringing back a major portion of its workforce laid off in recent weeks.

Beyond the Headlines!

Under the agreement, the two parties will “terminate the previous investment contract, withdraw and waive all litigation and arbitration proceedings, and release all security including the asset preservation pledge and equity financing rights,” Faraday said 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.

Stay Plugged In!

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.

(more…)

Japanese Court Extends Ghosn’s Jail Time into New Year

Former Nissan Chief's custody extended until Jan. 11.

by Michael Strong on Dec.31, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is going to ring in 2019 in the same way he ended 2018: behind bars, after the Tokyo District Court extended his detention 10 days until Jan. 11.

The 64-year-old Ghosn who, according to prosecutors, committed a number of financial crimes. These initially included under-reporting about $36 million in revenue through 2015, using company funds to acquire homes in Lebanon and Brazil. He’s been in custody since Nov. 19.

Global News!

Ghosn’s had additional charges filed against him since then with prosecutors alleging he shifted personal trades to Nissan to cover losses of 1.85 billion yen, or $16.6 million. They have also indicated they may bring charges for concealing income since 2015. (more…)

Nissan Exec Kelly Released; Ghosn Still in Tokyo Detention

Late-night release comes five weeks after arrest.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.26, 2018

Greg Kelly's wife told Japanese TV that she believes her husband is a victim of a Nissan power grab.

Greg Kelly, an ousted Nissan Motor Co. executive caught up in a financial corruption scandal, has been released on bail after being held for more than a month in the Tokyo Detention Center.

Kelly was arrested Nov. 19, immediately after arriving in Japan on a corporate jet. He accompanied Carlos Ghosn, then Nissan’s chairman, as well as the head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Ghosn, who is at the center of the scandal, will remain in detention until at least Jan. 1.

Global News!

Prosecutors had also attempted to keep Kelly in custody, arguing he is a flight risk. The court ultimately ruled that he could be released on bail of 70 million yen, or $636,000. The American executive must also abide by restrictions on his movement. (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.

Breaking News!

“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.

Business News!

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

Ghosn Scandal Threatens to Fracture Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance

Japanese want Renault to examine evidence against jailed executive.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.18, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily pending the outcome of his legal proceedings.

Tensions are mounting between the French and Japanese sides of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, according to various insiders and news reports, in the wake of the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, the man who put the alliance together two decades ago.

While the Brazilian-born executive has been ousted from top management roles by both Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault has refused to follow suit while Ghosn awaits trial on allegations of financial corruption. He was charged by Japanese prosecutors earlier this month with concealing income and misusing corporate funds, but some sources believe the case really centers around growing concerns by Nissan about its relationship with Renault.

Global News!

The second-largest of the Japanese automakers is pressing its French partner to take a closer look at the evidence it claims to have gathered as part of an investigation triggered earlier this year by a whistleblower. The Reuters news service is reporting that Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa hopes to meet with his Renault counterpart, Thierry Bollore, in Amsterdam next week. (more…)

Trump Takes Swipes at GM, Barra about EV Strategy

President claims EV strategy is flawed.

by Michael Strong on Dec.13, 2018

GM CEO Barra and President Donald Trump during better days. Trump called Barra "nasty" during an interview on Fox News today.

President Donald Trump is like a dog with a bone when it comes to General Motors and CEO Mary Barra today again taking swipes at the company and its product strategy as well as Barra herself.

On an appearance on Fox News, Trump said the company’s focus on shifting to electric vehicles is poorly conceived and won’t work.

News Now!

“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that she’s doing I think is a mistake,” Trump said.  (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Expresses Interest in Closing GM Plants

Exec expresses disdain for SEC, twitter approvals.

by Michael Strong on Dec.10, 2018

Elon Musk expressed interest in buying one of the plants General Motors plans to close in the near future.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is ready to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with General Motors — again.

Not, Musk doesn’t want to challenge GM CEO Mary Barra to appear on the television game show, but he did tell reporter Lesley Stahl on the CBS news show 60 Minutes he would be willing to buy one of the plants GM plans to shut down in the near future.

Dig Deeper!

“It’s possible that we would be interested. If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over,” he said during the interview. (more…)

VW Denies Chairman Poetsch Knew About Scandal Early

VW officials say it wasn't possible for him to know early.

by Michael Strong on Dec.10, 2018

VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetisch denies having knowledge of the scope of the diesel cheating scandal

Volkswagen officials are denying reports that Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch knew about the diesel emissions cheating allegations before they were revealed by U.S. authorities in September 2015.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that Poetsch found out about the carmaker’s violations of the rules in late June 2015. He was Volkswagen’s head of finance at that time. The company was led by Martin Winterkorn, who later resigned due to the scandal.

Global News!

The paper cites a confidential presentation from the VW legal department, which was made available to investigators handling alleged market manipulation. One of the investigations centered on VW is if executives acted quickly enough and if not, was it done to manipulate the company’s value. (more…)