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Archive for the ‘Regulatory’ Category

Toyota CEO “Sad” About Being Declared “National Security Threat,” But Plans $3B More in U.S. Investments

Tariffs actually could backfire and see investment plan cut back, warns top Toyota official.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda called the prospect of his company being called a "national security threat" by the Trump administration "sad."

Toyota plans to boost by $3 billion its investment in the U.S. market, a decision that comes as the automaker – and other foreign-based brands – are facing the possibility of huge new tariffs from an American president who has labeled them a “national security threat.”

That designation is something that “makes feel sad,” Akio Toyoda, the Japanese giant’s CEO, said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Washington. “I hope that this kind of conversation can go away,” the grandson of Toyota’s founder said through an interpreter.

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Separately, the head of Toyota’s North American operations cautioned that those planned investments, which include $749 million to upgrade existing plants in five states, could be cut back if the Trump administration moves ahead with tariffs, something experts have warned could actually result in lower U.S. car sales and a sharp loss of automotive jobs. (more…)

SEC Suing VW, former CEO, for ”Massive Fraud” in Emissions Cheating Scandal

Lawsuit "legally and factually flawed," the automaker responds.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn faces legal problems in Germany, as well as the U.S.

Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to end a scandal triggered by its cheating on diesel emissions testing just took a turn for the worse, the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing both the automaker and former CEO Martin Winterkorn of committing a “massive fraud” on U.S. investors.

The automaker has acknowledged it used “defeat devices” to rig its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests and has so far laid out over $30 billion in fines and settlements. It is still facing other legal headaches, including a separate lawsuit by investors and ongoing investigations in Europe, one resulting in the arrest and jailing of the former CEO of its Audi subsidiary. But it responded to the latest challenge by declaring the SEC lawsuit “legally and factually flawed.”

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The SEC lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, claims the automaker and former CEO Winterkorn concealed the depth of the scandal – and the potential penalties – from both investors and federal regulators. The Thursday complaint noted that in the year before the cheating was discovered and publicized by the EPA Volkswagen issued $13 billion in bonds and securities in the U.S. Those value of those financial devices were directly impacted once the carmaker’s subterfuge was revealed.

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As Tesla Model Y Debuts, Musk Asks: Do You Think We’re “S3XY”?

New Model Y to be offered in four distinct versions – but economy buyers will have to wait.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

The Tesla Model Y is likely to look quite familiar to fans of the earlier Model 3 sedan.

The long-awaited Tesla Model Y made its formal debut on Thursday night, with CEO Elon Musk declaring it takes an already attractive line-up and makes it “S3XY.” The inside joke adds the new electric SUV to the automaker’s existing line-up of Models S, 3 and X.

But there’s a serious side to the launch. Tesla continues to struggle to right its balance sheet, plunging back into the red this quarter after earning money during the second half of 2018. The Model Y is expected to become Tesla’s best-seller, Musk declared, telling his audience “we’ll do more Model Ys than S, X and 3 combined.” And that includes not just the U.S. but also China, where Tesla is struggling to get a foothold in the world’s largest market for battery-electric vehicles.

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The Model Y will be one of the vehicles Tesla plans to produce once it opens up a new plant in Shanghai later this year. That will give it a way to hold costs down and also to sidestep any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

(Here’s our Model Y preview. Click Here to see how close we came.)

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Trump Administration Takes Credit for Fuel Economy, Emissions Improvements

Average fuel economy improved year-over-year, emissions dropped.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.08, 2019

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler argues that the CAFE changes are getting cleaner, safer cars onto the road faster than under the Obama rules.

The Trump administration is arguing that its deregulation polices are helping reduce the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emitted by automobiles.

In a report issued this week, Trump’s EPA said auto manufacturers continue increasing fuel economy and reducing pollution through innovation.

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Andrew Wheeler, the new head of the EPA, said the latest edition of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Automotive Trends Report underscores the administration’s contention. (more…)

GAC Chairman Says Company Pushing US Entry Back Again

He blamed tariff uncertainty and brand name problem: Trumpchi.

by Michael Strong on Mar.08, 2019

GAC Motor President Yu Jun (center) says the company will be ready to enter the U.S. market in 2020. That entry time has been delayed again to later in the year.

Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group has once again delayed its entry into the U.S. market due to President Donald Trump’s implementation of tariffs as well as the man himself.

During the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, GAC officials said they were pushing back their timetable to sell vehicles in America, looking to begin now sometime in early 2020 rather than late 2019.

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However, GAC Chairman Zeng Qinghong told reporters at China’s annual parliament meeting in Beijing Friday that it would be even longer now, not establishing a time frame. He mentioned the uncertainty surrounding tariffs – discussions between the U.S. and China are ongoing – but also something personally tied to the president: his last name, sort of. (more…)

Honda Leads the Pack in Fuel Economy, Emissions

Twelve of 13 top automakers showed improvement.

by Michael Strong on Mar.07, 2019

Honda leads all automakers in fuel economy rankings, according to a new EPA report.

If you’re looking for a real gas miser of a vehicle, start with Honda. The Japanese automaker is the most fuel-efficient automaker in America says a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Honda has the highest fleet average fuel economy and lowest carbon dioxide emissions of any major automaker for the 2017 model year, the latest year for which full data is available, according to the report.

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Mazda had previously held the title for three consecutive years, and came in second behind Honda. Hyundai, Subaru and Kia round out the top five when it came to fuel economy numbers. (more…)

Volvo to Limit Speed of All Future Models to 112 MPH

Move to address “dangers of speeding” comes as part of Vision 2020 safety plan.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.04, 2019

Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said to improve the safety of its vehicles, they will be limited to 112 mph starting in 2021.

As part of its plan to prevent all deaths in future products, Volvo said Monday that it will limit the top speed to a maximum 180 kmh, or 112 mph starting with all models produced in 2021.

The automaker has laid out a strategy, dubbed Vision 2020, that aims to prevent all deaths and serious injuries in its products. It has been rolling out an assortment of passive and active safety features to help reach that goal, but sees the new self-imposed speed limit as a critical element in reaching its target.

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“Because of our research, we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.” (more…)

Ford Investigates Potential Errant Fuel Economy, Emissions Testing

Automaker hires outside law firm to lead query.

by Michael Strong on Feb.22, 2019

Ford employees began questioning the results of fuel economy and emissions testing on the 2019 Ranger.

Ford Motor Co. may be suffering from déjà vu, the automaker announcing it is in the midst of self-imposed investigation of its fuel economy and testing procedures that may have produced incorrect mileage and emissions data.

The query has been going on since last fall and began when several employees voiced concerns about the process and the resulting data. The automaker is quick to point out that these potential problems do not involve cheat devices like those used by Volkswagen AG or other automakers.

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Kimberly Pittel, Ford’s group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told Reuters the investigation began with the test results for the 2019 Ford Ranger. The company is evaluation alterations made to the testing process and calculations used to determine fuel economy and emissions results submitted to federal regulatory agencies. (more…)

Musk Says Tesla to Have Driverless Car Ready This Year

CEO says regulators will determine when vehicle's can be self-driving.

by Michael Strong on Feb.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company's vehicles would be able to be run without a driver by the end of this year.

Elon Musk continues to push the narrative that Tesla Inc. will have vehicles ready to operate without a driver by the end of this year.

Tesla’s CEO made the claim during the company’s recent earnings call and repeated it on a podcast hosted by two executives at ARK Invest, which is an investor in Tesla.

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“I think we will be feature complete – full self-driving – this year,” Musk said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.” (more…)

Honda Recalls 106K Ridgeline Trucks

Faulty fuel lines may crack and cause a fire.

by Michael Strong on Feb.20, 2019

Honda recalled more than 106,000 Ridgelines due to a fuel pump problem.

Owners of dirty Honda Ridgelines are being told to not wash their trucks as part of a recall of more than 100,000 2017-2019 model year trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for 106,683 of the vehicles because they could catch fire after being washed. The acid from car wash soaps could cause the line in the fuel pump feed to crack.

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If fuel leaks from the line, that significantly increases the odds the truck will catch fire. The problem was uncovered in January, but the recall won’t begin until March 7. (more…)