Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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VW exec Schmidt pleads not guilty, but must stay behind bars, judge says

Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt will remain behind bars as an extreme flight risk even after not-guilty pleas were entered on his behalf during his arraignment Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Schmidt, 48, faces 11 felony counts in connection with VW’s nearly decade-long effort to subvert U.S. environmental regulations when it came to the company’s diesel-powered vehicles. If convicted, he could face up to 169 years in federal prison, prosecutors said in January.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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Tesla's cash burn raises concerns on Wall Street

Elon Musk is burning through cash and may need to raise more soon to produce the mass-market electric sedan Tesla Inc. is banking on to reach the mainstream consumer. A capital raise would provide more cushion to the smallest and youngest publicly held U.S. automaker, which has huge expenditures planned ahead of introducing the Model 3 sedan in July. Tesla burned through cash in the fourth quarter and expects to spend as much as $2.5 billion in the first half of the year before fielding its first mass-market car.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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PSA takes first steps to U.S. market entry with ride-sharing service

PSA Group will be a partner in a ride-sharing service set to begin in April at airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles, taking the first steps toward re-entering the North American market. TravelCar, a French company that offers peer-to-peer ride-sharing at airports and train stations in Europe, is launching the service after securing an investment of 15 million euros ($15.8 million) from PSA and MAIF, a French insurance company. Under TravelCar's business model, car owners can receive free parking in return for allowing their vehicle to be rented by travelers, at rates the company says are 50 percent lower than traditional car rentals.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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Toyota's giant hydrogen leap gets an assist from Shell

Royal Dutch Shell Plc will build seven fueling stations for hydrogen cars in California through a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp., laying down their latest bet on the demise of the internal-combustion engine. The stations will nudge the state closer to its goal of having 100 retail sites by 2024 where hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can fill up. The California Energy Commission is considering $16.4 million in grants toward the stations, with Shell and Toyota contributing $11.4 million.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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VW softens some cost cut demands, workers say

Volkswagen Group has rowed back on some demands for larger cost cuts than previously agreed with unions at its core VW brand, the company's labor bosses works, as both sides seek to end a dispute over implementing a turnaround plan. The carmaker's works council earlier this month halted cooperation with VW brand management on issues such as raising weekly hours for engineers and limiting apprenticeships after accusing executives of pushing for savings beyond those agreed in the brand's so-called "future pact." But the works council said management had abandoned some demands, including scrapping a night shift on the Golf hatchback's assembly line and tightening performance-based pay rules.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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BMW, Mobileye in deal to collect map data for self-driving cars

Israel's Mobileye and German automaker BMW said they signed an agreement to install Mobileye's data generation technology in BMW cars starting with 2018 models. The deal to crowdsource real-time data using vehicles equipped with Mobileye's camera-based driver assist technology is critical for enabling autonomous driving through high definition (HD) maps aimed at making driving safer and more efficient, the companies said in a statement. BMW has said it aims to put a fleet of 40 self-driving test vehicles on the road in the second half of this year.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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Self-drive legislation could sideline small players

Several states are considering legislation that could exclude technology companies from operating self-driving vehicles within their borders. The draft legislation, referred to in some states as Safe Autonomous Vehicle acts, would allow only vehicle manufacturers to test self-driving fleets in the state. Companies such as Uber and Waymo, which are developing autonomous driving systems but not the vehicles themselves, claim the stipulation is restrictive and gives legacy automakers an unfair advantage.

[Auto Week]

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Industry Interests, Litigation
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VW's $1.2B 3-Liter Emissions Deal Gets Hearty Approval

A California federal judge rewarded attorneys with Valentine's Day flowers and the preliminary approval of a class action settlement worth at least $1.22 billion concerning 80,000 3.0 L Volkswagen cars implicated in the automaker's emission cheat scandal.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer also gave his initial blessing Tuesday to a $372.5 million deal between drivers and parts manufacturer Robert Bosch GmbH for the auto parts manufacturer’s role in designing the emissions cheat software.

[Law360]

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Industry Interests
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Congress revs up debate over self-driving cars

Congress is revving up debate over the regulation that will be necessary for self-driving cars for the first time under President Donald Trump. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will convene a panel to discuss the “road to deployment” that will include representatives from General Motors, Volvo, Toyota and Lyft. Additionally, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, is partnering with Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, to launch “a joint effort to explore legislation that clears hurdles and advances innovation in self-driving vehicle technology.”

[Detroit News]

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Industry Interests
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Alfa, Fiat dealers fight the factory

More than 20 Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealers in California have filed protests against Fiat Chrysler after the automaker substantially rewrote their franchise agreements in December. Among those filing protests are the dealerships owned by the chairman of the FCA National Dealer Council.  Not all of the protests are identical, but they do contain common themes.

[Automotive News]

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