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Musk Facing Justice Department Probe

Feds looking into possible “fraud” in aborted privatization effort.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the focal point of investigations by the Department of Justice as well as the SEC.

Elon Musk now says he may try to hitch a ride along with the Japanese billionaire who plans to buy a ride on a SpaceX rocket trip around the moon.

Considering the mounting legal problems facing the 47-year-old executive, the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, Musk may need to find a way out of town in the near future.

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Musk and Tesla are now facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department looking into his brief flirtation with taking the California carmaker private, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating that aborted move. Separately, Musk is facing lawsuits in both Los Angeles and London filed by a British diver who the South African-born executive has accused of being a “pedo,” or pedophile, as well as a “child rapist.” (more…)

New Ferrari CEO Camilleri Lays Out New Five-Year Plan

Iconic automaker building new ute and supercar in next five years.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Ferrari's new five-year plan appears to follow the road map that recently deceased CEO Sergio Marchionne laid out.

Ferrari’s new CEO Louis Camilleri unveiled the iconic brand’s latest five-year plan that could be described as doing what it does best while ensuring it keeps an eye on the future.

Camilleri was only recently installed in the top spot after the unexpected passing of Sergio Marchionne laid out a near-term future that revives some of the company’s past, but also keeps the promises Marchionne made.

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“Our objectives are ambitious, but they are based on a meticulously constructed model pipeline, our enviable pricing power and appropriate investment levels,” Camilleri told investors. (more…)

Careful What You Ask For: Musk Sued by Diver He Disparaged

Tesla CEO wondered why he hadn't been sued yet.

by on Sep.18, 2018

After pushing for lawsuit from diver Vern Unsworth, Tesla CEO Elon Musk got what he wanted – in London and Los Angeles.

Adding to the many headaches facing Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO has now been sued by a British diver that he has accused of being a pedophile.

In July, the 47-year-old executive got into a Twitter war with Vernon Unsworth earlier this year when Musk offered to send a mini-sub to help rescue members of a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave. Unsworth derided it as a publicity stunt and suggested Musk shove the sub where the sun doesn’t shine.

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Musk responded by declaring Unsworth “pedo guy,” slang for a pedophile. “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk tweeted to his 22.5 million followers. He followd it up adding, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.” Musk also declared that, “I fucking hope he sues me.” (more…)

Lucid Secures $1 Billion Investment from Saudis

PIF looking for a hedge as it expands the value of the fund.

by on Sep.17, 2018

Lucid executives were on the hunt for additional investors, and struck a $1 billion with the Saudis.

After being seen as the key to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s now-dead plans to take the EV maker private, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is now investing $1 billion into EV start up Lucid Motors.

The new pact gives Lucid the cash it needs to kick off production of its first-ever model, the Air, in 2020, at its plant in Arizona. Lucid officials have said the new model will cost about $60,000.

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It’s widely believed the Saudis have been searching for ways to hedge against its oil exports for some time now, explaining the earlier dalliance with Tesla and Musk. The two sides had talks about the fund backing Musk’s plan, which could have required more than $40 billion from the Saudis. (more…)

Ford Promises to be More Transparent About Turnaround

But analysts still wonder what it’s planning.

by on Sep.13, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett hasn't been entirely transparent about his plans to revamp the company.

When Jim Hackett was named CEO of Ford Motor Co., following a senior management shake-up last year, he promised to spend the next 100 days studying the company’s strengths and weaknesses to devise a clear turnaround strategy.

A year later, however, analysts and investors are still wondering what’s in store. The company has announced a few key elements of its plan, starting with the announcement that it will all but abandon the passenger side of the U.S. new car market to focus on the more profitable SUVs, CUVs and pickups that have come to dominate the sales charts.

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Confusion about where Ford is heading with a turnaround plan it now values at $25.5 billion has translated into a sharp slump in its stock price, shares falling by more than a quarter this year, barely nudging the $10 mark all summer. Meanwhile, Ford’s debt rating has tumbled to just a bare step above junk status. (more…)

Volkswagen AG’s Legal Woes Continue to Expand

Automaker enduring two diesel-scandal lawsuits in Germany.

by on Sep.13, 2018

Former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is accused of failing to provide info about the diesel scandal soon enough.

Volkswagen AG’s legal woes from the fallout from rigging of diesel emissions tests continue to expand as it faces a class action lawsuit courtesy of a new law in Germany designed to protect the interests of consumers.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations, or Vzbv, said it would undertake “pioneering work” with motorists’ lobby group ADAC, or General German Automobile Club, by filing for damages on behalf of Volkswagen owners with diesel engines.

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The class action was made possible after the German cabinet approved a law that allows consumer protection organizations to litigate on behalf of the consumers, avoiding the high costs of individual lawsuits.  (more…)

Investor Suit Against VW AG Gets Underway in Germany

Shareholders seeking $10.4 billion in damages.

by on Sep.11, 2018

The $10.4 billion investor lawsuit against Volkswagen AG is underway in Germany.

The trial to determine if Volkswagen AG executives disclosed critical information about the diesel scandal to investors in a timely manner has gotten underway.

Investors are seeking almost $10.4 billion, saying Volkswagen had not provided information they needed to decide what to do with their shares before the scandal became public.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused Volkswagen in September 2015 of manipulating diesel emissions, sending the shares sharply lower. The scandal also stranded billions of dollars in investment in diesel technology and shifted the entire industry’s trajectory away from diesel and toward battery electric vehicles. (more…)

Volvo Backs Out of IPO Due to Trade and Market Conditions

Trump's ongoing tensions with China and Europe push decision.

by on Sep.10, 2018

Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said that trade tensions between the U.S. and China as well as the EU were one reason to halt its IPO.

President Donald Trump’s seemingly ongoing trade war with, well, everyone as well as a less-than-robust period for auto stocks has forced Volvo Cars to put off its initial public offering — for now, anyway.

Volvo Cars, which is owned by China-based Geely, previously announced it was considering the IPO to help raise funds for additional research and expanding of production. However, the current trade tensions between the U.S. and China as well as the European Union has forced a rethink.

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“We’ve come to the conclusion that the timing is not optimal for an IPO right now,” Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters by telephone on Monday.  (more…)

Musk Lights Up – But Tesla Shareholders Are Turned Off

Increasingly erratic behavior raises concerns about Musk's leadership.

by on Sep.07, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to court controversy, smoking a joint on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast.

Elon Musk has always generated plenty of buzz, but he may have taken it to new highs this week, sipping whiskey and lighting up a joint during an appearance on California comedian Joe Rogan’s widely followed podcast.

Unfortunately, Tesla shareholders seem to be having something of a bad trip, the 2-1/2 hour interview just the latest in what some see as increasingly erratic behavior by the carmaker’s chief executive. And investors aren’t alone.There has been an escalating exodus of talent from Tesla in recent months, including the July departure of its chief engineer.

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On Friday morning, two more top executives, including its human resources director and its chief accountant revealed they are joining an escalating exodus of top Tesla talent. (more…)