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FCA Shuffling Top Execs as Marchionne’s Retirement Looms

Changes in top posts has some wondering who will take CEO's post.

by on Feb.06, 2018

Dodge passenger car boss Tim Kuniskis with the Dodge Demon during a background briefing.

With the choice of a new CEO to replace the soon-to-retire Sergio Marchionne looming ahead for the company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. made a series of executive changes aimed at filling key changes.

Tim Kuniskis was named Head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands globally. Kuniskis, a 26-year veteran of FCA, most recently served as head of passenger car brands in North America, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and SRT.

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Prior to that role, he held a series of positions in U.S. sales business centers as well as in the Dodge and Fiat brands.  (more…)

Ferrari Will Ride Hybrid, SUV Sales to Debt-Free Status

Marchionne says new vehicle sales will make company debt-free a year early.

by on Feb.02, 2018

Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company will be debt-free sooner than expected.

What Oprah Winfrey is the giving away free cars, Sergio Marchionne is to promising to make automakers debt-free!

Marchionne told investors in a conference call today that the Italian sportscar maker will be debt-free a year earlier than he predicted, while pushing earnings to $2.5 billion by 2022. The sweater-wearing leader told FCA investors that the company would be debt-free by the end of the year.

The Last Word!

He believed that the increased production levels and coming products, especially hybrids, EVs and the sport-utility vehicle will drive the increase in earnings. (more…)

VW Fires Exec Who Ok’d Diesel Emission Tests on Monkeys

VW “drawing the consequences” of the disclosure about the tests.

by on Jan.31, 2018

VW fired a top executive for his role in testing the effects of diesel emissions on monkeys.

A new scandal at Volkswagen AG already has claimed one company’s top representatives.

Thomas Steg, head of external relations and sustainability, was relieved of his duties after acknowledging that he knew the company was using live monkeys to test the effects of emissions from diesel vehicles.

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Steg, a former government spokesman, who worked for German chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, is the first person to be relieved of his duties as VW said it was “drawing the consequences” of the disclosure about the tests, which have rocked the German car industry and government.  (more…)

Nikola Picks Phoenix for $1B Hydrogen Semi Truck Plant

Company will begin construction on 1 million square-foot plant later this year.

by on Jan.31, 2018

Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton talks about the company's plans to build a $1 billion facility near Phoenix for its hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

The competition to produce electric semi trucks is getting a little more intense with Nikola’s announcement that it plans to build a $1 billion, 1 million-square-foot facility just outside Phoenix to build its hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

The company claims to have 8,000 pre-orders for its two trucks, the Nikola One and Nikola Two. The One is a sleeper cab while the Two is a day cab only. The plant is expected to be complete by 2024, although it’s not clear when company will begin producing trucks before then.

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“We will begin transferring our R&D and headquarters to Arizona immediately and hope to have the transition completed by October 2018,” said Trevor Milton, CEO and founder, Nikola Motor Co. (more…)

Ford China CEO Luo Resigns

Sudden departure leaves automaker with big hole to fill in important market.

by on Jan.30, 2018

Ford China Chief Jason Luo resigned suddenly just five months after taking the job.

After a poor year in China last year, Ford Motor Co.’s 2018 isn’t getting off to a better start with the resignation of Jason Luo, chairman and CEO of Ford China. The resignation takes effect immediately.

Luo joined Ford just five months ago from Key Safety Systems, and was expected to help the automaker find sustainable growth in the country. Ford came to China late and has been playing catch up. After a strong year in 2016, Luo was expected to help turnaround a difficult 2017 and 2018.

Global News!

“Jason made valuable contributions in accelerating our electric vehicle strategy, exploring opportunities to provide future smart mobility solutions for customers in China, and identifying ways to become more operationally fit,” said Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president, Ford Asia Pacific. “We are grateful for Jason’s service to the company and wish him all the best in the future.” (more…)

UAW Disputes Iacobelli’s Chrysler Stock Sale Claim

Former FCA VP claims to have scripted UAW leader's response to stock sale.

by on Jan.30, 2018

General Holiefield, left, UAW vice president, and Alphons Iacobelli, right, former FCA union negotiator.

The United Auto Workers has flatly rejected the claims by a former Fiat Chrysler Automobile executive, who has plead guilty federal felony charges, that he influenced a critical decision about FCA’s restructuring.

As part of the plea agreement, Alphons Iacobelli, former FCA vice president of labor relations had to admit to his crimes, including the making illicit payments to officials of the United Auto Workers to influence union negotiations.

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UAW President Dennis Williams flatly denied the illicit payments to the late General Holiefield, the former head of the union’s Chrysler Department, and union’s top negotiator with FCA, had any influence on the 2011 contract negotiations, which were restrained by a “no-strike” clause that was imposed as part of the government bailout of the automaker. (more…)

California Wants 5 Mil Zero-Emissions Vehicles on Road by 2030

Governor outlines $2.5 bil ZEV plan.

by on Jan.29, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to see 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2030.

California wants to see at least 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on state roads by 2030 and Governor Jerry Brown has outlined a $2.5 billion plan to hit that target.

The program would echo steps being put in place by several other countries that either already have or are, at least, considering moves to entirely ban use of the internal combustion engine. And it would run counter to steps being considered by the Trump Administration that may roll back the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

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On Friday, Brown signed an executive order “to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California.” (more…)

Tesla Denies Reports of More Model 3 Production Snags

Slow ramp-up expected to yield weak earnings for Q4.

by on Jan.26, 2018

Tesla CEO Musk had high hopes for Model 3 when it was unveiled at this splashy event.

Tesla is denying reports that it continues to face major manufacturing issues delaying the critical ramp-up of Model 3 production, an issue that could lead to a serious cash crunch in the months ahead.

The automaker launched its first mainstream, long-range model last July, but what CEO Elon Musk described as “production hell” resulted in serious delays last year, and according to new reports , production isn’t accelerating nearly as quickly as Musk and other senior executives had promised. Some of the biggest issues, according to company insiders quoted by CNBC, involve the Gigafactory plant in Nevada that produces batteries for the Model 3.

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For its parts, Tesla is describing the report as “extremely misinformed and misleading,” and a statement added that, “To be absolutely clear, we are on track with the previous projections for achieving increased Model 3 production rates that we provided earlier this month.” (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Doubles Profit in 2017

CEO Marchionne says company will be debt-free by end of Q2.

by on Jan.25, 2018

Sergio Marchionne said FCA will be debt-free by the end of the second quarter of this year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. profits nearly doubled in 2017 as a more profitable model mix helped overcome a sales decline in North America.

“We were the only leveraged automaker in the world. We no longer are leveraged,” said FCA Sergio Marchionne, who said the company plans to outline new four-year plant on June 1. FCA will not only be debt-free this year, it will also have 4 billion euros in cash reserves.

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“I’m really looking forward to 2018,” he said. “FCA is well positioned to be a top performer.” (more…)

Ford Hourly Workers Getting $7,500 Profit Sharing Checks

This year's amount is lower than last year's $9,000 payout.

by on Jan.25, 2018

Ford announced it will be paying out profit sharing for 2017 averaging $7,500.

Ford Motor Co. expects to distribute profit sharing checks, averaging $7,500, to hourly workers despite the decline in the company’s earnings in 2017.

Ford posted a full-year net income for 2017 of $7.6 billion, which will result in $7,500 profit-sharing checks for an estimated 54,000 hourly workers covered by the United Auto Workers contract, the automaker said.

Union News!

The profit-sharing checks were roughly $1,500 less than the $9,000 payouts from a year ago and reflected the impact of higher costs for materials, particularly for the aluminum, which is a key ingredient in the company’s F-150 pick-up truck, which is at the heart of the company’s product line and profitability. (more…)