FOUR MORE FORMER AUDI EXECS INDICTED IN DIESEL CASE
Munich prosecutors indicted four more former Audi managers in relation to alleged cheating on diesel emissions tests. The four are accused of fraud, false certification and criminal advertising, the prosecution office said in a statement on Thursday. The names were not disclosed. Germany business newspaper Handelsblatt and Reuters had already reported on the move, citing people close to the proceedings. The indictment, directed at three former board members and one head of department who is already retired, relates to a total 434,420 Audi, VW and Porsche brands cars that were mostly sold in the U.S. and Europe, it said. The four are accused of having prompted the development of engines steered by an illegal software function that made engines produce lower emissions when operating in test conditions than when in regular driving operations. The prosecution asserts that the accused former board members knew of the practice at various times between October 2013 and September 2015 and still carried on with sales, or did not prevent them from taking place.
In addition, one of the former board members is accused of having known but kept silent about his involvement in the practices ahead of his board membership from 2016, thus fraudulently earning board member pay.
Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and three other defendants were charged last year over their roles in the cheating scandal after parent Volkswagen Group and Audi admitted in 2015 to having used illegal software.
CHEAP CARS DISAPPEAR, RELEGATING ENTRY-LEVEL BUYERS TO USED
Honda Motor Co. became the latest manufacturer to abandon subcompacts last month when it announced plans to discontinue its low-end Fit hatchback in the U.S. General Motors Co. has dropped the Chevrolet Sonic, and Toyota Motor Corp. said it will stop U.S. sales of its Yaris. All three of these vehicles' base models carry sticker prices less than $20,000 - among the most affordable new cars. Cheap entry-level vehicles once were a must for full-line carmakers, if for no other reason than to attract first-time buyers and consumers with low credit scores. The hope was they'd eventually trade up and stay loyal to the brand. But razor-thin profit margins on low-cost sedans no longer justify the investment and marketing costs to keep them at a time when many drivers are opting for sport-utility vehicles and trucks.
AUTO LOANS, LEASE DEALS DOWN 12.7% IN Q2
U.S. auto loans and lease originations - newly written loans and leases for new and used light vehicles - are down 12.7% in the second quarter from a year ago, to $135.9 billion, with the biggest drop among subprime borrowers, according to the New York Federal Reserve. Originations among borrowers with credit scores below 620, a common metric for subprime credit, are down 23.2% for the quarter, according to the New York Fed's Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit published Aug. 6.
HYUNDAI EXPECTS NEW FAMILY OF IONIQ VEHICLES TO DRIVE GLOBAL EV SALES
Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co is creating a family of electric vehicles it will sell under the Ioniq brand as part of its drive to become the world's third-largest seller of EVs by 2025, the company said on Sunday. Hyundai said the elevation of Ioniq from an individual vehicle nameplate to a brand will help support its goal of capturing 10% of global EV sales in 2025. Starting in early 2021, Hyundai said it plans to introduce three all-electric models under the Ioniq brand. They include the Ioniq 5, a midsize crossover based on the 2019 Hyundai 45 concept; in 2022, the Ioniq 6 sedan, based on the Hyundai Prophecy concept unveiled earlier this year, and in early 2024, the Ioniq 7, a large crossover.
FCA WANTS GM LAWSUIT TOSSED
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Monday asked a U.S. federal judge to dismiss a request from General Motors Co to reinstate a racketeering lawsuit against its smaller rival, comparing a recent GM filing to a "third-rate spy movie, full of preposterous allegations." Last week, No. 1 U.S. automaker GM asked U.S. District Judge Paul Borman to reopen the case, claiming it had new information on foreign accounts used in an alleged bribery scheme involving FCA and leaders of the United Auto Workers union.
HERTZ SEEKS BANKRUPTCY LOAN AS CAR RENTAL VOLUME SLOWLY RECOVERS
Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is seeking debtor-in-possession financing more than two months after filing for Chapter 11 protection, reflecting the reality that it still faces trouble ahead if travel doesn't bounce back. The bankrupt rental-car giant said in a regulatory filing Monday it is looking for new sources of cash with the travel business in a deep slump and proceeds from the sale of its cars going to pay off creditors. The company said it saw demand rise every month in the most recent quarter, but it remains below pre-pandemic levels.
BUSINESSES, NON-PROFITS CAN APPLY FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE REBATES IN B.C.
The rebates range from $1,700 to $50,000
The British Columbia government is offering rebates of up to $50,000 to businesses, regional governments and non-profit groups buying electric passenger vehicles. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston and Environment Minister George Heyman announced Wednesday (August 6, 2020) the money would come from $2 million in additional funding to the CleanBC program. The rebates range from $1,700 to $50,000, covering everything from electric motorcycles to cube trucks and shuttle buses. Heyman says it's the kind of innovation that creates jobs and makes every B.C. resident proud of what's being done to diversify the economy and fight climate change. He says transportation is a huge source of emissions and the program will help businesses switch to cleaner vehicles.
Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says B.C. has become a leader in zero-emission vehicles and is ahead of schedule in its 2030 target of reducing the use of fossil fuels. "It's very popular here in British Columbia, very widely supported and we're making very steady progress as we head towards a low-carbon economy," Ralston says.
Source: The Canadian Presso
UBER CEO THREATENS FUTURE SHUTDOWN IN CALIF. OVER LABOR LAW
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO Uber Technologies Inc., threatened to temporarily shut down service in California if it loses a drawn-out fight over a state law seeking to reclassify contractors as employees.
Before then, Uber will continue a lengthy political and legal battle it has been waging since before the law was enacted this year. The company said it will appeal a court ruling Monday saying it must reclassify drivers as employees, and then it will ask voters in November to overturn the law.
Many regular drivers are hoping to secure the same health and unemployment benefits afforded to other workers in the state. But Uber has said the labor law threatens to shut down the entire gig economy by substantially raising companies' expenses. A person familiar with Uber's deliberations described a threatened shutdown in California as a "nuclear option" that would only be used as a last resort. Khosrowshahi made his comments in a television interview Wednesday. "If the court doesn't reconsider, then in California, it's hard to believe we'll be able to switch our model to full-time employment quickly," he said on MSNBC.
Uber is asking the judge who issued the injunction to hold a hearing on Thursday for Uber to request that Monday's order be put on hold for the duration of the appeals process, according to a filing in San Francisco state court.
STAFFING WOES PUT U.S. CAR INDUSTRY'S REMARKABLE REBOUND AT RISK
On the surface, carmakers have staged a remarkable recovery toward pre-pandemic production. But within the walls of U.S. auto plants, it was incredibly challenging to pull off-and is proving difficult to sustain. Manufacturers rushed to restart assembly lines months ago because sales stayed surprisingly buoyant in the midst of the pandemic. Several companies said they restored output completely within weeks after reopening, and the industry has avoided the nightmarish outbreaks seen at meatpacking plants. But along the way, automakers have been stretched thin by absenteeism, distancing protocols, quarantines and supply-chain constraints.
VW'S FINANCE ARM TAKES $590 MILLION HIT AND BRACES FOR MORE PAIN
Volkswagen AG's financial-services division boosted provisions for credit and residual-value risks by about 500 million euros ($590 million) in the first six months and warned the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic could worsen in the second half of the year. The costs booked mainly covered U.S. operations, because other countries allow deferring some credit payments during the crisis, said Frank Fiedler, the chief financial officer of VW's lending unit. The postponement could shift ripple effects from shutdowns to the second half.
GM FACES SOME TOUGH CHOICES AS IT SEARCHES FOR A NEW FINANCE CHIEF
General Motors Co. faces a variety of challenges as it looks to recruit a new chief financial officer following the unexpected departure of incumbent Dhivya Suryadevara. Chief Executive Mary Barra and GM's board of directors have to decide whether they want an internal successor-with deep automotive and company knowledge-or an outside candidate, potentially from the technology sector, recruiters and analysts said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE TOPS FIRST INDY 500 PRACTICE ON 'DIFFERENT' OPENING DAY
If Opening Day of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is any indication, it's going to be a weird Month of May. Check that. A rather strange 12 days in August. Even no fans at the first day of practice made a difference to Indy 500 veterans James Hinchcliffe and 2008 winner Scott Dixon.
"It felt different," said Hinchcliffe, who was quickest in practice on Wednesday with a quick lap of 224.526 mph. "It felt like a test day. I was having that conversation with a couple of the guys. It just kind of felt like a full on, very full on full series test day. "Knowing that there's way fewer people than there would normally be at this point in the week, thinking ahead to Fast Friday, qualifying weekend, Carb Day, normally you see a steady escalation of people at the track each day. Just knowing you're not going to see that, this is the view we're going to have until the end of the race, it's a bit weird, a bit surreal. We certainly miss having spectators here in the stands.
"We still get to go put on a good show for them. Hopefully everybody tunes in and watches on NBC."
Hinchcliffe is driving the No. 29 Honda for Andretti Autosport, where one of his Honda stablemates is Dixon, a Chip Ganassi Racing driver who missed more than the fans on Opening Day. His favorite Taco Bell near the track was also closed down. "Yeah, as I was told many of times after turning left (coming out of the track), I should have turned right, go to the one closer to the 465 there," Dixon said. "I know that well and have been there many times, so I'm in good times."
Dixon actually did find a few positives in the era of COVID-19 at IMS. "It was very easy getting into the circuit today," he said. "It was very easy to go to the restroom. I didn't need to remember my Sharpie at all. There were definitely a whole lot of differences."
Hinchcliffe is running a partial schedule this season for Andretti. The 500 will be just his third start of the season. It will also be he second start at Indianapolis, as he finished a solid 11th at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the speedway's road course on July 4. He's hoping for another good day on August 23 for the 500. And he hopes the right folks are there to see it. He would like nothing better than getting some buzz going that could lead to a return to full-time status next season. "Never hurts," Hinchcliffe said. "A strong result in the 500 is an important thing. Being known as someone that can compete well here is going to make you an asset to a race team and sponsors as well. "We go out and try to perform well in every race. We go out and try to benefit our team in every race. This one's no different. We'll take the same approach we've been taking. If it goes well, yeah, hopefully it plays into our favor for next year."
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