More Than A Million Mercedes Diesel Cars Could Lose Their Type Approval, Court Said

Western Europe’s diesel car share “has continued its seemingly unwavering downhill slide,” the exclusive AID newsletter told its industry customers. In the course of one year, the diesel take rate dropped from 54.7% in France to 48.2%, and in Germany from 46.3% to 40.4%. Threatened by lock-outs from Europe’s inner cities, new car buyers seek the relative safety of gasoline cars. Prices of used diesel cars are dropping, writes Germany’s Welt. New developments could turn the diesel-flight into a stampede: A German court said that more than a million of Mercedes-Benz diesel cars could lose their type approval, and would be illegal to drive if Daimler AG is found guilty of using illegal defeat devices.

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Germany Arrests, U.S. Indicts Fired Audi Dieselgate Engineer

German authorities no longer treat Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal as a gentlemen’s offense, like they have done so since after the scandal erupted nearly two years ago. Earlier in the week, suspended Audi diesel engine engineer Giovanni Pamio was arrested by Munich’s prosecutors, Germany’s BILD and Spiegel Magazin wrote today. Yesterday, the manager was charged in the U.S. with conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements. Pamio is an Italian citizen, and as such could be extradited from Germany.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance To Electrify China’s Trucks And Vans

Accompanied by the usual media crescendo, albeit without putting his words into action, Tesla’s Elon Musk has been talking a lot about launching electric trucks, and starting production of EVs in China. World’s leading EV maker, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, again is way ahead of Tesla, on both counts. Not only does the Alliance already have a few hard working electrified commercial vehicles in its blue collar portfolio. The Alliance also has firm plans to produce many of them in China, Ashwani Gupta, Alliance senior vice president of a recently created Renault-Nissan LCV Business Unit, told me.

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Top 10 Global Automakers: Daimler Out, PSA In, Ford Up, Hyundai-Kia Down

Many changes in the May ranking of list of the world’s 10 largest automakers, measured by actual registrations: January through May, Ford kicks Hyundai Kia off place 4, FCA overtakes Honda, PSA Peugeot-Citroen kicks Daimler off the top 10 list. The top 3 ranking is unchanged with Volkswagen leading Toyota and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

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Salaries Of Top Automaker CEOs. Here Is The List

Nissan’s annual shareholder meeting is as uneventful as most of them. Nonetheless, it remains one of the highlights of the Tokyo auto beat, if only because at the meeting, the annual pay packages of the world’s top auto industry CEOs are exposed.

If you went to the Pacifico in Yokohama, where the meeting was held this morning, then you could witness old traditions being upheld. Shareholders with questions were selected at random, as always. As always, a shareholder questioned the pay of now Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn. As always, Ghosn answered that Nissan is a global automaker with a world class multicultural team, and that such a team must be paid in tune with other OEMs, or else it will be snagged by a more generous competition.

And as always, a Nissan flack appeared on cue in the balcony where the reporters were kept, and the traditional handout with a compilation of CEO compensations was distributed. Nissan traditionally retains the Willis Towers Watson consultancy, which supplies the handy table each year.

On this table, Ghosn makes a rather sedate $9.9 million a year, while Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne tops the list with an obscene $29.5 million.

Also traditionally, it went unmentioned that Ghosn collects another $7.8 million salary as the CEO of Renault, along with a so far unknown salary as the Chairman of Mitsubishi.  Added together, Ghosn’s pay is right there with the average salaries of captains of the auto industry. And why not.

As tradition wants it, Nissan shareholders approved the recommendations of management by acclamation, and the meeting was adjourned.


Today, Toyota Unveiled ‘The Safest Car In The World.’

When it comes to leading-edge technology, one of the world’s smallest, and one of the world’s biggest automakers don’t share the same opinion. Tesla thinks technology should allow cars to drive from San Francisco to Manhattan, all by themselves. Toyota thinks that technology should stop cars from killing people.

More than 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, 3,400 deaths a day on average, says the W.H.O., stating that “tens of millions of people are injured or disabled every year, children, pedestrians, cyclists and older people are among the most vulnerable of road users.” Today, Toyota showed cars that have the lives of those children, pedestrians, cyclists and older people as their first priority.

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The Race Is On For The New Mitsubishi Motors CEO

Osamu Masuko, President of Mitsubishi Motors today opened the race for who will succeed him in leading the company in the future. “We will change the traditional seniority system,” Masuko told a small group of reporters, assembled at the company’s Tokyo HQ today. Flanked by Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Carlos Ghosn, Masuko said that his company “decided to allow the CEO selection among all corporate officers, because it is better to select from a wider pool.”

Mitsubishi Motors became a member of the Renault-Nissan Alliance when Nissan achieved control of the company last year. Ghosn said today that retaining Masuko as the president was one of his conditions to buy a controlling interest in Mitsubishi Motors. Subsequently, key positions of Mitsubishi Motors were filled with former Nissan execs. Nissan veteran Trevor Mann was made COO, Nissan’s former R&D chief Mitsuhiko Yamashita joined Mitsubishi, Datsun chief Vincent Cobee followed as head of product. Masuko, aged 67, said that “the new president should be responsible for the total business from April on.” He did not specify which April.

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The Road From High-Octane To High-Tech Is Dangerous. Father Of ‘Tesla-Beater’ Jaguar Says Why

At a recent conference in Taipei, covering the fringes of cars and high-tech, a bespectacled, white-shirted man climbed on stage, and announced that his car “is not a Tesla fighter. It is a Tesla beater.” Of course, my interest was piqued. I grabbed Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, father of the upcoming Jaguar I-Pace electric car, and in a backroom of a place called “Woolloomooloo Out West,” I asked Ziebart “holes in the belly,” as he complained. Read everything about the beautiful I-Pace, about fab-less automakers, about why OEMs can’t wait for OTA, why they don’t dare to use it, and why horizontal is the new vertical.

Who is Ziebart? “I am not a petrol-head,” claimed Ziebart.”I am a technology head.” He is a bit of both. Remember the now classic BMW “e46” BMW Dreier? That was Ziebart’s baby. Ziebart was chief of BMW’s R&D, and later CEO of the German chip giant Infineon. Ziebart became Engineering Director of Jaguar Land Rover in summer of 2013, when Tesla had barely begun selling its Model S in earnest, and when most automakers looked on in a mixture of amusement and disdain. Only a few months later, the I-Pace was conceived, over Dover sole.

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