Fremont, You Have A Problem, And It Starts With An M

Of course, this article was not really posthumously written by a Francesco Sagredo who died near 400 years ago. Feel free to speculate about the real face behind Francesco.

Under Elon Musk’s leadership Tesla’s Model X arrived two years late and subjected the company to six months of self described production hell, only to tie for last place in Consumer Reports’ luxury SUV ratings with a score of 59/100 (Nov 2016). Delays for the falcon winged albatross will allow the Chevy Bolt and second-generation Nissan Leaf to both beat the Model 3 to widespread availability by the end of the year. Tesla’s quality has been poor, the UAW is circling, and Mr. Musk recently tweeted about mixing alcohol and Ambien (zolpidem) — a drug combination not only dangerous in its own right, but that increases the risk of long-term zolpidem addiction. How is this man still Tesla’s CEO? [Continue Reading]

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.

More in Forbes.

 

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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Volkswagen’s Service Chief In Japan Booked For Drugs

Japan’s auto industry has another high-profile drug case to gossip about, as a top executive of Volkswagen Japan was arrested yesterday for alleged drug use. Per Japan’s national public broadcasting corporation NHK , the man, identified as German national Thomas Siebert, age 53, admitted using cocaine. You are finished when you do that in Japan.

According to this and subsequent reports in major Tokyo media, police received a tip-off from the customs office in nearby Yokohama. When customs inspected incoming overseas mail, “what seems to be drugs” was found. Police and customs raided the house of the German executive in Tokyo’s swank Akasaka district.

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Top 10 Global Automakers: PSA Out, Daimler In

April brings back a more familiar look to the list of the world’s 10 largest automakers, measured by actual registrations: Volkswagen is back in the lead, with Toyota and the Renault-Nissan Alliance not far behind. Surprise: Daimler kicks PSA Peugeot-Citroen off the list.

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China’s New Rules: Tesla Must Stay Home, Used Car Factories Go Up In Price

China has effectively closed its doors to any new carmakers wanting to produce in the world’s largest automakers, a report in Beijing-based business publication Caixingglobal said. Capacity expansion by domestic automakers, and by joint ventures with overseas OEMs, also will be heavily curtailed.

China’s powerful state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) outlined projects that won’t get its approval under the policy, “covering most new investments for car production,” Caixing said.

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