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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Dieselgate 2.0: Porsche And Audi Caught Using Sophisticated Defeat Devices

Volkswagen definitely is gunning for the “habitual cheater” title. Apparently, no lessons were learned when VW was involved in the biggest, and definitely most costliest cheater scandal the auto industry has ever seen. Volkswagen AG has (so far) “agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, U.S. states and dealers, and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting vehicles,” wrote Reuters. Volkswagen subjected itself to intrusive oversight, it even offered six mostly mid-level managers as sacrificial lambs, and vowed to go forth and sin no more.

A few months later, the sinning continues, and it has reached new levels of sophistication, reports from Germany suggest. The reports already are talking about “Dieselgate 2.0.”

Lucy In The Sky With Ambien: Tesla’s Elon Musk At New Highs

“A little red wine, a vintage record player, some Ambien. Magic happens,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk at yesterday’s shareholders meeting. Supposedly, it was in reference to his Twitter habits, but it easily works as the bottom line for most of yesterday’s presentation, a séance with all the signs of mind-altering drugs in action.

Yesterday’s major announcement was that the Model Y small SUV will come out in 2019, and that it will be built in a completely new factory, away from Tesla’s existing Fremont location. If you listened closely to Musk’s May conference call with analysts, you already know that, but apparently, very few people did listen closely.

A year ago that factory was completely out of the question.

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Tesla’s Big China Chances Indefinitely On Hold

“China is Tesla’s most lucrative opportunity,” wrote the Business Insider. A new report makes it look like that opportunity has been lost. “China plans to halt issuing permits to produce electric vehicles because of concern additional approvals may lead to a glut in the world’s biggest auto market,” wrote Bloomberg. Without permits, no Chinese production. Without Chinese production, no chance to gain relevance in a market surrounded by high custom barriers, and subsidies that favor domestics. Without the world’s largest EV market, no chance for Tesla to maintain scale and relevance in the world.

There have been occasional rumors of Tesla starting production in China, and each time, it turned out as wishful thinking. Chinese production never was as easy as the many  — always false — rumors made it sound.

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