Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
Industry Interests
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Car Industry Players Diverge on Timescale for Self-Driving Cars

Carmakers and suppliers gave widely differing timelines for the introduction of self-driving vehicles, showing the uncertainties surrounding the technology as well as a split between cautious established players and bullish new entrants. Chipmaker Nvidia, facing direct competition with the world's top chipmaker after Intel's $15 billion deal to buy autonomous driving technology firm Mobileye this week, gave the most optimistic predictions. Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang forecast carmakers may speed up their plans in the light of technological advances and that fully self-driving cars could be on the road by 2025.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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Uber to seek arbitration in Waymo self-driving case

A lawyer for Uber told a federal judge  he intended to file a petition to compel arbitration in the Waymo trade secrets theft case, citing an agreement signed by a former Waymo employee who is at the heart of the case. Waymo, the self-driving division of technology giant Alphabet, sued ride services company Uber last month, alleging it stole proprietary trade secrets and used them to quickly scale up its autonomous vehicle program. In both parties' first appearance before U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, Arturo Gonzalez, a lawyer for Uber, said an employment agreement signed by Anthony Levandowski when he worked at Waymo has a "very broad arbitration provision" that should be used. 

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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California ready to pursue clean car standards as Trump brakes

Automakers hailed President Donald Trump’s call for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review and possibly dial back car fuel efficiency standards. But California sees things differently. California plans to move ahead with tougher car pollution rules for 2022-2025, which the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama hastily approved before Trump took office. 

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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BREAKING: EPA, DOT Take Aim At Auto Emissions Standards

he leaders of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation said Wednesday they will revisit Obama-era standards on greenhouse gas emissions for 2022 to 2025 model cars and light trucks, a win for automakers that said the standards were too tough to meet.

The announcement is a rebuke to the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the transportation sector and deal with climate change, and again shows the Trump administration’s commitment to easing regulatory obligations on industry.

[Law360]

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Industry Interests
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Intel, betting big on driverless cars, is buying Mobileye for $15 billion

As self-driving cars edge closer to street-legal status, technology companies don’t want to be left out.

Computer chipmaker Intel Corp. reached for its share Monday with the $15.3-billion purchase of Mobileye, a small Israeli company that creates vision systems for cars and trucks. The two will combine their expertise to develop self-driving systems for automakers, technologies that combine computer chips with sensors and software to make driverless cars possible.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Industry Interests
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Volkswagen pleads guilty in U.S. diesel emissions scandal

Volkswagen pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a brazen scheme to get around U.S. pollution rules on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles by using software to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests.

The German automaker has agreed to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties — the largest ever levied by the U.S. government against an automaker — although VW's total cost of the scandal has been pegged at about $21 billion, including a pledge to repair or buy back vehicles.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Employment
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Pay Plan Modification Alert: All Commission-Based Compensation Plans Must Separately Account and Pay for Rest Periods

On February 28, 2017, in Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture LLC, a California Court of Appeal found that employers are required to separately calculate and pay compensation for rest periods for employees receiving commission based pay. The plaintiffs in Vaquero were commission-based salespeople at a furniture store. Each pay period, they received sales commissions plus, if necessary, a draw against future commissions bringing pay to at least $12.01 for each hour worked in the pay period. Their compensation agreement did not provide for separate compensation for non-sales time or for rest periods. The plaintiffs filed suit alleging failure to provide paid rest periods.

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Industry Interests
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Trump to Undo Vehicle Rules That Curb Global Warming

The Trump administration is expected to begin rolling back stringent federal regulations on vehicle pollution that contributes to global warming. The announcement, expected Tuesday, is a U-turn from Obama-era regulations on tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide.

[New York Times]

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Industry Interests
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VW exec Schmidt pleads not guilty, but must stay behind bars, judge says

Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt will remain behind bars as an extreme flight risk even after not-guilty pleas were entered on his behalf during his arraignment Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Schmidt, 48, faces 11 felony counts in connection with VW’s nearly decade-long effort to subvert U.S. environmental regulations when it came to the company’s diesel-powered vehicles. If convicted, he could face up to 169 years in federal prison, prosecutors said in January.

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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Tesla's cash burn raises concerns on Wall Street

Elon Musk is burning through cash and may need to raise more soon to produce the mass-market electric sedan Tesla Inc. is banking on to reach the mainstream consumer. A capital raise would provide more cushion to the smallest and youngest publicly held U.S. automaker, which has huge expenditures planned ahead of introducing the Model 3 sedan in July. Tesla burned through cash in the fourth quarter and expects to spend as much as $2.5 billion in the first half of the year before fielding its first mass-market car.

[Automotive News]

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