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VW Faces Existential Decision as CEO Demands Stronger Support

Volkswagen Group has a tough decision to make: Is it ready to shed its bureaucracy and labor entanglements for the sake of long-term viability, or not?

CEO Herbert Diess has put the question to the company’s top leadership—its supervisory board’s executive committee—by demanding an early extension to his current contract, which won’t expire until 2023.

Resistance and Inertia

Diess is frustrated by the pushback he continues to encounter after arriving from BMW in 2015 to streamline the group. His mission, dubbed Transform 2025+, is to usher the company into a future of electrification and advanced personal mobility, both of which will inflict significant damage to VW’s hourly headcount.

No surprise that VW’s powerful works council, led by ...READ MORE

LMC Automotive
GM, Nikola Revise Plans...Sans Electric Pickup and Equity Stake

Nikola has dropped plans for its Badger electric pickup truck after a proposed agreement with General Motors, which was to build the truck and supply its battery and fuel cell technology for it, fell through.

Instead, the companies announced a new memorandum of understanding to collaborate on Nikola’s planned Class 7/8 semi-trucks.

This supersedes and replaces the “strategic alliance” Nikola and GM announced on Sept. 8. That deal, which began unraveling a few weeks later, was to include a GM equity investment and engineering services deal worth as much as $2 billion into the Arizona-based startup.

Bigger Model, Smaller Deal

The revised plan calls for GM to supply its Hydrotec fuel cell system to Nikola’s previously announced heavy-duty trucks. The companies ...READ MORE

AutoBeat
Lunewave Touts Enhanced Radar

Lunewave, a Tucson-based startup, is moving forward with plans to commercialize advanced radar technology that the company claims will provide significant performance—six times the resolution and twice the distance—and cost benefits over current systems.

The company says it is in talks with several potential Tier 1 supplier partners and hopes to announce a deal by next March. That would put it on track to launch the radar for use in low-volume applications by mid-2022, according to CEO and co-founder John Xin.

Leveling Up

The first applications will target emerging Level 3-5 autonomous driving systems for robo-taxis, last-mile delivery vehicles, construction trucks and other specialty models.

Lunewave also is developing a base system that can be used for current advanced ...READ MORE

AutoBeat
Maserati Turns 106 and Makes a Movie

One hundred and six years ago, the Maserati brothers—Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto—established a company in the heart of Bologna, Alfieri Maserati.

To mark that occasion, the company has created a short film, “Maserati from A to Z,” that includes quick clips of the vehicles carrying the trident badge, in an array of settings, from the track to the factory to two-lane roads. Cars classic; cars contemporary.

And it ends with a look at some of the cars of the marque’s future.

The music is “The Chase” by Giorgio Moroder, but a special “Maserati Mix.”

Maserati CEO Davide Grasso said on the occasion of the video: “We’re proud to have shown that our present is guided by the audacity of those who look to the future with ...READ MORE

AutoBeat
Hyundai Readies Racy EV Platform

Hyundai’s first chassis designed specifically for electric vehicles is no slouch.

The company boasts that the high-performance version of its new
E-GMP (electric global modular platform) can scoot from zero to 62 mph in less than 3.5 seconds, reach a top speed above 160 mph and travel more than 310 miles per charge.

Hyundai has already used the rear-drive E-GMP to underpin a pair of concept vehicles: the swoopy Prophecy sport sedan in April and angular “45” crossover vehicle in 2019.

Ioniq Rollout

The “skateboard” chassis will debut in production form next year in the Ioniq 5 electric crossover. That model will be followed by the Ioniq 6 midsize sedan in 2022 and Ioniq 7 large sedan in 2024.

The new chassis is highly modularized and ...READ MORE

AutoBeat
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