Category: High Finance

By on September 24, 2015

Winterkorn on a pure plugin. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Ousted Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn could receive up to $67 million after leaving the automaker on Wednesday, depending on how his exit pay is calculated.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Winterkorn had amassed at least $34 million in his pension by 2014 (was stock included?) and his exit pay would be roughly two years of his current former $17 million annual compensation.

He’d also be entitled to a company car. There are plenty he could choose from right now.

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By on September 23, 2015

Martin Winterkorn in Shanghai - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Five senior members of Volkswagen’s supervisory board are meeting Wednesday to discuss the future for the automaker after stock prices have plummeted and the company has publicly acknowledged it cheated worldwide emissions tests, the BBC reported.

The smaller Wednesday meeting is ahead of a regularly scheduled full board meeting Friday, where members are expected to discuss the contract extension to 2018 for CEO Martin Winterkorn. According to reports, Winterkorn’s future may be decided before Friday’s meeting.

Winterkorn issued a video statement in German on Tuesday apologizing for the scandal, but stopped short from resigning from the top VW post. The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Winterkorn would be replaced this week.

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By on September 21, 2015

Subaru of Indiana

Subaru said Monday it would invest $140 million at its Lafayette, Indiana plant to expand production and add 1,200 more jobs at the facility. The announcement is only two years after the growing Japanese automaker said in 2013 they would spend $400 million at the plant to build its Impreza in the U.S. by 2016. Read More >

By on September 21, 2015

Picture courtesy Volkswagen

More than $17 billion has been erased Monday from Volkswagen’s value in shareholders’ eyes as the company awaits more fallout from news that the company cheated through emissions tests.

Volkswagen’s stock dropped more than 20 percent Monday after the German automaker announced it would stop sales of its diesel cars on Sunday. New CEO Martin Winterkorn issued a statement Sunday to apologize:

I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter.

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By on September 17, 2015

General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Two sources have told Reuters that the government will levy a $900 million fine on General Motors for its failure to recall and subsequent attempts to cover-up of faulty ignition switches linked to at least 124 deaths.

Criminal charges will be filed against GM for its role in hiding the defect from regulators, but will defer prosecution while the automaker complies with its penalty. The agreement is expected to be announced Thursday.

The massive fine is smaller than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid in March 2014 for its role in concealing that its cars could accelerate suddenly.   Read More >

By on September 15, 2015

Sergio Marchionne. Photo courtesy Toledo Blade.

Representatives from the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed Tuesday to extend their contract on an “hour-by-hour” basis, Reuters reported. Workers reported Tuesday for their morning shifts, but those workers could walk out at any time if talks stall.

On Monday, it became clear that the UAW would set its sights on FCA and their larger share of Tier 2 workers — workers hired after the recession at a lower hourly wage — as the union aims to “bridge the gap” between the two tiers.

According to the report, the union may opt to strike, stage a limited walkout or continue negotiations if talks reach an impasse.

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By on September 6, 2015

Sergio Marchionne - FCA

Speaking at the Formula One Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters that a merger with General Motors was at the top of his list.

“That discussion remains a high priority for FCA,” Marchionne told Reuters. “We consider it to be the best possible strategic alternative for us and for them. General Motors does remain the ideal partner for us and we represent a not easily replaceable alternative for them.”

(Emphasis mine. But what are the other “strategic alternatives?”)

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By on September 5, 2015


Reports out of Germany indicate that ousted chairman and current majority owner of Volkswagen’s parent group, Ferdinand Piech, may have tampered with the board nomination to replace him.

Piech may have prevented current VW CEO Martin Winterkorn from becoming chairman after the two’s public feud ultimately resulted with Piech’s abrupt resignation in April, Reuters reported.

If true, the backroom dealings would indicate that while Piech may not be overseeing VW anymore, he still wields significant influence on its operations and leadership.

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By on September 3, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Porsche Automobil Holding SE announced Thursday that it would propose its CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch to succeed Berthold Huber as chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board. The proposal was supported by Volkswagen AG.

Huber was appointed interim chairman for the German automotive giant after Ferdinand Piech was ousted in a dustup among leadership.

The announcement comes only a few days after Volkswagen said it extended its contract with its current CEO, Martin Winterkorn, for two more years and effectively ending his bid to replace Piech. Winterkorn and Piech publicly feuded over VW’s direction, eventually leading to Piech’s surprise resignation as chairman in April.

As a member of the board of majority shareholder in VW’s parent company, Porsche SE, Piech voted alongside the rest of the board unanimously to approve Poetsch as proposed chairman.

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By on September 3, 2015

UAW Member Assembling Corvette in Bowling Green Circa 2015

Automakers may try to negotiate a massive health care co-op with the United Auto Workers — similar to the one it has with its retirees — and potentially change private health care in the U.S., Bloomberg is reporting.

At issue are the roughly 300,000 workers and beneficiaries, and 750,000 retirees and their families who rely on the UAW for health care.

The pool of more than one million workers and their families could give the Big Three unprecedented negotiating power with U.S. hospitals and clinics.

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