TTAC News Round-up: Volkswagen Finished Second in China, Big Trouble for Takata, and Apple's Longtime Car Guy Gone

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Volkswagen’s chief in China says they’re probably not retaking the crown from General Motors there anytime soon.

That, Apple’s lead car guy is gone, Takata’s in trouble and more … after the break!

Volkswagen’s China chief: ‘Volume isn’t everything’

Volkswagen’s chief in China said the automaker would have a good year in China and deflected any sales race with General Motors by saying “volume isn’t everything,” according to Reuters.

Jochem Heizmann, head of Volkswagen in China, told reporters that the company would focus on resale and residual values in the country — not sheer numbers.

GM surpassed VW last year in sales last year in China, according to the report. It may stay that way this year.

Longtime Apple car exec leaving

A longtime Apple executive for projects including the iPod and iPhone, and reportedly head of the company’s automotive division, is leaving the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Steve Zadesky, a 16-year Apple veteran and former Ford engineer, is leaving the company for personal reasons not related to performance, according to the report.

Zadesky reportedly led the company’s secret project “Titan” since 2014. His departure could be a setback for the secretive tech company who may be stockpiling auto industry veterans for an upcoming car — or massive dance party. We’ll never know because Apple doesn’t tell us anything.

Storm causes delays for plants, auto show

General Motors and Toyota closed their plants in Kentucky ahead of Winter Storm Jonas, according to Automotive News.

Toyota shuttered for the weekend its Georgetown, Kentucky plant, which produces the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES 350. GM closed its Bowling Green, Kentucky plant that makes the Corvette for the weekend ahead of the storm that will reportedly bring more than 12 inches of snow to the area.

Similarly, the Washington Auto Show’s public days over the weekend were postponed for the storm. The auto show is scheduled to reopen on Monday.

Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky plant was not affected by the storm.

10th fatality confirmed; five million more cars added to massive Takata recall list

Regulators added 5 million more cars to the massive list of cars affected by faulty Takata airbags, Reuters reported. The total number of faulty cars in the U.S. has grown to more than 24 million, with the number of faulty inflators growing to 28 million.

In announcing the additional affected cars, regulators also confirmed that a 10th person has been killed by the defective airbag inflators. Officials say a Georgia man was killed Dec. 22 by a faulty airbag in his Ford Ranger truck.

Cars affected for the first time include Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Saab. Additional Ford, Honda and BMW cars were added to the recall list on Friday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website for vehicles affected by the Takata recall hasn’t yet been updated with the list of new cars, which isn’t very helpful.

The additional recalled vehicles are another blow to the troubled automotive supplier which brings us to …

Takata will ask for automaker bailout, potential merger

Beleaguered airbag maker Takata may ask Japanese automakers to bail out its troubled business and merge with Daciel to continue to make airbag inflators, Reuters reported.

Takata’s top executives are planning to resign including CEO Shigehisa Takada, who has been criticized for not handling the crisis effectively, according to the report.

Last year, Takata was fined $70 million by U.S. regulators who said the fine could grow to $200 million if the company didn’t comply with terms of the order. Automakers such as Toyota and Honda backed away from the massive automotive supplier last year after the announced fine.

A spokesman for Daciel didn’t confirm the report, but said they “are discussing ways to work with Takata to supply safe (airbag) inflators, although we have not decided on any details,” according to Reuters.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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8 of 15 comments
  • George B George B on Jan 23, 2016

    I've never understood the logic of what vehicles are included in the Takata airbag recall list. Looks like it might be a defective design problem, not a "bad batch" problem. I'd really like to know if my 1999 Honda Accord uses air bags of the same design as the recalled 2001 models or if there was a part change later in the model run.

    • See 5 previous
    • JimZ JimZ on Jan 23, 2016

      @JimZ yeah, I think I'm with you. at this point the mandate should be "if it's a Takata-made inflator charged with ammonium nitrate, it is assumed to be dangerous and is recalled."

  • RHD RHD on Jan 23, 2016

    A message from a friend of mine in China about this news: "Like in U.S., in China we know Volkswagen is 'Number Two'. And Foster's Lager is 'Number One'!"

  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
  • Big Al from Oz Musk and Trump are of the same ilk, except Musk's IQ is a damn site higher than Trumps. Musk like Trump is only into himself. Musk doesn't care about Trump only Musk. Musk sees more dollars if Trump wins.Hey, I'm Big Al again!3
  • Rover Sig We have a car with two fake exhausts in the bumper, but a large shiny muffler visible hanging down on one side, not aligned with the fake exhaust exits. Horrendous. I had to paint the shiny muffler with high-temp black paint to make it less visible. Exhaust pipes were meant to be round and hang below the bumper, and they can be made quiet or loud as the engineers like. But fake exhausts rank down there with fake intake vents on the side of that old Buick.
  • EBFlex Of course it does. What a silly question