By on January 23, 2016

Signing ceremony for VW’s Foshan plant in China. Picture courtesy Volkswagen AG

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!

Der neue Volkswagen Satana (China)

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.

29 - Jackson the Standard Poodle in snow - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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.

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15 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Volkswagen Finished Second in China, Big Trouble for Takata, and Apple’s Longtime Car Guy Gone...”

  • avatar

    “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.”

    I’m sure that the deal has already been done but it would be interesting to have seen the bidding between the tech companies and the auto companies. I won’t be surprised if he ends up back at Ford.

  • avatar

    VW is the Tommy Flanagan of the automotive world.

    2015 – We’re going to be volume leader…everywhere…in every market. We’re going to be #1 in the world, yeah!

    2016 – GM surpassed us in sales? Well, sales volume isn’t everything. Its about residual value…and…and resale. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    • 0 avatar

      Residual and resale on a VW, don’t make me laugh, At least GM can maintain a decent semblance of residual on their good vehicles. Without the diesels VW only offers nostalgia.

    • 0 avatar

      ” Well Sales volume is not everything” very very true, making a decent profit on sales is. Something GM was not doing before it went into bankruptcy

  • avatar

    Curious – can the NHTSA simply do a blanket recall at some point of all Takata airbags in all vehicles and just be done with the death of a thousand cuts by shrapnel?

    When people ask me about used car recommendations I’m now to the point of putting on the list:

    A) Did it come with Takata airbags
    B) Was the recall repairs completed
    C) Is it a model impacted by the vehicles that were recalled, but still had questionable airbags put in as part of the recall

    If the Japanese government bails them out – they’re softer than the softest politician in ‘merica.

    • 0 avatar

      “If the Japanese government bails them out – they’re softer than the softest politician in ‘merica.”

      count on it.

      Japanese business culture is quite unique. It also frequently clashes with the rest of the world; a big reason Japanese auto suppliers have been hit with so many price-fixing prosecutions is because the collusion they simply consider “business-as-usual gentlemen’s agreements” run afoul of anti-trust laws in the west.

      contrast that to this country, where the automakers had to have DOJ clearance just to speak to each other to figure out what they were going to do about this Takata mess.

  • avatar
    George B

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m curious too. I have a 2011 Ranger, and the interior is largely unchanged from the ’04-06. I’d like to know who made the inflators in my truck, and if it’s Takata how soon should I expect it to be added to the list.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        Affected Ford models: 2004–2006 Ranger; 2005–2006 GT; 2005–2014 Mustang

        • 0 avatar

          that’s not the question I was asking.

          • 0 avatar

            Which is part of my earlier point. Just because it isn’t recalled, you don’t know if you have a Claymore mine in your steering wheel and dashboard.

            Do owners have a right to know?

            Does the NHTSA have the power to just say rip out all Takata airbags and replace them with some other brand?

            I think they’ve reached the tipping point where they should provide a list of all vehicles with Takata airbags in them.

            It isn’t like the Firestone blowout issues (either time) when you can walk out, look at your tires and go, “oh Firestone XXX,” guess this is a problem.”

          • 0 avatar

            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.”

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      Part changes were constant. Allegedly everything started around 2002-ish, when Takata switched to a cheaper / less pure propellant. Quality control issues at the manufacturing plant started to crop up around this same time; bad welds and literal garbage have been found inside dissected Takata airbags from the mid ’00s.

      Full list:

  • avatar

    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’!”

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