New Tesla Fire Manifests in Belgium

A Tesla Model S suffered a total meltdown after being connected to one of the company’s proprietary Supercharger stations in Antwerp, Belgium. While details are scant, local reports state the driver simply went to charge his automobile and returned to a burning wreck a short time later.

Considering the fire department had to totally submerge the ruined vehicle in a pool of water to ensure the car didn’t reignite, the odds of uncovering exactly what went wrong appear slim. But it wasn’t all that long ago that Tesla was pushing over-the-air updates to mitigate a rash of fires that cropped up in the United States and Asia over the past few months. Surely, the manufacturer has some idea of what might have gone wrong.

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Opel: The Bleeding Continues

To stay alive, Opel wants to scale down. The factory in Antwerp is being closed. With amazing results for Opel’s bottom line: Closing the factory costs GM around €400m ($532m) in termination benefits. GM and the unions reached an agreement on the termination benefits earlier this week, reports Reuters. There are 2,600 workers in Antwerp. Now do the math: $532m divvied up amongst 2600 workers is a little bit over $200,000 per worker. Ouch! Wait, there is more pain …

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Opel: Shots Fired

Not surprisingly, the decision to close Antwerp is not sitting too well with Opel’s European Works Council. Their reply: Forget the wage concessions you wanted from us, and which are so critical for Opel’s survival.

Management at Opel wanted employees to contribute €265m annually to the cause. The unions were ready to deal, but wanted shares. Reilly reneged on the shares, which raised union hackles. Now, the offer is off the table. And with it, an essential piece of Opel’s future.

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Antwerp First Opel Casualty. More To Come

Belgium’s Antwerp can focus on its core competencies as a hub of the diamond trade. Opel will close their plant in the port city of Belgium within the next months, reports Das Autohaus, citing an announcement by Opel. The plant will be closed “to safeguard the future of the company quickly and sustainably.”

Nick Reilly expressed his supposedly sincere condolences:

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  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.