Ford Motor Co. has announced a cash tender offer to repurchase up to $5 billion of the company’s high-yield debt in the hopes of rebalancing its budget after needing to borrow so much during the back-to-back-to-back production shutdowns incurred since the start of 2020. The automaker is retiring as much of the $8 billion in bonds the company issued at the start the coronavirus pandemic as it can and will be doing the same for some older bonds issued at similarly high rates (over 8 percent annually).
However this will be used to make room for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives and establish a “sustainable financing framework” the automaker said would be a first for North America. Ford clearly believes social governance investments will become increasingly routine and is attempting to showcase itself as one of the kinder, more forward thinking, and environmentally responsible multinational industrial concerns. Sort of like a fully armed M1 Abrams tank painted with peace symbols and hippie daises.
On Tuesday, a subset of Nissan’s board intends to request access to a list of 80 Nissan employees suspected of aiding former Chairman Carlos Ghosn in his alleged financial malfeasance. Assembled by Nissan’s former audit chief, Christina Murray, and company, the document compiles actions taken by staffers believed to have assisted Ghosn directly or attempted to impede the resulting investigations.
Among them is Hari Nada, Nissan’s vice president, who oversees the company’s legal department. Despite being instrumental in Ghosn’s November arrest by acting as a whistleblower to Japanese authorities, along with Toshiaki Onuma, his role as one of the ousted executive’s many confidants has placed him under suspicion — as did his reluctance to recuse himself from the company’s legal affairs.
Nada is now being pressured to resign. However, it’s not clear if this is the result of any actual wrongdoing or an internal power struggle happening inside the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Considering the power vacuum created by Ghosn’s arrest and the swift retirement of ex-CEO Hiroto Saikawa (who also makes the 80-person list), both scenarios seem equally plausible.
Tesla’s nine-member board now numbers eleven, with many shareholders hoping that the addition of two independent directors — a key directive of Tesla’s SEC settlement — helps keep a lid on CEO Elon Musk’s stock-rocking shenanigans.
Whether or not the two new members can actually do this remains to be seen. Musk continued antagonizing the Securities and Exchange Commission even after agreeing to the settlement that saw him removed as chairman, and he insists no one’s vetting his tweets. Speaking of ill-considered tweets, Musk’s lawyers claim the British cave diver suing Musk for defamation should just let it go.
Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess, 59, now pulls all the levers at Volkswagen Group. On Thursday, the automaker’s supervisory board appointed Diess as CEO and said goodbye to Matthias Müller, who stepped down from the top position “by mutual agreement,” effective immediately.
The shakeup at the top comes as Volkswagen Group changes the way it manages the multiple brands under its corporate umbrella. There’s now a plan for six new business areas (plus the formation of a China region), with VW Group brands organized into three tiers — volume, premium, and super premium. All of this, in VW’s view, should lead to a streamlined decision-making process and a nimbler company.
While he’s only been in the big chair for little over a month, Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett has already pinned down a serious problem in need of immediate change. Decision making. Or, more specifically, the need to get the lead out when rapidly changing market trends threaten company profit.
The former chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, who replaced an ousted Mark Fields in late May, was brought in to guide the Blue Oval through a “transformative period” in the industry. One way he might do this is to borrow an idea from the NBA.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has just under two years left at the helm of the multi-national automaker, after which he’ll slowly enter the cushy existence of the semi-retired professional. The sweater aficionado will continue on as CEO of Ferrari until 2021, and still serves as chairman of CNH Industrial and vice-chairman of Dutch investment company Exor.
Many hats. However, FCA needs to find someone willing to wear just one.
As Marchionne’s April 2019 retirement date grows ever near, the automaker has stepped up its search for a successor. No, don’t bother submitting your resume just yet. While it’s probable a few brave outsiders might find the prospect of figuring out what to do with the Fiat brand exciting, FCA’s CEO search isn’t taking place outside company confines. There’s already a lengthy list of possible top dogs.
Pity poor Volkswagen. It’s constantly accused of doing the wrong thing in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal.
But guess what? There’s reason for it, and here’s yet another example.
TTAC reader Rudy Lukez has waited months to find out what Volkswagen plans to do with his 2014 Jetta Sportwagen TDI. So, when a package from the company showed up in his Highlands Ranch, Colorado mailbox this morning, the repeat Volkswagen owner figured his questions were about to be answered.
A top Nissan executive is packing his bags and getting ready to take on Mitsubishi’s shadowy and scandal-prone technology arm.
Yesterday’s reports proved true, with Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan’s chief technology adviser, announced today as Mitsubishi’s new head of research and development. He will take on the position starting June 24.
There’s a tough job waiting for Yamashita.
In this play, Nissan is President Jimmy Carter and Mitsubishi is a bankrupt New York City.
He’s been with the company since the Plymouth Sapporo/Dodge Challenger era, but Mitsubishi president Tetsuro Aikawa’s tenure comes to an abrupt end in June.
Aikawa stepped down today after less than two years at the helm, the victim of his company’s ongoing fuel economy scandal, according to an announcement from the automaker. Ryugo Nakao, the company’s executive vice-president in charge of quality, is also out the door.
Sergio Marchionne added another CEO title to his résumé yesterday, taking control of Ferrari, where the Fiat-Chrysler head already served as chairman.
He replaces former CEO Amedeo Felisa, who retired after 26 years with the company. Felisa remains on the independent automaker’s board of directors, where he will serve as a technical advisor.
Marchionne now has full control of the company he spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the beginning of the year. Two years ago, he succeeded former chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who stepped down in protest of Marchionne’s plans for the brand’s future.
Nissan has announced a proposal which would end Renault’s control of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and would curtail interferance by the French government.
When we last left off, Nissan was looking to gain a voice in the alliance it made in 1999 with Renault by increasing its stake while mitigating the stake shared between Renault and Paris. The Japanese automaker has held a 15 percent non-voting stake since alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn turned around its fortunes in the early 2000s, as French law prevents affiliates owning less than 40 percent of a French-led company from voting at the shareholders’ table.
Nissan has other ideas.
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- Fred I owned a 2001 MR2 for 15 years nothing ever went wrong with the vehicle. It was always exciting to drive most people thought it was a boxster. The only negative was storage and legroom considering I'm a little over 6:4 the only reason it was sold was as a second car and a grandchild on the way we needed something more practical.
- V16 I'm sure most people could find 155,365 reasons to choose another luxury brand SUV and pocket the difference.
- ChristianWimmer I don’t want this autonomous driving garbage technology in any car.My main fear is this. Once this technology is perfected, freedom-hating eco hysterical governments (crap hole Germany, UK and the European Union in general) will attempt to ban private car ownership because “you don’t need to own a car anymore since the car can come to you, drop you off and then proceed to service the next customer”... no thanks. Having your own car is FREEDOM.Go away, autonomous driving. I also enjoy the act of driving a car. I want to drive, not be driven.
- Mike-NB2 The solution is obvious here. Everyone should be raised in an Irish Catholic family and then all it takes is a sideways glance from mom and you're atoning for that sin for the rest of your life. My mother has been dead for decades and I still want to apologize to her. Catholic guilt is a real thing. 😁
- Wjtinfwb A good car. I don't find Accord's as appealing as they were a decade or two ago, not that they've gotten worse, but the competition has gotten better. It would be my choice if I had to pay for it myself and maintain it for 10 years and 150k miles. They'd be very reliable and no doubt inexpensive miles, but probably a pretty boring 10 years.