Tesla Ousts Supplier's Management and Sweetens Pay Deal to Avoid German Strike
Tesla Motors has smooth-talked its Californian workforce out of unionizing for some time, but the labor war is now being waged on two fronts.
Since acquiring German supplier Grohmann Engineering, that company’s workforce has accused Tesla of unfair wages and dissolving established business ties to focus solely on the upcoming Model 3. Elon Musk was forced to personally reassure Grohmann, now called Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, to keep it from syncing up with autoworkers’ union IG Metall and going on strike.
Since the supplier is an essential part of the Model 3’s timely production, Tesla has changed tactics and is now throwing more money at Germany and promising extra jobs in the hope of avoiding work stoppages. It also apparently removed the company’s CEO and founder, Klaus Grohmann, after repeated clashes with Musk over the firm’s future.
Tesla Strives to Avoid German Strike and Maintain Model 3 Production Date
It’s no secret that the success of Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 will dictate its position as a mainstream automaker for the foreseeable future. Tesla’s current status as the most valuable carmaker in the United States is riding, almost entirely, on the problem-free assembly of its “affordable” EV this summer. So, when one of its German suppliers threatened to go on strike earlier this month, you can imagine the series of panic attacks CEO Elon Musk probably suffered.
Last week, the company’s recently acquired industrial robotics unit Grohmann began labor negotiations over insufficient wages and Tesla’s decision to suspend all contracts that didn’t pertain specifically to the Model 3. And, to ensure things went his way, Musk has become directly involved in the process.
German Prosecutor Launches Daimler Diesel Fraud Investigation
In a developing story, the Stuttgart prosecutors’ office has launched an investigation into employees of Daimler, parent company and manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC engines. At issue is the (lately) very common Germanic malady of diesel infidelity.
German Autoworkers Discover Bimmers, Booze and Bongs Don't Mix
If you end up purchasing a BMW 3 or 4 Series model build at the automaker’s Munich assembly plant in early march, just know this: two of the workers building it might have been high as a kite.
A report in today’s Bild newspaper claims that two workers were so blitzed on booze and synthetic marijuana that they passed out while working on the assembly line, causing a temporary — and costly — shutdown. Yes, this happened, BMW has confirmed.
In an Odd Twist, German Authorities Raid Volkswagen's Internal Investigator
At some point, a scandal grows so big that investigations begin to overlap. When the scope widens even more, investigators suddenly begin investigating each other.
That’s the current situation in the Fatherland, where American law firm Jones Day recently had its offices raided at the request of German authorities in hot pursuit of executive skulduggery. Jones Day, of course, is the internal investigator hired by VW to probe the shady dealings that led to the diesel emissions scandal.
What started with unusual emissions readings at a West Virginia university now feels a lot like The Departed.
German Audi and VW Offices Raided in Ongoing Diesel Emissions Investigation
As Volkswagen Group’s emission scandal settles down in the United States, things in Europe remain unresolved. German police raided the headquarters of Volkswagen and Audi as part of the never-ending investigations into the company’s diesel cheating.
The German blitz was carefully orchestrated as investigators simultaneously hit Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, the corporate offices at its Neckarsulm plant, and VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg. Separate spokesmen from VW and Audi confirmed the raids, both adding they’re cooperating with authorities.
GM's Opel Sale Largely Complete, to Be Announced Next Week: Report
Germany Demands Investigation Into Odd Exit of Volkswagen's Compliance Chief
Politicians from Volkswagen’s home region of Lower Saxony are raising questions over the unanticipated departure of the German automaker’s compliance chief, Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, saying they have concerns over how the supervisory board handled the matter. There has been a long-standing apprehension among investors and business analysts that VW is too tightly controlled by its founding Porsche-Piech family and incapable of amelioration.
On Wednesday, Deutsche lawmakers called for a formal inquiry on the matter.
Hohmann-Dennhardt was brought aboard very late in 2015 to assist in Volkswagen’s reformation following the diesel emissions cheating scandal. However last month, after only a year on the job, she left abruptly with a sizable pension and gargantuan severance.
BMW Sticks First 'M' Badge on 7 Series, Creating Sporty V12 Beast
For the first time, BMW has given its flagship 7 Series an M badge. And while that may conjure up images of a standard 7 Series with a bit of performance tinsel, that’s not really the case here. The numbers are quite impressive.
The full name of this new model is a mouthfull: M760Li xDrive. Though that sounds more like a fax machine from about 1997, there are a few differences between the BMW and a dated beige electronic.
PSA-Opel Marriage Best for Both Companies, Says GM's Barra
It comes across as a movie scene where the departing mother soothes the nerves of two children frightened by their father’s impending remarriage.
In this case, the children are the trembling employees of German General Motors division Opel, and the departing parent is GM CEO Mary Barra. Well, “departing” isn’t accurate, at least not yet. The American automaker is in talks with France’s PSA Group to potentially sell off Opel, as well as its Vauxhall sister division.
Yesterday, Barra spoke to employees at Opel headquarters, hoping to allay fears and quell protests from Opel’s works council and union, as well as the German government. Her words, or what we know of them, relayed the message, “Kids, it’s gonna be okay.”
Mary Barra Tries to Calm German, British Fears After PSA-Opel Freakout
After yesterday’s shocking news of a potential takeover of GM-owned Opel and Vauxhall by France’s PSA Group, General Motors CEO Mary Barra hopped on a plane to the Fatherland.
Given the sudden uncertainty surrounding a major employer, Opel’s works council, labor union and the German government staged a collective panic attack. Soothing words were needed, stat. Britain, home of Opel’s Vauxhall sister division, would also like to hear a few assurances of its own.
Possible French Takeover of Opel Ruffles German Feathers
Maybe it’s leftover regional rivalry from generations past, or perhaps Germany just doesn’t want anything to affect its status as Europe’s financial powerhouse. Whatever the deep-seated reason, the residents of Deutschland are none too pleased about a possible French takeover of the Opel brand.
Earlier today, PSA Group, maker of Citroën and Peugeot vehicles, was revealed to be in serious talks to acquire the General Motors-owned automaker (as well as its Vauxhall sister company). Politicians and the head of Opel’s workers union apparently didn’t see this coming.
On the other side of the Maginot Line, the French seem just fine with the idea.
Fishmonger, Tiny Country Deliver Bad News to Volkswagen
Minus an ongoing criminal probe that has some executives, including the company’s former CEO, sweating bullets, Volkswagen has seen relatively little blowback from the emissions scandal in its home country.
Its emissions-rigged diesel vehicles continue to ply the roadways of the Continent, with nothing like the multi-billion-dollar American buyback scheme in sight. It’s not smooth sailing, however, as some burned customers have decided to come for their own pounds of flesh. This week, a company that knows all about flesh showed up in search of payback.
Strange Bedfellows: BMW Wants a Cozier Relationship With Daimler to Make Life Easier
According to BMW’s new head of purchasing, Markus Duesmann, the company intends to expand its cooperation with Daimler AG in acquiring automotive components from suppliers.
The competing automakers began their cooperative purchasing in 2008, limiting it to elements most manufacturers typically share already — items like seating frames, radiators, tires, or air conditioning systems. Despite the cost benefits and leverage from their massed buying power, the companies still keep each other at arm’s length. More recently, however, the two have managed to maintain a healthy rivalry while seeking mutually beneficial ventures together.
Finally, an Automotive Scandal is Compared to Horse Meat Lasagna
Three German judges claim that Volkswagen’s actions leading up to the diesel emissions scandal was akin to putting horse meat in lasagna.
Bloomberg reports that the comparison was made when a court in Hildesheim ordered the car manufacturer to buy back someone’s Skoda Yeti at full sticker price. The ruling was warranted, as VW intentionally committed fraud, the court said.