By on June 13, 2019

2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport

A Jeep Wrangler owner has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of ignoring an alleged safety issue with the vehicle’s steering system; one that leads to the notorious “death wobble.”

The term is one Jeep fans are already familiar with and basically entails sudden, violent vibrations from front-end steering components, usually taking place on the highway. On Wednesday, a lawsuit filed on behalf of New Jersey resident Clair Reynolds claimed FCA delivered a “defectively designed and/or manufactured front axle and damping system” allowing for the dreaded wobble to occur after “encountering road variations” at speed.

While the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has never issued a recall related to the issue, it’s familiar with the phenomenon and has been pressured by safety advocates to investigate since before 2012. But previous studies into the wobble found it relatively difficult to replicate, and no serious injuries have stemmed from it. Reynolds’ legal council says that doesn’t cut it.  (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

Wells Fargo will reportedly pay customers a minimum of $386 million to settle class-action claims that the bank covertly signed customers up for auto insurance they did not want or need.

Back in the summer of 2017, the bank found itself implicated in widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuses. Over a year later, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to settle U.S. investigations into the company’s insurance and mortgage practices.

While the auto insurance plan ended in 2016, roughly 800,000 customers (or 600k by Wells Fargo’s estimates) were believed to be affected by the auto insurance issue over roughly a four-year period. For most, that meant being overcharged for insurance they didn’t need., but some customers ended up with their vehicles repossessed and their credit rating demolished, promoting the class-action suit.  (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2019

Carlos Ghosn

Auditors attempting to assess how down and dirty Carlos Ghosn’s spending habits were have reportedly become very interested in a YouTube video of a party held at the Palace of Versailles in 2014. While the clip doesn’t showcase any cash-fueled orgies or golden idol worship, it does present a extravagant party that was supposedly paid for by Renault-Nissan B.V. (RNBV). As you might recall, Ghosn’s repeated arrests in Japan were due to the alleged “mismanagement” of alliance funds.

Ghosn’s camp maintains that the event was held for business purposes — a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the alliance, which just happened to overlap with the ousted exec’s 60th birthday. Guests reportedly included a few Renault or Nissan executives scattered among roughly 160 celebrity attendees. You can watch the video yourself and decide whether or not it’s an egregious mishandling of corporate assets.  (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2019

Last week, San Jose became subject to borderline draconian street-racing laws after city council (unanimously) voted to pass legislation effectively making it illegal to even watch impromptu automotive exhibitions. However, “spectating” is loosely defined in the new law, as parties don’t have to know a race is going on to get into trouble.

Even milling around a car show before shenanigans break out is enough to earn someone a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

The new laws give police plenty of power to break up late-night car events, plus the ability  to arrest whomever they want — creating a pretty good incentive to just stay home, rather than risk getting into trouble. It also feels like overkill, and it sets an ugly precedent for punishing Californians who aren’t actively contributing to a crime.  (Read More…)

By on April 26, 2019

The embattled ex-patriarch of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has posted an additional $4.5 million in bail. Beyond some new indictments regarding his alleged misappropriation of corporate funds, not much has changed regarding the case. Ghosn and his legal team continue to maintain his innocence, suggesting that Nissan orchestrated the entire ordeal as part of a industrial coup and further supported by Japanese courts that are perpetually hungry for convictions.

Unfortunately, everyone is making a pretty good case. The claims against Ghosn appear legitimate, but so do the accusations that Nissan’s entire investigation was primarily concerned with removing him from power. Similarly, Japan’s extremely high conviction rate and treatment of Ghosn have raised red flags in regard to his civil rights and whether he can expect a fair trial.  (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2019

Nissan Motor Co. has pledged a donation of 100,000 euros ($112,000) for the restoration of the fire-kissed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. However, the company’s act of kindness is overshadowed by its rather interesting timing. Nissan’s relationship with partner Renault and the French government has grown strained since the arrest of former Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn — now back in jail after his fourth arrest and rumored to be facing indictment on new charges early next week in Japan.

Then again, the fire at Notre Dame was an extremely high-profile incident, leading to the donation of millions in charitable contributions for its repair. Where it not for the elevated tensions between the company and Renault/France, nobody would question Nissan’s motives in the slightest.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2019

Out on bail and awaiting trial, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan last week for the fourth time since November — putting the kibosh on a scheduled press conference where he promised to “tell the truth” about what’s been going on.

While Ghosn’s supposed bombshell will have to wait for another day, he did manage to get word out from prison in a personal video message to the world. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

This seems like a silly public service announcement to have to make, but it’s imprudent to post videos of yourself breaking traffic laws. Beau Alan Rogel of Rankin County, Mississippi found that out the hard way after live streaming his attempt to break 180 mph in his wife’s 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.

In the midst of his feat, a viewer decided to contact police and notify them that Rogel was traveling at excessive speeds, helpfully mentioning where he could be found. The video, which he reposted on YouTube, includes the moment where he is pulled over and (understandably) denies everything he had just been explaining to his audience. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2019

Carlos Ghosn is back in jail and a Tokyo court just approved a request by prosecutors to detain him for 10 days of additional questioning. Despite already spending 108 days in prison and scrounging up $9 million for bail a month ago, the court rejected an appeal by the former auto executive’s lawyer to set him free so he can prepare for his financial misconduct case.

This makes it Ghosn’s fourth arrest since November, and has us asking what purpose it serves.  (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2019

Carlos Ghosn Rogue Introduction - Image: Nissan

Happy to relegate Carlos Ghosn to the past, Renault has announced its former CEO will soon leave the company’s executive board, along with Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair. Annette Winkler, the ex-head of Daimler’s Smart brand, will be proposed as the new director at the company’s annual meeting in June, according to the automaker.

The company also decided that Ghosn is not entitled to an annual retirement salary of about 765,000 euros a year due to an internal probe that identified “questionable and concealed practices and violations of the group’s ethical principles.”

Of course, Ghosn maintains he was the victim of a corporate coup masterminded by Nissan executives. The ousted exec recently claimed he’s “getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening” over social media(Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

General Motors’ legal team has requested that the lawsuit filed by the United Automobile Workers, which claims that its decision to idle factories is in violation of an existing union agreement, be dismissed by a federal judge. The UAW alleges that GM sidestepped the collective bargaining agreement established in 2015 by closing plants prematurely. But the automaker has been careful to say that the facilities are being “unallocated,” claiming the union failed to adhere to the grievance arbitration procedure outlined in its contract — which forbids UAW from going to court until all other avenues have been exhausted.

The request came with a bundle of other motions, filed on March 21st, and included a request to transfer the case from Youngstown, Ohio (where the contentious Lordstown Assembly is located) to the eastern district of Michigan.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office had a run-in with a drunk driver over the weekend. While there’s typically nothing funny about catching someone driving under the influence, fate saw fit to throw us a bone in this instance, as the encounter led to comical shenanigans involving Axe body spray.

Apparently, the driver decided to fill his mouth with the substance in an attempt to fool an approaching deputy. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2019

Carlos Ghosn

Former Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has left a Tokyo prison after posting bail to the tune of $8.9 million. His 108-day detention ended with the industry titan being escorted out out the building while wearing a disguise that entailed a cap, surgical mask, glasses, and workman’s clothes.

Ghosn left the Tokyo Detention House around 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon, already beset by camera crews. According to reports, the former auto executive was steered away from a black van and pushed into a small Suzuki befitting his disguise — despite its failure to fool the media. He’s now in a secret, court-appointed residence where he’ll be under constant surveillance as he attempts to prepare his next move.

“I am also grateful to the NGOs and human rights activists in Japan and around the world who fight for the cause of presumption of innocence and a fair trial,” Ghosn said prior to his release in a statement. “I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.” (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2019

Jerry Seinfeld is suing the company that sold him an ultra-rare 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 Carrera after an earlier suit brought its authenticity into question. The comedian sold the car in 2016 for $1.5 million via a Gooding & Company auction only to see the buyer, Fica Frio Limited, claim it was fake.

(Jerry, just remember — it’s not a lie if you believe it.) 

Seinfeld is now seeking unspecified damages in a Manhattan federal court from European Collectibles of Costa Mesa, California. However, the suit’s primary mission isn’t about hunting for a payday — Seinfeld appears more interested in clearing his name and forcing the dealership into settling things with Fria Fico directly. (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2019

TDI Clean Diesel

IAV GmbH, the German engineering company co-owned by Volkswagen Group, plead guilty to a felony count of conspiracy in a U.S. District Court on Friday, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Last month, authorities said the firm had already agreed to a guilty plea and multi-million-dollar fine for its role in helping Volkswagen Group develop software that could effectively help cars falsify emissions test results.

That makes the courtroom officiation little more than a formality. While the court wants to conducts a probationary investigation, effectively delaying sentencing until May 22nd, there is little doubt what the final penalty will be — $35 million and two years of operation under the supervision of a court-appointed monitor.  (Read More…)

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