By on December 14, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a proposed civil settlement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the gigantic corruption case that absorbed two former presidents and a slew of union officers over the last few years. With many involved already serving the first part of their prison sentence, the UAW has reportedly agreed to hold a referendum among the rank-and-file to change the way it elects the top brass. The proposal predictably includes some court oversight designed to catch any new instances of fraud coming from inside the union but doesn’t appear to address the corporate aspect.

As a positive, it’s not assumed that the union will see a complete government takeover. Like laundry, it’s already better to separate your alleged corruption to create legal buffer zones.

(Read More…)

By on September 16, 2020

The Uber test vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, has been under public scrutiny since March of 2018. But we never heard a lot about the safety driver behind the wheel. So much attention was given to addressing whether or not the autonomous systems on the SUV should or could have seen Elaine Herzberg  and stopped the car before the tragedy occurred  that it became the overriding narrative.

But it really shouldn’t have, as some of the earliest video footage appeared to show that Uber’s safety operator had entirely tuned out of the driving experience in the moments leading up to the incident. Fortunately, Maricopa County Superior Court and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were keeping tabs while the rest of us were not. In fact, the former decided to charge Rafael Vasquez (who also goes by Rafaela) with negligent homicide late last month.

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2020

Greg Kelly, the American businessman and former Nissan board member that was arrested with ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn almost two years ago, has pleaded not guilty to the financial misconduct charges leveled against him in Japan. While he was supposed to stand trial with Mr. Ghosn, Carlos escaped his captors with the help of at least one U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and a lot of careful planning at the end of 2019. Kelly is accused of helping the former chairman hide millions of dollars in deferred compensation.

During the trial, he defended Ghosn by saying he was an outstanding automotive executive who helped save Nissan in its darkest hour. He also hinted that the firm should have done everything in its power to retain him, adding that his role was to find legal ways of keeping Ghosn from jumping ship to a rival company. While that included financial incentives, Kelly asserted during the trial that Nissan’s attorneys were always consulted before decisions were made and that no illegal actions were taken. “I informed Mr. Ghosn what could be done legally and what could not be done legally,” he told the court. “I believe the evidence will show that I did not violate the [financial] disclosure regulations.”

(Read More…)

By on August 28, 2020

A criminal complaint filed this week details a very Cold War-like plot to cripple Tesla from the inside. Federal prosecutors and the automaker claim a Russian “tourist” attempted to coerce an employee of Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory to infect the company’s system with malware, and in doing so receive a payment of $1 million.

The employee reportedly turned down the offer and squealed on the so-called tourist, leading to an FBI sting operation — as well as this week’s criminal complaint. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2020

The writing was on the wall for months, ever since federal agents raided former United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams’ home last September.

Since hosting those gun-toting visitors, Williams cooled his heels, uncharged by waiting for the inevitable hammer to drop. We say inevitable, as Williams’ name was mentioned as a co-conspirator in the trial of another UAW official, with Williams accused of funneling funds earmarked for UAW members into lavish living and gifts for himself and his fellow embezzlers.

In the meantime, Williams watched the union’s previous president — his successor — step down and subsequently be charged for the same illicit deeds court documents claim he performed.

On Thursday, the inevitable came. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2020

General Motors desperately wants to reopen a case dismissed last month by a federal judge, but Fiat Chrysler’s having none of it.

The racketeering lawsuit filed by GM against its crosstown rival alleged that FCA secured unfair labor advantages over GM via bribed UAW officials, with the automaker claiming last week that it possesses new evidence capable of convicting its automotive foe. A number of offshore bank accounts fueled the bribery effort, GM claims, with the automaker’s court filing accusing former UAW Vice President (and ex-GM board member) Joe Ashton of being a paid mole.

Gripping stuff, but FCA says it’s seen this movie before — and it’s a stinker. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2020

On Thursday, Munich-based prosecutors announced the indictment of four more ex-Audi managers in relation to Volkswagen Group’s infamous diesel emission scandal. This follows the charges brought against former CEO Rupert Stadler and a handful of Audi staffers in 2018.

The latest indictment involves three former board members and one department head who has since retired. Prosecutors stated the alleged crimes relate to 434,420 cars manufactured by VW Group brands which we already know where sold with trick software designed to circumvent emissions testing, according to Reuters and German outlet Handelsblatt. However, the grand total of vehicles suspected to be in violation of regulatory law are suggested to be closer to 11 million globally.

(Read More…)

By on August 5, 2020

Imitation, as the saying goes, is the sincerest form of flattery, but Jaguar Land Rover’s been burned in the past, what with a certain Chinese automaker rolling out near carbon copies of its Range Rover Evoque crossover.

In the Defender lies far more heritage, but JLR just lost a bid to keep the visual rights to the boxy off-road beast in the UK, paving the way for British sales of a model that looks very similar to the much-loved previous-generation model. (Read More…)

By on July 24, 2020

Carlos Ghosn Rogue Introduction - Image: Nissan

As the saying goes, the family that orchestrates the clandestine escape of an accused auto executive together, stays together. It seems that, on both sides of the operation to spirit arrested auto titan Carlos Ghosn out of Japan, were father-and-son teams.

In the U.S., arrangements for aircraft rentals and musical instrument boxes were handled by a former U.S. Army Special Forces member and his son, with funding provided by Ghosn  himself, and about half a million dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency offered up by Ghosn’s son, U.S. prosecutors claim. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2020

Shortly after his high-flying escape from Japanese semi-captivity in late 2018, former Renault-Nissan Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn got catty, marveling at what became of those two automakers after they dropped him from the phone directory.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic sinking profits and sales across the globe, Ghosn is pretty sure he knows what’s really to blame for Nissan’s current misfortunes. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2020

Hey, how bout that bitchin’ new Bronco- whoops! Sorry, got ahead of myself there. The check hasn’t even arrived yet!

In news unrelated to a Ford model Car and Driver wrote 13 stories about in the last 24 hours, a German court has smacked Tesla for misleading its citizens. The ruling, brought on by a complaint from an industry group, involves something that’s plagued the auto industry for years. Essentially, the overstating of a car’s autonomous driving abilities.

Thankfully, we’ve reached a point where even the Associated Press Stylebook is warning about inaccurate self-driving language use, but old habits die hard at Tesla. Germany didn’t like what it heard. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2020

Image: Ford

With Congress having politicized their nearly identical bills on police reform into another deadlock, many local governments have decided to pick up the slack by embracing activists seeking to dismantle law enforcement. Most of these don’t concern us as automotive enthusiasts and offer few perks or comfort to your average citizen. Then the City of Berkeley floated an idea that actually sounded halfway decent.

Rather than abolishing the police entirely, the famously progressive Californian town suggested ending routine traffic enforcement. However, you may want to hold off on making any illegal modifications to your car and postpone any burnout competitions you were planning on hosting. The proposed arrangement doesn’t officially endorse lawless roadways, though they may still be possible during the transitional period.  (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2020

 

Ren Cen. GM

General Motors’ racketeering lawsuit against rival Fiat Chrysler is dead in the water after a federal judge dismissed the case on Wednesday.

The move comes after GM appealed U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman’s order that the CEOs of the battling automakers should meet in private and hash out a resolution themselves. The General won half of its appeal, and the meeting was scrapped, but Borman, who described the lawsuit as a “nuclear” option that only served to clog up the courts in a time of COVID-19, stayed on the case — against GM’s wishes.

Now, the case has come to an end, though the battle might still rage on. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2020

mary barra gm

General Motors saw half of its wishes granted this week, after an appeals court overturned an order by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman for the CEOs of GM and Fiat Chrysler to meet and settle their differences in person.

GM is suing FCA, accusing its crosstown rival of racketeering and claiming it lost billions of dollars via FCA’s bribing of UAW officials in return for a series of favorable, low-cost labor agreements. The General wants to go all the way with its case, but Borman stepped in, calling the suit a “nuclear” option. The in-person meeting is now off the table, but Borman’s still on the case.

(Read More…)

By on June 29, 2020

 

Ren Cen. GM

The coronavirus pandemic and waves of protests may have captured much of the nation’s attention, but holdovers from the Before Times remain. Among them, General Motors’s racketeering lawsuit against rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Remember that?

GM claims FCA, with the help of corrupt UAW officials, hammered out mutually beneficial labor deals that gave the Italian-American automaker an unfair edge over its competition. After appealing a judge’s ruling last week, GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, will now be able to attend a court-ordered meeting with FCA CEO Mike Manley with legal representation in tow.

Oh, to be a fly on that wall. (Read More…)

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