Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules

Aug 11. 2020A Lyft light sits on the dashboard of a vehicle.  CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jeenah MoonA Lyft light sits on the dashboard of a vehicle. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jeenah Moon

By The Washington Post · Faiz Siddiqui · NATIONAL, BUSINESS, COURTSLAW 

SAN FRANCISCO – Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, a California judge ruled on Monday, a key blow to the companies’ efforts to continue to classify their gig workers as independent contractors.

California Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman said the companies had failed to comply with the state’s landmark Assembly Bill 5, which was signed into law last year and classified certain categories of gig workers as employees. Schulman ordered the companies to stop referring to drivers as independent contractors and comply with unemployment and wage floor provisions for the workers.

The companies argue they are technology platforms rather than transportation services and that drivers aren’t core to their platforms.

Schulman laid into Uber and Lyft’s arguments, issuing an injunction to enforce the law on grounds that “none” of their pleas for delay were “persuasive” and they weren’t likely to prevail at trial. The state’s lawsuit had sought the injunction to allow for enforcement of AB5 against Uber and Lyft, which argued the employment provision did not apply to their companies. Uber and Lyft, he said, “cannot possibly” succeed in arguing drivers aren’t core to their business.

“It’s this simple: Defendants’ drivers do not perform work that is ‘outside the usual course’ of their business,” Schulman wrote.

The ruling does not automatically convert the state’s ride-hailing drivers into employees and instead kicks off what is expected to be a lengthy appeal process. The ruling was stayed for 10 days to allow for an appeal. Uber and Lyft said Monday they plan to appeal.

By considering their millions of drivers as contractors, not full employees, Uber and Lyft are able to offer quick and low-cost rides by maximizing the number of drivers on their platforms, emphasizing the ease of signing up and refraining from providing them benefits such as health insurance as they champion so-called flexible work models.

“The vast majority of drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under California law,” Uber spokesperson Noah Edwardsen said. “When over 3 million Californians are without a job, our elected leaders should be focused on creating work, not trying to shut down an entire industry during an economic depression.”

“Drivers do not want to be employees, full stop,” Lyft spokesperson Julie Wood said.

Both companies cited an independent but unscientific driver survey that found more than 70% of 734 respondents identifying themselves as drivers said they did not want to be classified as employees. The company argued that many turn to gig work as a temporary outlet when they lose their jobs or find themselves in adverse economic circumstances, and said 86% of its drivers in California work less than 20 hours per week. Those drivers champion the flexibility of contract work, Lyft argues.

Uber and Lyft have suffered substantial losses during the pandemic as rides have nearly evaporated, with Uber’s bookings declining 75% in the period from April through June. Lyft, which said rides were down 75% in April, reports on its quarterly earnings this week.

The companies argue that reclassifying drivers as employees would be a costly endeavor that would practically redefine their business model, forcing them to establish schedules in what has traditionally been a flexible work arrangement and changing the passenger experience, leaving a costlier and less convenient app in its wake.

Schulman noted the adverse economic impact the pandemic has had on the companies, but noted the historic ridership lows presented an opportunity to rebuild their services around adhering to the law.

The order could have broad implications not only for ride-hailing but the tech industry which relies on gig work to stand up massive labor forces without providing them the traditional benefits of employment. Under AB5, companies are required to prove that independent contractors are performing work outside the business’s core function, are free from the entity’s control and traditionally perform such work independently of the company.

“Uber’s argument is a classic example of circular reasoning: because it regards itself as a technology company and considers only tech workers to be its ’employees,’ anybody else is outside the ordinary course of its business,” Schulman wrote. “Were this reasoning to be accepted, the rapidly expanding majority of industries that rely heavily on technology could with impunity deprive legions of workers of the basic protections afforded to employees by state labor and employment laws.”

The lawsuit leading to Monday’s injunction was filed in May by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra along with the city attorneys of San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.

“The court has weighed in and agreed: Uber and Lyft need to put a stop to unlawful misclassification of their drivers while our litigation continues,” Becerra said in a statement. “Our state and workers shouldn’t have to foot the bill when big businesses try to skip out on their responsibilities. We’re going to keep working to make sure Uber and Lyft play by the rules.”

Uber, Lyft and other gig work companies in the food delivery sector are backing a ballot initiative aimed at establishing their drivers and couriers as a separate class of worker with benefits, exempting them from the employment requirement of AB5. They’ve poured $110 million into the effort, which is expected to be on the November general election ballot.

Cadillac unveils first electric SUV years before sales start #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Cadillac unveils first electric SUV years before sales start

Aug 08. 2020The Cadillac logo is displayed on the front grille of a CT5 sedan during an event in New York City on April 16, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jeenah Moon.
Location: New York, United StatesThe Cadillac logo is displayed on the front grille of a CT5 sedan during an event in New York City on April 16, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jeenah Moon. Location: New York, United States

By Syndication The Washington Post, Bloomberg · David Welch

General Motors unveiled a long-awaited Cadillac electric vehicle that will offer Tesla-like range, though prospective buyers will need to be patient.

The Cadillac Lyriq is debuting about four months later than planned, with GM having postponed the reveal because of the coronavirus. But that interval pales in comparison with the two years it will take for the plug-in crossover to go on sale.

GM’s plan to bring Lyriq to market in late 2022 risks being a bit of a letdown for investors who heard CEO Mary Barra’s EV pitch and were enthused about its prospects. The more than 300 miles of range Cadillac is planning for its first all-electric vehicle would beat Audi’s e-tron and Jaguar’s I-Pace, but Tesla’s Model Y and X crossovers already boast that ability.

The Lyriq will launch after a crossover-utility version of the Chevrolet Bolt and an all-new GMC Hummer pickup planned for next year. And Barra, 58, has more up her sleeve, having vowed to bring 20 electric vehicles to market globally by 2023.

“Led by Lyriq, Cadillac will redefine American luxury over the next decade with a new portfolio of transformative EVs,” Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America, said in a statement.

The slate of plug-in models and the Ultium battery system that Barra touted in March have spurred analysts to call for GM to consider spinning off its electric-vehicle operations. It’s an idea that was floated internally back in 2018, Bloomberg News reported earlier. The company is war-gaming the concept as it ponders ways to get credit for its EV plans, though a spinoff isn’t actively being prepared.

Cadillac will offer the Lyriq in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, as well as an enhanced version of Super Cruise, its hands-free driver-assistance system. The feature will be usable on more than 200,000 miles of highway and offer automatic lane-changing capability. The Lyriq also will be able to park itself.

Its touch screen is a 33-inch panel that stretches across the cockpit and boasts twice the resolution of a 4K television, similar to what Cadillac will offer in its new Escalade SUV going on sale later this year.

Other luxury brands have had trouble getting much sales volume out of their electric SUVs. Volkswagen-owned Audi delivered less than 17,000 e-trons in the first half of this year, a little more than 2% of its worldwide total. Tata Motors’s Jaguar retailed just over 5,400 I-Pace SUVs.

“We continue to believe that GM is proving itself as one of the most ambitious legacy OEMs globally in EV, with a holistic strategy,” Dan Levy, a Credit Suisse analyst who rates GM shares the equivalent of a buy, wrote in a report Friday. “Yet it’s possible investors may not give GM credit on EV until we see real volumes materialize.”

Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Masuko resigns, citing his health #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Masuko resigns, citing his health

Aug 07. 2020Osamu Masuko, who stepped down Friday as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., speaks during a news conference in Yokohama, Japan, on Jan. 30, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Noriko Hayashi.
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Osamu Masuko, who stepped down Friday as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., speaks during a news conference in Yokohama, Japan, on Jan. 30, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Noriko Hayashi. Location: Yokohama, Japan

By Syndication The Washington Post, Bloomberg · Shiho Takezawa

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Chairman Osamu Masuko is stepping down after 15 years due to health reasons, just as the Japanese automaker’s alliance with Nissan and Renault is being shaken by deteriorating profits.

Chief Executive Officer Takao Kato will temporarily assume the role of chairman from Friday, Mitsubishi Motors said in a statement. Masuko will remain as a special adviser to the company, which didn’t elaborate on his condition.

Masuko was the last top-level leader remaining from when Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of the three automakers in the alliance, was arrested in November 2018 on charges of underreporting income. Masuko had negotiated with Ghosn to sell a third of the company after its stock had declined following a car-inspection scandal. Although the alliance unveiled a new strategy in May, all three automakers are on track to lose billions this year as they struggle to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. That has raised concerns over the viability of their partnership.

“Under new management, it’ll become clearer that Mitsubishi will prioritize its own revival,” said Seiji Sugiura, an analyst at Tokyo Tokai Research.

Shares of Mitsubishi were little changed at 225 yen in late afternoon trading in Tokyo. The stock is down by about a half this year.

The global car alliance, which was created to compete against other auto giants, is under increasing strain since Ghosn’s arrest. Apart from Ghosn, former Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and former Renault CEO Thierry Bollore left their positions last year. Last week, Mitsubishi Motors forecast an operating loss of 140 billion yen ($1.3 billion) for the fiscal year through March, and said it would close a plant in Japan assembling Pajero SUVs in a bid to cut costs.

Masuko negotiated with Ghosn when Mitsubishi Motors was embroiled in a car-inspection scandal in 2016 for falsifying fuel-economy data. Nissan bought about a third of Mitsubishi. Masuko stepped down as CEO in June 2019, and Kato took on the role.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett stepping down #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett stepping down

Aug 05. 2020

By The Washington Post · Hannah Denham · BUSINESS 

Jim Hackett is stepping down as chief executive of Ford Motor Co., turning the reins over to his deputy in the midst of a pandemic and while the industry grapples with new rivals and technologies.

Hackett, 65, elected to retire, the company said in a news release Tuesday, and will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley, 58, effective Oct. 1. Farley was also elected to the board of directors.

The leadership shake-up comes at a critical time for Ford, one that both executives and analysts say was a long time coming. The 117-year-old auto giant was looking for a reboot when Hackett took the helm in 2017. He has been credited with streamlining operations while balancing an $11 billion restructuring program and several crucial product launches against growing competition from such companies as Tesla, Apple, Baidu and smaller start-ups. The pandemic and ensuing recession have slashed revenue and its stock price; Ford shares have lost more than a fourth of its value since the start of the year.

In Farley, Ford gets a 30-year industry veteran who left Toyota in 2007 – during the Great Recession – to head up global marketing and sales. He went on to lead Lincoln, Ford South America, Ford of Europe before taking on all of Ford’s global markets. On Tuesday’s conference call, he referenced his grandfather, who began his career at Ford’s Highland Park, Ill., plant in 1913 – the same year the automaker launched the world’s first moving assembly line – as part of his heritage.

“My unbridled enthusiasm and humility in being asked to lead Ford at this time is rooted in the desire to serve our customers, our team and most of all, these values,” Farley said during a Tuesday conference call. “Yes, I’m my own man, but we have a tremendous team at Ford and I’m really optimistic.”

Hackett and Farley partnered on Ford’s Creating Tomorrow Together, the company’s growth initiative, which overhauled product strategy and moved the company away from sedans. In April 2019, Farley took over the new businesses, technology and strategy team, overseeing software platforms, AI, automation and new methods to integrate technology within the company. He was named chief operating officer in February.

“Jim [Farley] is a car guy through and through,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said during the call. “He can be found on weekends, often at racetracks, racing his vintage cars, and it’s his joy.”

David Whiston, a Morningstar equity strategist who covers the U.S. auto industry wasn’t surprised by the succession – he expected it after Farley was named COO. When clients came to him in the past asking when Ford’s stock would move up, he advised them to wait for a new CEO.

“A lot of the difference may just be more in communication style,” Whiston said. “It’s not a secret if you listen to earnings call. There are people out there who are frustrated with Jim Hackett.”

When Hackett took over as chief executive in May 2017, Ford stock was trading shy of $11 a share, Whiston said. It closed Monday at $6.69, a roughly 40% decline. Whiston said it will take time for the stock to bounce back – it jumped 2.5% after Tuesday’s announcement to close at $6.86 – but he said he’s hopeful Farley can do what his predecessors couldn’t.

Hackett, who said he’s been thinking about retirement since the spring, will stay on in an advisory role through March 2021.

“It will be seamless because these guys have worked together so closely for these last three years,” Bill Ford said during the call. “We have lots of work ahead of us to really complete our mission, but thanks to Jim we are a really different company than we were three years ago.”

Last week, the automaker delivered better-than-expected second-quarter results in the face of rolling shutdowns of its plants around the globe. It posted $19.3 billion in revenue, according to an earnings release. That’s a nearly 50% drop from the nearly $39 billion recorded in the year-ago period.

During Hackett’s three-year stint as chief executive, he focused on modernizing the 170-year-old company and revamped its product vision, notably with the Mustang Mach-E, new F-150 and Bronco line. Hackett said he takes pride in what he’s accomplished at Ford.

“How to get [Ford] to recognize what is really powerful about who they’ve been but more promising about who they can become . . . that takes time,” he said during the call. “It’s about transformation, it’s about working on the bureaucracy, how decisions are made, how reasoning is done.”

Bill Ford expressed gratitude for Hackett’s leadership during the coronavirus crisis. “He moved us very quickly to protect our business, and then he stepped up to help our country in a time of need,” he said.

Ford halted most of its global production in late March and started a phased-in reopening in May. During its second quarter posted almost $46 billion in debt, according to the company’s earnings report.

Farley said Ford will continue to focus on its growth initiatives, such as self-driving cars, the software business and underperforming global markets, as well as its commitment to its customers.

“I’m feeling fantastic about our ability to compete with new competitors,” like Tesla and Baidu, he said during the call. “Look, I took almost a year out of the core business to really learn about this technology and these new competitors, so I’m saying that from a perspective of learning and listening to these new competitors themselves.”

Whiston said he expects Farley to continue the company’s restructuring but hopefully will focus more on competitors like Tesla by accelerating its plans for Lincoln electric cars.

“I don’t think he’s going to radically blow up anything already in place,” Whiston said. “Hopefully over time they’ll be more specific [with plans for electrification]. Otherwise, it’ll just be the same old Ford.”

BMW 5 series to go electric as CEO pledges bolder climate push #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

BMW 5 series to go electric as CEO pledges bolder climate push

Jul 27. 2020

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Christoph Rauwald, Oliver Sachgau · BUSINESS 

BMW will make electric versions of its popular 5 Series mid-sized sedan and X1 compact SUV, part of a widened push to slash carbon emissions while wrestling with the fallout from the covid-19 pandemic.

The German automaker said Monday it is seeking to reduce CO2 output per car by at least a third by 2030, and track progress via raw material sourcing, production and road emissions.

“We will report on our progress every year and measure ourselves against these targets,” Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said. Achieving them will “tangibly” affect the flexible component of executive pay, he said.

Automakers have been under heightened scrutiny after regulators in key markets including Europe and China tightened emissions rules, forcing manufacturers to strike a balance in their fleets between combustion-engine cars that generate most profits and a greater share of battery-powered models.

Sustainability efforts have been gaining importance as projects related to environmental social governance, or ESG, increasingly influence investment decisions. This poses a challenge to technology giants and industrial manufacturers that consume enormous amounts of energy to power everything from computing centers to vehicle factories.

BMW declined to specify when the electric 5 Series and X1 will be available. They would join a lineup of two existing and three upcoming battery-powered cars by the end of next year.

BMW intends to offer 25 electric and hybrid models by 2023, half of which will be fully electric, as part of an accelerated push into the technology to catch up with Tesla.

Zipse said BMW will “overachieve” meeting stricter emissions limits that are taking effect in Europe this year, offering a more optimistic outlook than Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, which has warned that reaching the goals will be challenging this year and next.

BMW wants a third of its cars sold in Europe to be electric by 2025, and earlier this month signed a $2.3 billion order for battery cells made by Sweden’s Northvolt.

BMW said its battery suppliers have agreed to only use renewable electricity to produce the cells, saving about as much CO2 this decade as the city of Munich emits in a year.

Without switching to renewables, the growing number of electric cars would push the industry’s CO2 output higher because of the vast energy needed to make battery cells, Zipse said.

BMW will also bolster its recycling efforts and source minerals like cobalt and lithium directly to make its supply chain more ethical, the company said.

Tesla reports $100 million quarterly profit despite Musk calling quarantine ‘fascist’ #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Tesla reports $100 million quarterly profit despite Musk calling quarantine ‘fascist’

Jul 23. 2020

By The Washington Post · Faiz Siddiqui · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 

SAN FRANCISCO – Elon Musk once dismissed the coronavirus panic as “dumb.” He called quarantine measures “fascist.”

He even speculated that there would be “probably close to zero new cases” in the United States by the end of April.

On Wednesday, the CEO who has taken on the mantle as perhaps the business world’s highest profile coronavirus skeptic, weighed in on the company’s latest financial update for a quarter where it turned a profit despite its main manufacturing facility’s closure for weeks. He chose not to discuss the issues in detail Wednesday, despite breaking into a profanity-laced rant during about the country’s ongoing quarantine orders on the same type call in April.

Tesla reported a $104 million second-quarter profit Wednesday, attributing the gains to “operational improvements” to reduce expenses in a quarter where production was disrupted.

“Our business has shown strong resilience during these unprecedented times,” Tesla said in its earnings news release. “Despite the closure of our main factory in Fremont for nearly half the quarter, we posted our fourth sequential” profit, the company said. The company reported revenue of more than $6 billion.

Because Tesla exclusively sells electric vehicles, other automakers can buy credits from them to help offset sales of their gas guzzling vehicles in order to comply with emissions regulations that require a certain percentage of vehicle fleets to be zero emissions. Tesla sold $428 million worth of credits in the second quarter, up from $111 million in the same quarter a year ago, boosting profitability.

During a conference call with analysts, Musk announced Tesla would be building its next “Gigafactory” plant in the Austin area. Tesla is expected to build its Cybertruck electric pickup at the plant, along with vehicles including its upcoming Semi truck.

Tesla will keep production of its Models 3 and Y, S and X in California, focusing the sedan and crossover production at that facility on the western half of the United States while using the Texas facility to serve the Eastern half.

“We’ll continue to grow in California,” Musk said on the call. “This is a nice split between Texas and California.”

The move comes after Musk threatened earlier this year to move Tesla’s headquarters from California to Texas or Nevada, as he sparred with local officials over Tesla’s inability to resume production in Fremont, Calif.

During last quarter’s call, Musk expressed fears of the financial risk posed to the company’s production by the ongoing public health restrictions. Then he blasted the stay-at-home orders as “fascist,” urging government officials to give people back their “freedom.”

The comments were an abrupt departure from an otherwise standard corporate earnings update. The call briefly went quiet after Musk launched into his tirade.

Since then, Tesla restarted its production lines in Fremont, in defiance of Alameda County orders, even garnering support from President Trump as it sought to resume building cars. The company was allowed to fully reopen by mid-May and has been pumping out thousands of cars per week since then.

Tesla said this month it delivered 90,650 vehicles in the quarter from April through June, producing 82,272 vehicles during the period. That included 80,050 deliveries of the mass-market Model 3 sedan and newly introduced Model Y crossover, which is expected to be among the company’s most popular offerings. (Tesla recently cut the price of the long-range dual-motor variant of the car by $3,000 to about $50,000 and axed a planned more-affordable standard-range model, highlighting what some analysts see as demand concerns.)

Meanwhile, Tesla has informed employees of some cases of the novel coronavirus inside the Fremont facilities. But the company and Alameda County officials have yet to disclose the full number of cases there. Employees have expressed concern over what they’ve said is a lack of proper social distancing in the plant.

Musk’s April rant followed weeks of playing down the seriousness of the virus and pushing back on public health efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

Musk initially sparred with county officials in March, keeping the plant open despite local orders for businesses to close. After initial uncertainty over whether Tesla could operate, local officials declared Tesla was not essential, and the company agreed to wind down to “minimum basic operations.”

Tesla ultimately reopened its factory in early May, before county officials gave the company the green light to do so.

And Musk has continued to tweet his opinions, too. “Tesla stock price is too high imo,” he said, using shorthand for “in my opinion,” to the confusion of analysts and investors.

On Monday, he tweeted a photo holding his baby son, who he originally posted was named X Æ A-12, with a German caption. It translates roughly to mean the infant could not use a spoon yet.

Tesla, Toyota help obscure Japanese supplier Odarawa thrive #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Tesla, Toyota help obscure Japanese supplier Odarawa thrive

Jul 20. 2020A sample coil winding machine, which winds copper wires in three different ways. MUST CREDIT: Odawara Engineering Co.A sample coil winding machine, which winds copper wires in three different ways. MUST CREDIT: Odawara Engineering Co.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Shiho Takezawa, Tsuyoshi Inajima · BUSINESS 

Deep in the electric-vehicle industry’s supply chain is a little-known Japanese manufacturer that makes a seemingly mundane, but essential, device: coil-winding machines.

If the motor is the heart of an EV, then coils in turn are the heart of the electric motor. Odawara Engineering Co., founded 70 years ago as a supplier for appliance makers, is an expert in the making the dense loops of wire that go into those motors. Tesla Inc., manufacturer of the Model S and Model 3 sedans and most recently the world’s most-valuable automaker, is one of its biggest customers.

A fully automated winding and assembling line for a refrigerator motor. MUST CREDIT: Odawara Engineering Co.

A fully automated winding and assembling line for a refrigerator motor. MUST CREDIT: Odawara Engineering Co.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has depressed global auto sales, BloombergNEF predicts that economies will speed up adoption of EVs as some countries choose to bolster funding for low-emission cars and infrastructure. The global market for coil-winding machines is projected to expand at 10% annually and will reach $1.3 billion in 2024, according to Global Info Research.

“We have to keep making our machines better,” said Masahiko Hoshina, vice president at Odawara Engineering. “Our clients can’t win if they can’t differentiate their products.”

Electromagnetic coils interact with magnets to turn electric energy into motion, the basic principle behind the motors that power everything from drills to commuter trains. The shares of Odawara Engineering jumped 21% on Monday.

Located in Odawara, a city 56 miles (90 kilometers) west of Tokyo, the company’s prime business during Japan’s postwar economic boom was building coil-winding machines for makers of refrigerators and air conditioners. Apart from Tesla, the company also counts Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. among its customers. In 2018, Tesla made up 12% of Odawara Engineering’s sales, but in 2019 that probably slipped below 10%, the threshold for reporting such figures.

Robust demand for Odawara Engineering’s machines means it will probably keep its outlook intact for the current year. The company maintained its forecast for operating profit of $6.5 million (700 million yen) and revenue of $135 million (14.5 billion yen) intact when it reported results in May, as the covid-19 outbreak shuttered economies across the globe.

“The shift toward electrification and automation won’t change” even during the pandemic, said Akihiko Kawazoe, an analyst at Toyo Securities. “The company probably won’t be impacted by the coronavirus as much. Its sales will likely be in line with its outlook.”

Odawara Engineering’s Hoshina said the company’s backlog for coil-winding machines has increased since December, and he said the manufacturer is now focused on cutting costs. Bigger companies in the sector are buying smaller ones, and competition is becoming more global, he said.

In 2018, Germany’s Schaeffler AG bought Elmotec Statomat GmbH & Co., a winding technology company. ABB Ltd and ThyssenKrupp AG have joined CWIEME, a global trade and expo group for coil winding and electric motors. Odawara Engineering also competes with Tana Automation Co., Nittoku Co. and China’s Changzhou Jinkang Precision Mechanism Co.

In order to fit more wire into motors, Odawara is working on “hairpin” winding machines. Instead of round wires, square-shaped wires are used to pack more into electric motors, improving their efficiency and performance. Denso Corp. was among the pioneers in developing hairpin-winding technology.

Even though the market is getting bigger, Odawara Engineering will focus on developing innovations instead of rushing to add capacity, according to Hoshina. Because the machines are complicated and made by hand, merely adding more workers wouldn’t work, he said.

“We plan to grow gradually by choosing our clients,” Hoshina said. “By looking at which clients and what motors are promising.”

Electric-car subsidies make Renaults free in Germany #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Electric-car subsidies make Renaults free in Germany

Jul 15. 2020An electric charging station stands beside a Renault SA K-ZE electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show in Paris, France, on Oct. 1, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Marlene Awaad.An electric charging station stands beside a Renault SA K-ZE electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show in Paris, France, on Oct. 1, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Marlene Awaad.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Elisa Miebach, Stefan Nicola · BUSINESS, WORLD, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS, RETAIL, EUROPE 
Car buyers in Europe can now get their hands on a brand-new electric vehicle for less than the typical cost of a mobile-phone contract. Thanks to newly generous subsidies, some are even free.

Shoppers have swarmed virtual showrooms in Germany and France — the region’s two largest passenger-car markets — after their national governments boosted electric-vehicle incentives to stimulate demand. Their purchase subsidies are now among the most favorable in the world, according to BloombergNEF.

The state support is allowing Autohaus Koenig, a dealership chain with more than 50 locations across Germany, to advertise a lease for the battery-powered Renault Zoe that is entirely covered by subsidies. In the 20 days since it put the offer online, roughly 3,000 people have inquired and about 300 have signed contracts.

“If we had more sales staff, we would have sold even more,” said Wolfgang Huber, head of electric-car sales for the dealer in Berlin, who published a Facebook post asking customers to be patient. “We did expect an increase in sales with the subsidies, but this run really struck us.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron have sought to soften the coronavirus pandemic’s blow to the badly hit car sector. Sales in Europe have recovered more slowly in Europe than in China or North America, pressuring policy makers to support major sources of employment and economic activity.

In France, sales of Renault’s Zoe model are on track to double this year even as demand for gasoline vehicles has cratered. And in the Netherlands, where the city of Amsterdam is banning non-electric cars from 2030, a 10 million-euro ($11.4 million) fund to support EV purchases was used up in just eight days this month.

“There are a lot of attractive offers right now because of higher subsidies, and that’s boosting demand,” said Aleksandra O’Donovan, an analyst with BloombergNEF. “The EU is pushing toward decarbonizing transport, and the coronavirus crisis has allowed them to accelerate that.”

Germany’s subsidies of as much as 9,000 euros per electric vehicle have boosted sales for Carfellows, a German auto-trading website, about tenfold.

“This is a golden moment for us,” said Rainer Westdoerp, a spokesman for the Berlin-based startup, which on Wednesday will start offering leases of Daimler’s battery-powered Smart EQ for 9.90 euros a month.

Carfellows took down a similar offer for the Smart model in June after about 1,000 customers reached out within three days and the automaker couldn’t supply cars fast enough, Westdoerp said.

While the best deals — including Carfellows’s Smart offering — are usually for buyers of company cars because of perks including tax and risk rebates, private drivers in Germany can still lease an electric car from the site for as little as 39 euros a month. In France, where the government raised subsidies to 7,000 euros per car this year, customers can lease the Zoe from 79 euros a month.

Buyers will have to read the fine print, as some offers come with additional one-time fees or down payments. And not everyone in Europe is spending more to speed up EV adoption, with the U.K. and Belgium recently cutting aid. China had planned to end its subsidies this year but extended them to 2022 in response to the pandemic.

But in general, the picture looks attractive for European buyers as the continent is home to eight of the nine countries with the largest national purchasing-subsidies, according to BNEF.

Governments will have to weigh carefully when to let those subsidies run out to avoid sales falling off a cliff. But there will come a time when that won’t be a concern anymore, O’Donovan said.

“The decreasing price of batteries suggests that EVs should be cheaper to buy than gasoline cars from the mid-2020s,” she said. “Once that happens, the market will accelerate even without subsidies.”

Nissan unveils new electric SUV and logo redesign #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Nissan unveils new electric SUV and logo redesign

Jul 15. 2020Makoto Uchida, CEO of Nissan, unveils the company's Ariya electric crossover SUV at Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan, on July 15, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Noriko Hayashi.Makoto Uchida, CEO of Nissan, unveils the company’s Ariya electric crossover SUV at Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan, on July 15, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Noriko Hayashi.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Shiho Takezawa, Masatsugu Horie, Tsuyoshi Inajima · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 
Nissan unveiled a new electric vehicle and redesign of its “hamburger” corporate logo, seeking to make a fresh start after months of management turmoil and declining profitability.

The Ariya, an all-electric SUV with a range of as much as 610 kilometers (379 miles), is the first entirely new product to be launched under new management that took over in December. The debut of the model, which has a starting price of about 5 million yen ($46,600), is the automaker’s latest effort to refresh an aging lineup.

“Ariya has all the essence of Nissan’s technology,” said Makoto Uchida, Nissan’s chief executive officer.

Nissan could benefit from the buzz surrounding a new vehicle, even though it isn’t scheduled to go on sale until mid-2021. The Japanese automaker had its biggest loss in two decades for the year that ended in March, and the November 2018 arrest of former leader Carlos Ghosn triggered management turmoil that lingers to this day. The Ariya serves as a reminder that Nissan is still Japan’s second-biggest automaker by output, and that it has been working for years in preparation for the EV and autonomous driving era.

“Expectations are high,” said Koji Endo, an analyst at SBI Securities. “Whether this will sell is going to have a large effect on Nissan’s performance.”

Shares of Nissan advanced 7.3% in Tokyo, with analysts citing retail investor excitement about the Ariya’s debut. The stock has lost 34% this year.

The Ariya is a successor to the all-electric Leaf, which went on sale a decade ago in Japan and the U.S. refreshed once in 2017. The five-door hatchback is one of the best-selling EVs in the world, with about 500,000 shipped so far. One drawback of the Leaf, however, has been its limited range of about 322 kilometers, or about 200 miles.

With a length of 4.6 meters and height of 1.6 meters, the Ariya fits squarely within the compact SUV category. The interior space, however, is comparable to that of a larger vehicle, thanks to the placement of batteries at the floor of the chassis, like in Tesla Inc.’s models.

The Ariya comes with ProPilot 2.0, the latest version of Nissan’s autonomous driving technology. The feature, which was rolled out last year for the refreshed Skyline, offers lane-changing and driver-monitoring capabilities. The Ariya also has a self-parking feature, and Amazon.com’s voice-based digital assistant Alexa.

The big question is whether consumers will be ready to buy the Ariya when it goes on sale in Japan mid-2021, and whether Nissan can get its business back on surer footing by then. For the coming fiscal year through March, analysts project, on average, a loss of 323 billion yen and a 17% decline in sales. In China, the Ariya will face tough competition from Tesla, which has a local plant churning out Model 3 electric sedans and, later on, Model Y SUVs.

“This car is extremely important for Nissan,” Senior Vice President Ivan Espinosa said in an interview. It is “the first car in a complete shift in our lineup and the way we want to address the market moving forward.”

On Wednesday, Nissan priced 70 billion yen of notes in three tranches, in its first yen debt sale since 2016. The coupons on the securities are the highest among all yen notes from Japanese firms this fiscal year, according to Bloomberg data.

Nissan is also using the Ariya’s debut to show off a new corporate brand logo, to be used on vehicles and official communication. It’s a simplified version of the prior design, with just two half-circles depicting the sun, fronted by the letters of the company’s name.

The Ariya is debuting just as the pandemic weighs on car demand and depresses economic activity across the globe. Global passenger vehicle sales are on track to slump 23% this year and EVs are set to drop 18%, the first decline in the modern era, according to BloombergNEF. The recovery will be mild in 2021, with China and Europe leading the way, according to researchers.

After going on sale next year, the Ariya will hit the markets of Europe, U.S. and China during the next fiscal year, which ends March 2022.

The Ariya will be available in four versions: a pair of two-wheel drive versions with a choice of different battery capacities, and two high-performance four-wheel drive models with different ranges. The two-wheel drive with the larger battery offers the greatest driving range.

“We now have a dedicated EV platform that will carry over into new vehicles,” Uchida said. “It’s my job, my responsibility, to bring Nissan back to the market.”

Mazda readies impressive line-up for Bangkok Motor Show #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Mazda readies impressive line-up for Bangkok Motor Show

Jul 14. 2020

By THE NATION

Mazda is confident that a large number of visitors will show up at the Bangkok International Motor Show 2020, which kicks off on July 15 until July 26, and is all set to unveil its new crossover SUV, CX-3, under the “Leap Forward” concept.

The new model offers good value for money, shows off the Skyactive-G 2 litre engine and is packed with safety and comfort features.

Apart from displaying an impressive line-up, Mazda will also be offering special deals, like 0 per cent interest, a year’s free premium insurance, a five-year or 15,000-kilometre extended warranty, five years or 10,000km, of free maintenance, a Bt100,000 discount and other special offers.

Chanchai Trakarnudomsuk, president of Mazda Sales (Thailand), said: “Though we all have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and our way of life has changed, I believe Thailand’s economy and the automotive industry will recover gradually.”

Over the past few months, Mazda has tried to stimulate the market by adjusting its marketing strategies both at its showrooms and online channels.

The new Mazda CX-3 comes in four models:

BASE: Fully equipped with all features starting from Bt768,000

COMFORT: Designed for comfort and convenience and priced at Bt848,000

PROACTIVE: Complete with “i-ACTIVSENSE” safety technology and priced at Bt948,000

STYLE: Designed for exclusivity and going for Bt1,048,000

The event is being held at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre.