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Nissan and Renault Name New CEOs

renault nissan

Just this year, we saw two chief executive officers make their exit from Nissan. Recently, the company announced that they have finally chosen someone who will officially take the leadership position and that’s Makoto Uchida.

The announcement that Uchida is the next CEO of Nissan came this Tuesday. He is currently the company’s head of its China business.

It should be noted that the Japan-based company just removed Carlos Ghosn last April following a series of controversies arising from his alleged financial misconduct. The allegations led to his arrest in November last year.

Ghosn’s replacement, Hiroto Saikawa was also ousted barely a month ago due to an alleged pay scandal. He was heavily criticized too for his failure to support Nissan’s merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

Uchida is only 53 years old upon his new appointment. He served as president of the company’s Chinese joint venture in April 2018. Nissan is hopeful that he will be a key in repairing their severed ties with Renault.

Speaking of Renault, its board announced an interim CEO for the company as well. They just fired Thierry Bollore on Friday following the announcement of Nissan’s change in leadership. Taking over the French firm temporarily is Clotilde Delbos who has been with Renault since 2012 and has served as the company’s chief financial officer in 2016.

Delbos is said to be a supporter of Renault’s merger with Nissan. Paired with Uchida, the people within their respective companies and the French government are hoping that the Nissan-Renault full merger will still push through, and possibly increase their ties with Mitsubishi Motors.

Justice Department Starts Criminal Investigation Into Ford’s Fuel Efficiency Testing

ford explorer st

The US Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into Ford Motor Company’s emissions-certification processes. The investigation focuses on Ford’s road-load estimations and it does not involve the use of defeat devices, similar to what Volkswagen admitted to using to fool government emissions testing.

The road-load estimations are used to determine the fuel efficiency figures as published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Consumer Reports, it is up to the automakers to set the parameters of the road load, which simulates aerodynamic drag, friction, and tire-related losses on a dynamometer—a device that allows a car to stimulate driving by placing its wheels on rollers.

EPA said that the car manufacturer must set the standards of the road load and they are not necessarily monitored for the correctness of their parameters. However, it is the responsibility of every automaker to ensure that the methods used for measurement conform to EPA standards.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumer Reports explained that emissions testing is often a “self-certification process” and a lot of small factors, including software settings and modeling assumptions, can make a huge difference in the actual EPA rating of the car.

She explained that automakers sometimes build parameters that are set too close to the tests that during the self-certification process, they make the most favorable and positive assumptions about the results.

The Justice department’s investigation is looking into Ford’s overstatement of fuel mileage on a “large number” of models. Ford said it willingly opened an internal investigation back in February into its emissions testing procedure after employees called the management’s attention on the anomalies in the processes. The company, who voluntarily informed the Justice Department and state and federal agencies about the investigation, said it is cooperating and working closely with government agencies.

“Because this matter is still in the preliminary stages, we cannot predict the outcome, and we cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us,” a Ford statement said.

The investigation into the emissions testing anomalies is centered on the 2019 Ford Ranger, which went on sale at the beginning of this year.

 

 

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Steps Down

Scott Pruitt

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt, who came under fire earlier for backing President Donald Trump’s decision to lower the standards for vehicle emissions requirements, resigned on Thursday because of an ethics scandal.

Pruitt is favored by the President for rolling back former President Barack Obama’s strict regulations on vehicle emissions. However, he is currently being investigated for travel and security expenses, as well as an expensive condominium arrangement.

President Trump said on Twitter that he has accepted Pruitt’s resignation and that EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will become acting chief of the agency starting on Monday.

Trump said that “Within the Agency[,] Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general, is facing dozens of investigations by the EPA inspector general, the Congress, and the White House. Reports pointed out to his questionable spending on first-class plane tickets, use of security detail, utilization of his office for favors, and connections with lobbyists and industry groups.

A separate report by The Washington Post even said that the former EPA chief pushed to find his wife a well-paying job with another politically-connected group.

The EPA’s inspector general is also being asked to look into reports that Pruitt falsified his official schedule “to hide or remove” records of his meetings and discussions with industry representatives. A CNN interview with US Representatives Don Beyer and Ted Lieu, citing remarks by Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff, said that Pruitt held routine meetings to “scrub, alter or remove from Pruitt’s official calendar numerous records because they might ‘look bad.'”

The representatives said that the allegations are being supported by an inspection of the former EPA chief’s official calendar.

Pruitt became famous for revising the Obama administration’s tighter standards on the model year 2022 to 2025 vehicles.

Volkswagen Fined 1 Billion Euros For “Dieselgate”

volkswagen dieselgate

Volkswagen has been fined 1 billion Euros ($1.18 billion) by public prosecutors in the German city of Braunschweig, the city close to the company’s Wolfsburg headquarters, over “Dieselgate” or the diesel emissions cheating that saw more than 10.7 million vehicles fitted with “defeat devices.”

The German company said it will pay the fine and would not lodge an appeal against it. The statement added that Volkswagen AG admits “its responsibility” for the diesel crisis “and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.”

Volkswagen said that the investigation found that “monitoring duties had been breached in the powertrain development department in the context of vehicle tests.” In human language, that means that the diesel cars sold worldwide between 2007 and 2015 have been fitted with the so-called “defeat devices.”

The purpose of these devices is to lower the emissions of cars during testing. However, the devices don’t work when the cars are used during normal driving conditions, meaning that the cars on the road could pump out up to 40 times the allowed amount of pollution.

The 1-billion-Euro penalty is composed of the 5 million Euros that is imposed along with the 995 million Euros for what was described as the “disgorgement of economic benefits,” which simply means the profit earned by Volkswagen for all the mess.

The payment will likely put to end the criminal prosecutions against the German company, but Volkswagen will continue to face the growing number of civil claims from motorists with affected cars, as well as the shareholders of the company. Volkswagen is not alone in what has been dubbed as the “Dieselgate.” Its subsidiaries will also be targeted, as well as luxury carmakers Mercedes-Benz, which already recalled more than 770,000 units, and BMW.

The diesel scandal first broke out in the US, where the company has already paid $25 billion in fines and compensation.

 

 

 

 

 

Toyota And Honda Caught Up in Kobe Steel Scandal

toyota and honda caught in kobe steel scandal

Kobe Steel, operating under the brand Kobelco, offers a wide range of products. Its main products include steel, titanium, aluminum and copper. It is a multi-billion company that caters even to giant automotive brands.

However, with the recent scandal plaguing it, automakers have launched their probe to identify their vehicles that have been affected. Toyota and Honda are now investigating on the matter to protect their customers and preserve their business interests.

The issue broke when Kobe Steel found out that their personnel have been giving false information in terms of the strength and durability ratings of their metal products. The incorrect data allowed the company to continuously meet the different quality standards required by their customers and by law. The problem is that it has been uncovered that most of their products were substandard.

Toyota is now worried about the aftermath of the shocking revelation as they have been using the aluminum produced by Kobe Steel in the doors and other body panels of their vehicles. The company believes that they have been doing that in the past decade.

On the other hand, Honda is also caught up in the nasty situation. The Japanese automaker admitted to using Kobelco metals in their doors and hoods.

It is believed that Mazda and Mitsubishi are in the mix as well. The problem may not be confined in Asia alone as the same company is the source of some materials for the vehicles of Nissan, Subaru, Ford and General Motors too.

While there are no reports of accidents or safety concerns centering on the subject yet, Toyota and Honda claimed that they are rapidly working to identify the models that have been affected. The issue might result to a massive recall similar to the Takata airbag scandal, and not to mention, numerous lawsuits from affected parties.

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