UAW president, Sanders divided over convention event, report says

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK — The UAW and onetime Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders clashed Monday ahead of what is billed as this month’s planned celebration of party unity to defeat President Donald Trump in the November elections.
UAW President Rory Gamble and Sanders sparred in a phone call over the senator’s plan to have a former autoworker union leader nominate him for president at the Democratic National Convention, people briefed on the matter told Reuters.
Democrats for months have been carefully crafting a made-for-television pageant to make their case in front of millions on national television for former Vice President Joe Biden to be elected.
Biden, a relative centrist in his party, is attempting to project a unified front after a divisive year-long primary that pitted liberals like Sanders against moderates. Big labor unions — including the 400,000-member UAW — are essential to Democrats, offering organizing support on which the party has come to depend in elections, but many rank-and-file members also support Trump.
Sanders, a Vermont independent who won nearly 1,100 delegates in the Democratic presidential race compared with nearly 2,700 for Biden, had planned to have former UAW President Bob King introduce him for president from a union hall, the people said.
A spokesman for Sanders, Mike Casca, confirmed the call took place, calling it “collegial and cordial, and focused on the reasons the senator wants Bob King to speak on his behalf at the convention.” He also confirmed that King will not speak from a UAW union hall.
Although Biden’s delegate numbers mean his nomination is a formality, other primary candidates are still expected to be introduced to the audience as nominees as part of the pageantry of the week-long event.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg acknowledged Gamble raised concerns about a UAW hall being used to nominate Sanders. “The UAW endorsed Joe Biden and it is disrespectful and confusing to use a UAW facility to nominate an unendorsed candidate,” said Rothenberg.
Rothenberg added of Gamble’s call with Sanders “there was an elevated exchange but not disrespectful. And we ended the call in mutual disagreements.” Gamble has requested to talk with Biden, Rothenberg added.
TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, declined to comment. King, who retired as UAW president in 2014, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
A spokeswoman for the DNC committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Autoworkers are a key constituency whose support could help determine the Nov. 3 election. Trump has heavily courted autoworkers who live in swing states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, while Biden has touted his support for auto workers when he served as vice president and his support of policies championed by unions.
Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan in 2016 by just over 10,000 votes, or 0.23 percent. Democrats in the state hope Biden will attract more blue-collar support in 2020.

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Hertz seeks bankruptcy loan as rental volume slowly recovers

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is seeking debtor-in-possession financing more than two months after filing for Chapter 11 protection, reflecting the reality that it still faces trouble ahead if travel doesn’t bounce back.
The bankrupt rental-car giant said in a regulatory filing Monday it is looking for new sources of cash with the travel business in a deep slump and proceeds from the sale of its cars going to pay off creditors.
Hertz had sought to avoid raising funds while it negotiates a debt restructuring with asset-backed securities holders, but the deterioration in its core rental business and uncertainty ahead leaves it with few options. The company’s revenue fell 67 percent in the second quarter, pushing it $847 million into the red on a net-income basis.
With $1.4 billion in cash on hand, Hertz said its continued ability to finance operations depends on a recovery in demand in key markets and an extension from creditors of waivers on payments for its cars in continental Europe and the U.K., the filing said.
The company said it saw demand rise every month in the most recent quarter, but it remains below pre-pandemic levels.
Without an extension beyond Sept. 30, Hertz must start making payments on its European fleet, which is owned by investors who hold its asset-backed securities. Hertz already has reached an agreement allowing it to use much of its U.S. fleet with a commitment to pay securities holders $108 million a month from July until the end of the year.
To do that, Hertz plans to shrink its U.S. fleet by at least another 182,000 vehicles after selling off 100,000 cars in June and July.
In the second quarter, Hertz lost $587 million in earnings before interest and taxes and its per-share loss of $3.51 far exceeded a consensus estimate for a loss of $2.33 a share. Its revenue fell to $832 million.

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Judge blocks Uber, Lyft from classifying drivers as contractors in Calif.

A California judge Monday granted the state’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. from classifying their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
Judge Ethan Schulman of the San Francisco Superior Court delayed enforcing his order by 10 days to give the companies a chance to appeal.

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Tesla store among shops vandalized overnight in Chicago

DETROIT — A Tesla store along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping district was broken into overnight Sunday during numerous acts of vandalism in the city’s downtown commercial area.
One video shows a number of people running into the Tesla-Gold Coast location on North Rush Street after the store’s windows were broken. It’s unclear whether any vehicles were stolen or destroyed.
A call to the store Monday afternoon went to voicemail, and a Tesla spokesman did not return a request for comment.

A number of other stores — including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s and Ralph Lauren — also were looted, according to The Washington Post.
The unrest reportedly stemmed from an incident earlier Sunday when officers shot and wounded a 20-year-old man after he fired shots at them while being chased.
More than 100 people were arrested overnight, The Chicago Tribune reported. The paper said 13 officers were injured during the unrest, including a sergeant who was hit by a bottle.

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FCA denies GM's accusations of spying

DETROIT — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Monday disputed allegations made by General Motors of spying and bribes funneled through offshore bank accounts, comparing the claims by its rival to a “third-rate spy movie.”
FCA said GM’s attempt to revive a federal racketeering case that a judge dismissed in July is “meritless and should be denied.” GM said in its amended complaint last week that FCA and co-conspirators are guilty of “corporate espionage” that directly harmed GM and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
FCA, in its response Monday, said GM must know “that the prospect of the court changing its mind on the crucial issue of RICO causation is slim to none, so this motion is apparently a vehicle for GM to make more defamatory and baseless accusations about a competitor.”
The accusations are an attempt to tarnish FCA’s reputation unfairly as it prepares to merge with PSA Group of France, FCA said.
“GM’s proposed amended complaint is the latest example of the lengths it is prepared to go to, attacking a competitor that is winning in the marketplace with yet more baseless accusations,” FCA said in a statement. “As we have said from the date this lawsuit was filed, it is meritless and we will continue to vigorously defend ourselves. GM’s attempts to tarnish FCA’s reputation and that of individual FCA officers and employees will not distract us from our mission of providing customers with outstanding and exciting cars, trucks and SUVs or from completing our landmark combination with Groupe PSA.”
GM’s original racketeering suit, filed in November, claimed that its smaller rival secured an unfair labor-cost advantage by bribing UAW officials during key contract negotiations covering wages and benefits. The suit alleges that former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died in 2018, wanted to hurt GM in an effort to force a merger between the two companies.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman dismissed the case with prejudice after calling it a distraction for the companies and a “waste of time and resources.” But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later said Borman failed to consider other remedies and said his reasoning — that the lawsuit would distract the companies from dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and recent racial tensions across the country — was unrelated to the case at hand.
GM said Monday it stands behind its pleading.
“FCA’s corruption of the collective bargaining process remains undeniable — a federal investigation is ongoing and there have already been multiple guilty pleas,” GM said in a statement. “New facts uncovered through GM’s investigation which FCA tries to discount — including offshore accounts in multiple countries — implicate numerous individuals and make GM’s RICO case even stronger. GM seeks to uncover in court the full extent of harm the FCA bribery scheme caused GM.”
GM said nothing in FCA’s replies “counters the significance of these allegations and the direct harm the defendants’ corruption caused GM, and the Court should amend its prior judgment and reinstate our case.”
GM came to the table with fresh details in its filing last week, saying that FCA and co-conspirators used a network of foreign bank accounts containing millions of dollars in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Italy, Singapore and the Cayman Islands to harm GM.
GM named two former UAW officials — Joe Ashton, who joined GM’s board in 2014 after retiring as the head of the union’s GM department, and ex-President Dennis Williams — as defendants, along with Alphons Iacobelli, who left FCA in 2015 and then joined GM. The complaint also makes allegations against former UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, who has not been named or implicated in any previous cases of UAW corruption. Gettelfinger angrily denied the accusations.
FCA said in its Monday filing that GM’s proposed amended complaint is “full of preposterous allegations,” inluding that it paid Ashton and Iacobelli with money from the overseas accounts to infiltrate GM and funnel inside information to FCA. “None of that is true,” FCA said.
FCA also said GM fails to meet its burden of showing that its “newly discovered evidence” would have produced a different result if presented before the original case was dismissed.
GM accused FCA of providing Iacobelli and a family member with “millions of dollars” through funds currently in accounts in Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Singapore.
GM’s allegations are based on speculation, Iacobelli said in a filing Saturday submitted by his lawyer. The information GM has relied on is “objectively unreliable and would not survive the light of day,” the filing said.
Iacobelli, who is serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence for his role in the FCA-UAW corruption scandal, blasted GM, equating the automaker to the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy by claiming to have evidence without providing it.
“Senator McCarthy never actually made the list public but garnered significant attention by promoting his claim that ‘I have here in my hand a list …’ of those supposed State Department employees” that McCarthy said were members of the communist party, he said. “GM similarly claims possession of alleged ‘newly discovered evidence,’ supposedly a list of alleged foreign bank accounts that GM attributes to the Defendants (and proposed defendants) and around which imaginary list GM spins a wild and completely unsupported tale of ‘moles’ and alleged undisclosed foreign payments.”

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Nikola plans to make 2,500 electric garbage trucks

Republic Services Inc. said on Monday it would partner with startup EV maker Nikola Corp. to develop 2,500 electric waste and recycling collection trucks.
The zero-emission vehicles, which will have a range of 150 miles, are expected to be integrated into Republic Services’ fleet beginning in 2023, the U.S. waste disposal company said in a statement.
“The deal is expandable to 5,000 vehicles over the life of the agreement.”
Nikola shares surged 19 percent after the announcement to $43.54 in midday trading.

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Essenza SCV12 packs Lambo's most powerful naturally aspirated V-12

Lamborghini’s newest model is meant only for a race track, and it looks the part.
The Essenza SCV12 is powered by a Lamborghini hallmark, a naturally aspirated V-12 engine, and features a carbon-fiber chassis, a sequential six-speed transmission and racing slick tires.
“Essenza SCV12 is the ultimate expression of the V-12 naturally aspirated engine, the symbol of our brand since 1963,” Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s chief technical officer, said in a statement.
Lamborghini says the Essenza SCV12’s engine is the automaker’s most powerful naturally aspirated V-12 ever.

The automaker will build 40 units. Pricing has not been disclosed.
Initially teased earlier this summer, the Essenza SCV12 looks just as wild without the camouflage.
Developed with Lamborghini Squadra Corse, the Italian exotic’s racing division, the Essenza SCV12 features sharp angles inside and out. The large rear wing, side fins and front splitter are design elements borrowed from Lamborghini’s Huracan Super Trofeo Evo and GT3 Evo race cars, the automaker noted.
Aerodynamics play a crucial role with the Essenza SCV12. There’s a double air intake in the front as well as what Lamborghini calls a “central rib.” Lamborghini says the setup directs air to the intake scoop on the roof and in turn creates greater airflow to the engine, increasing power.

The automaker noted that Essenza SCV12 customers will get access to “special programs to drive their hypercar on the most prestigious circuits in the world” starting in 2021.
Each Essenza SCV12 will have a personalized garage and dedicated services at a new hangar in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy.

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Former NIADA chief to join KAR Global

Former National Independent Automobile Dealers Association CEO Steve Jordan will join KAR Global as executive vice president of dealer sales, the company said Monday. The association announced Friday that Jordan resigned as CEO.

He remains at NIADA in an advisory capacity as part of a 30-day transition period and is to join KAR in September.

Jordan was CEO of NIADA, of Arlington, Texas, for seven years. At KAR, he is to lead the vehicle wholesaling company’s dealer sales organization in the U.S. and Canada, with a focus on advancing the company’s portfolio of buyer and seller products and services for auto retailers.

“Steve is a true industry leader who understands the full automotive ecosystem, from high-level market and economic trends to the day-to-day challenges of running a dealership,” John Hammer, chief commercial officer for KAR, said in a statement Monday. Hammer said Jordan’s “broad insight and experience” will help the company stay connected with dealers and his “digital mindset and entrepreneurial spirit are a perfect match” for KAR’s strategy and culture.

NIADA has begun searching for Jordan’s replacement. Jordan has been with the association, which represents the used automobile industry and more than 38,000 licensed used-vehicle dealers, since 2009, when he was named executive director of the affiliated Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association. He joined the national association’s staff in 2011 as COO.

Under Jordan’s leadership, the association strengthened its presence on Capitol Hill by reviving its annual lobbying event in Washington and ramping up its legislative advocacy. He orchestrated two acquisitions that expanded NIADA’s dealer 20 Groups and educational programs.

“Through the association, we made an indelible mark on the used vehicle industry by uniting the voice of the independent dealer in common purpose,” Jordan said. “Of course I am proud of the numerous association accomplishments over the years, but the many friendships that were created along the way have been the most rewarding.”

The National Automobile Dealers Association is also searching for a new chief, following an announcement in May that CEO Peter Welch will retire from the franchised dealer trade group at the end of the year.

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DAILY DRIVE PODCAST: August 10, 2020 | BMW's Bernhard Kuhnt: 'Full steam ahead' on new products 

Join Automotive News Publisher Jason Stein for a daily podcast series about the coronavirus crisis. He’ll speak with industry experts, insiders and Automotive News reporters about how the virus is impacting and reshaping the automotive industry.

BMW North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt says the coronavirus crisis has not impacted the automaker’s future product plans. He also talks about the shift toward online vehicle sales, the recovery in the European car market and how his views on work from home have changed.

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Geely, propelled by Volvo, seeks launchpad to join auto-giant orbit

SHANGHAI — Geely plans to use a platform developed with input from Volvo to build new models in Malaysia for its partly owned Proton brand, a strategy that shows how it aims to accelerate a push to become China’s first global auto giant.
The yet-to-be-finalized plans for Proton are just one strand of a Geely project to revamp factories at home and abroad using joint platforms it has been perfecting with Volvo since 2013. Geely bought the Swedish brand 10 years ago for $1.8 billion — a deal that raised its international profile and sent shock waves through the global auto industry.
Senior Geely officials and engineers told Reuters that a project dubbed Compact Modular Architecture will allow them to develop, design and build different types of compact cars with similar mechanical layout faster than before — and at lower cost.
They said CMA, along with a platform for smaller cars known as B-segment Modular Architecture that Geely plans to roll out for Proton, allow them to harness the Swedish automaker’s technologies and Geely’s capabilities in cost control, supply chain management and local production.
“CMA will be the core of Geely’s future architecture design … We learn technologies and build up talents through developing it,” said Li Li, vice president at Geely Automobile Research Institute, confirming the Proton plan during an interview in Ningbo, south of Shanghai. Li declined to disclose details of general investment, financial targets or a timetable for expansion plans.
From its lowly foundation in 1986 in Taizhou on the east coast as a maker of refrigerator parts, Geely has grown into one of the biggest automakers in China, the world’s largest auto market accounting for nearly one in every three passenger cars sold around the planet. Geely now sells more than 2 million cars a year across all brands, ranking it not far from the world’s top 10 automakers by unit sales.
The CMA platform in particular will allow Geely and Volvo to design vehicles more quickly and cost-effectively, Li said, providing a technological springboard to gain scale and market share at a time when the auto industry must embrace a future featuring electric and autonomously driven transport.

Like Geely — an anglicization of the Chinese word for ‘lucky’ — domestic peers Great Wall Motor and GAC have branched out with their own versions of vehicle platforms, harboring greater ambitions for selling cars in major Western markets.
But grand plans have previously been delayed, or simply canceled, amid a lack of practical preparedness, analysts have said, against a backdrop of years of trade tensions between China and the United States that have roiled the global economy. At the same time, attention has been diverted to deal with stalling sales at home as the pace of China’s growth has slowed.
In its pursuit of global automaker status, Hangzhou-based Geely is now holding talks to merge the Volvo Cars business with its Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile — worth about $22 billion by market value, bigger then famed industry names like Fiat Chrysler Automobile and Nissan Motor .
As well as the 49.9 percent stake it took in Proton three years ago, the broader Geely group — Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, led by Taizhou-born billionaire Li Shufu — now holds a 9.7 percent stake in Germany’s Daimler AG and a majority stake in British sport car brand Lotus.
And while giants from Toyota Motor Corp. to Volkswagen Group and General Motors Co. have followed a similar shared-platform approach for their respective brands, Geely’s strategy is a first for a Chinese company.
The automaker plans to develop all future models for the Geely and Lynk & Co brands on CMA or other related product platforms, like BMA. It is also developing a new architecture to accelerate the launch of battery-electric vehicles with intelligent connectivity functions, said Li, a former Ford engineer.
In addition, Geely wants to shift development of the next generations of some popular existing models, such as the Borui and Emgrand sedans, to those architectures, he said. It takes around 18 months for Geely to significantly change a CMA-based car, versus 24-30 months to do so on a non-CMA-based model.
Using CMA, plant managers can switch production of different models to maintain smooth overall capacity utilization rates on production lines, said Oskar Falk, the Volvo-trained head at Geely and Volvo’s first joint plant in Taizhou.
The factory already exports Volvo Polestar 2 electric sedans to the United States and Europe, and is preparing to make Volvo’s first battery-powered electric vehicle, Falk said.
Geely also plans to start exporting China-made Lynk & Co 01 SUVs to Europe this year.

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