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PARIS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The coronavirus crisis has forced carmakers to speed up layoffs that must be matched with hefty payouts and deft negotiation to retain the support of powerful trade unions vital if Europe’s auto industry is to manage a shift to low-emission vehicles.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a broader economic slowdown, demand for light vehicles is expected to shrink by 36 million globally by the end of 2022, consultants AlixPartners found.
For this year alone, this is equivalent to a market the size of Europe disappearing, AlixPartners said.
The contraction increases an existing threat to jobs from electric cars, which are quicker and easier to build than those with combustion engines and which have German and French government backing as the countries strive for a green recovery.
“Once the consensus between labour leaders and management has broken down, it is extremely difficult to implement restructuring in Europe,” Stefan Bratzel, a professor at the Centre of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, said.
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The move could provide a significant boost to electric vehicle demand along with the broader stimulus plan which included taxes to penalise ownership of large polluting combustion-engined sports utility vehicles and a 6,000 euro subsidy towards the cost of an electric vehicle.
Germany’s announcement follows a French plan to boost electric car sales announced last week by President Macron.
“It’s a very clear commitment to battery-powered vehicles and establishes electric mobility as a technology of the future,” energy storage specialist The Mobility House, whose investors include Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, said.
“Internationally this puts Germany in the leading group of battery electric vehicle support.”
The lockdown was announced unannounced on 24 March. Overnight everything was shut. Factories, Offices, Trains, Airports, Ports. Yes thats what Lockdown is! Never seen in India’s history. So no precedence, no reference!
The Quasi Federal Structure of our country could empower the Central Govt to do it. USA took a while to go in lockdown as they are pure federal. There, each state governor needs to ratify. Here it was just one Man’s speech and its done.
So what pushed the migrant workers to leave. The straight answer is No Money, No food, no shelter. They are the first to bear the axe. They have no Permanent employment, No EPF, no nothing. Living for the day, day in and out.
PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Demonstrators gathered outside U.S. missions in South African cities on Monday to condemn the killing of George Floyd, the black man whose death in police custody has set off a wave of protests worldwide and ignited a debate about race and justice.
Protesters led by opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) carried placards saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Black people are not slaves” outside the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The leader of the ultra-left EFF, Julius Malema, told a crowd of several hundred protesters outside the embassy that it was important for South Africans to stand in solidarity with African Americans.
DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) is re-evaluating how much office space it needs for white-collar workers as restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic are eased and employees return to workplaces.
Ford brought back 12,000 salaried employees last month, and others have been told they can work from home until September, spokeswoman Marisa Bradley said. Given potential workplace changes caused by the outbreak, a facility consolidation the No. 2 U.S. automaker had already launched could accelerate.
“If we know we are going to have a smaller population that’s going to come back to work, we could look at maybe shrinking our footprint,” Bradley said.
U.S. companies are wrestling with who can work from home and how much office space is necessary.
Corona means different things to different folks round the world.
On one hand, you have a few defiant industrialists who complain India got the strictest and an unwanted lockdown so early on, just to be opened up and eased out with rising cases. On the other, we have Mukesh Ambani raising US$ 7 billion from Global Investors during the same Period. Period!
There are developed nations of the west emulating Anti Covid measures of the Govt of India, of which many we began more than 2 months back.
You have the upper middle & elite class go overboard on cooking, baking, partying, binge netflixing, zooming and you have migrant workers walking 200 km without food and much water and collapsing on the roadside to die, including pregnant women.
There are companies donating to PM Cares fund and the same ones also firing their own employees citing, ‘No Money’. The law of the land allows these companies to donate their CSR Fund but stops them to use the same funds for paying salaries and if done, company directors can face arrest, prosecution and ouster! Ha ha ! Do we really need Kapil Sharma to make us laugh?
LONDON (Reuters) – Nissan’s (7201.T) car manufacturing plant in Sunderland, northern England, which employs 7,000, is “unsustainable” if Britain leaves the European Union without a trade deal, it said on Wednesday.
Ashwani Gupta, the Japanese company’s global chief operating head, told the BBC its commitment to the car plant, the United Kingdom’s largest, could not be maintained if there was no tariff-free access to the bloc.
The EU is the biggest market for the factory, which made just under 350,000 vehicles last year and builds the Qashqai, Juke and Leaf models.
The United Kingdom left the EU on Jan. 31 but the main terms of its membership remain in place during a transition period until the end of this year, allowing it time to negotiate a new free trade deal with the bloc. However, the talks are at an impasse.
BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany unveiled sweeping incentives for cheap electric cars, providing a boost to Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) electric push while penalising heavy sports utility vehicles (SUVs) with new staggered taxes for polluting combustion-engined cars.
Buyer incentives for passenger cars, including a lowering of value added tax (VAT) to 16% from 19% were included as part of a 130 billion euro ($145.74 billion) stimulus but analysts said it would not be enough to significantly boost car demand.
“The lowering of VAT will hardly provide an impetus,” said Peter Fuss, a partner at EY, adding that electric cars are still too much of a niche product to lift the overall market.
Germany included a 6,000 euro incentive for battery electric cars costing below 40,000 euros, bringing consumer incentives for electric cars to 9,000 euros once a 3,000 euro manufacturer stipend is included. [nL8N2DH2E8]
PARIS (Reuters) – Renault (RENA.PA) finalised on Wednesday a 5 billion euro ($5.60 billion) loan from with the French government, strengthening the carmaker’s finances in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged the auto industry.
Renault said that the credit facility carried a guarantee from the French state – which owns a 15% stake in Renault – of up to 90% of the total amount borrowed.
Renault also said in a statement that the loan would help finance the company’s liquidity requirements.
The announcement sparked weekend protests at some factories, including at Maubeuge in northern France, although Renault’s chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has pledged the site will not be closed.
($1 = 0.8925 euros)
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Keith Weir and Louise Heavens
DETROIT, June 3 (Reuters) – Top executives of the Detroit Three automakers and other major Michigan employers on Wednesday condemned racism and injustice in the United States following the death last week of an unarmed black man at the hands of Minneapolis police, carefully joining a charged national debate.
General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart were among the nine executives who called for independent prosecution of those involved in Floyd’s death, and agreed to invest in programs and policies to help transform communities with racial disparities.
“We unequivocally condemn intolerance,” Barra said at the event at Detroit’s municipal office which was livestreamed. “When hatred exists in our house, we will root it out.”
Barra said inclusion would be GM’s guiding principle, and called on GM employees to speak up and tell her what needs to be done. “We want to be part of meaningful, deliberate change,” she said. “We will act.” Barra said earlier this week she will form a new “inclusion advisory board” to advise the company’s top executives.
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