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  • Surging SUV Demand Is Spooking German Workers Building Sedans

    Surging SUV Demand Is Spooking German Workers Building Sedans

    (Bloomberg) -- Germany’s car industry built its world-class reputation on sedans like the Audi A4, the BMW 5-Series and the Volkswagen Passat, reliable models that look good in the family driveway or company lot. But a shift in consumer taste to more hulking vehicles is coming at the worst possible time.Demand for sport utility vehicles that initially took hold in America has spread across the globe, dramatically changing the product mix of carmakers along with their production footprint. Higher sales of the lucrative vehicles, while good for German manufacturers overall, threatens to hurt the workforce in factories at home that are heavily geared toward traditional sedans and hatchbacks.At BMW AG, sales of SUVs made mostly in the U.S. account for 44% of all global deliveries, up from 24% a decade ago -- with a corresponding drop for models like the bread-and-butter 5-Series made at the Dingolfing plant near Munich. The trend is similar at Audi, which churns out SUVs mainly in Mexico, Hungary and Slovakia, and Mercedes, whose workers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, can’t make the massive GLE fast enough to satisfy demand.Recession, Trade WarsGermany’s automotive industry, the largest employer with about 830,000 workers, is already straining under the biggest production drop in nearly a decade. That has helped push Europe’s largest economy closer to recession. The decline, led by trade tensions and a slowing global economy, comes at a delicate time for an industry already facing a future when fewer hands will be needed to assemble battery-powered vehicles.A car’s combustion engine alone counts more than 1,000 parts, compared with just a couple of dozen components in an electric motor that doesn’t require an exhaust, transmission or fuel tank. The repercussions from the simpler setup cascade through the making of an electric car, with fewer people involved in development, testing, parts purchasing and service.“The SUV trend will certainly have implications for production structures,” said Rolf Janssen, a partner at Roland Berger consultancy. “For workers, this adds additional pressure to the overall transformation trend.”Like the pick-up truck, a model that’s popular in the U.S. but largely absent from European roads, SUVs were a fringe phenomenon on the continent two decades ago. Instead, motorists aspired to own an Audi A3 or the Mercedes C-Class, while their larger luxury siblings chauffeured around captains of industry and politicians.Mercedes set up shop in Alabama in 1995, making SUVs near consumers in a key market, while BMW’s sprawling Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, its biggest globally, churns out X3 through X7 models. VW manufactures its T-Roc crossover, credited with lifting results in its most recent quarter, in Portugal, while the Audi Q7 and Q8 takes form in Slovakia and the Q3 in Hungary.Forecaster LMC Automotive expects domestic German car production to sag to a 10-year low this year, with the export market in particular facing trouble. Justin Cox, director for global production at LMC, singled out Audi’s Neckarsulm plant in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Passat factory in Emden in northern Germany and VW’s massive Wolfsburg site as vulnerable.“The sedan localization issue isn’t helping Germany,” Cox said.Factory OutputFactory staff are starting to push back. In June, Neckarsulm worker representatives estimated the site’s utilization rate at a woeful 60%, despite model revamps for A6, A7 and A8 sedans. The factory, which employs almost 17,000, is missing out on the SUV sales boom and lacks firm commitments to assemble upcoming electric models, the powerful works council said, vowing to not budge on concessions as Audi seeks talks to cut costs.Since 2009, sales of A6 sedans and hatchbacks have sagged to make up 12% of the total, down from 20%, while the A4 made at the Ingolstadt headquarters has declined to 18% from 31%.“We urgently need plan to improve capacity utilization now and a medium-term solution for the future,” Neckarsulm labor head Juergen Mews said in a statement.Audi said its German sites remained the backbone of its global production network. In Ingolstadt, which already makes the Q2 compact SUV alongside sedans, the brand is in the midst of construction work to make the plant more flexible, a spokeswoman said. Talks with the labor council on future allocation plans are ongoing, she said.Volkswagen’s factory in Emden has likewise faced problems as SUVs like the T-Roc cannibalize the trusty but staid Passat. Falling demand for the former drawing card has forced VW to put some 10,000 staff at Emden on reduced working hours and cut temporary employees.The world’s biggest carmaker is shifting the Passat to Czech Republic and will retool Emden to make only electric vehicles by 2023 -- a move VW has said will require still fewer workers.Plant RebalancingEven VW’s headquarters plant in Wolfsburg, the world’s largest single car-manufacturing complex, faces risky times. The ubiquitous Golf, the car that brought VW back from the brink in the 1970s and set the tone for compact city hoppers, has struggled to maintain its allure amid mushrooming offerings of popular compact crossovers.As an offset, the 20,000-worker plant also makes the popular Tiguan SUV, and should get a boost from Golf production being moved from Puebla in Mexico, Cox said. SUVs make up 42% of production at Wolfsburg with the Tiguan and Seat Tarraco, and VW plans to build compact electric SUVs in Germany, a spokeswoman said. SUV sales should account for half of VW brand deliveries by 2025 and the group will step up bundling similar products across its 12 automotive brands to boost efficencies, according to the company.BMW has also sought to balance its SUV footprint, adding the X1 entry-size model to its Regensburg site in Bavaria. BMW said its global production network was able to react to changes in demand and customer behavior, while utilization at its eight German plants was “good.”German SUVsMercedes began German production of the GLA compact crossover at Rastatt in 2013 and Sindelfingen last year, in addition to the mid-size GLC SUV in Bremen. But its lucrative GLE and GLS vehicles are still made in Tuscaloosa, and the top-priced G-Wagon is largely hand-built in Austria at contract manufacturer Magna International Inc. Mercedes upgraded its facilities early to quickly react to changes in demand, a spokeswoman said, as demand for Mercedes SUV models has increased every year since 2009.Switching production to new models is difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Roland Berger estimates that it can take as long as a year to retool a plant to start making SUVs alongside sedans -- provided the legwork to accommodate the bigger and heavier vehicles has already been done.BMW’s Dingolfing factory, its biggest in Europe, last year made 330,000 sedans, from the entry-level 3-Series all the way up to the top-range 8-Series coupe. The facility’s hopes now lie partly on the iNext crossover, a technology flagship in the mold of the i3 electric car and the i8 sports car, which use a carbon fiber chassis, that will go on production in 2021.“Some of the juggernaut or brownfield plants with deeply ingrained structures will face a tougher task,” said Roland Berger’s Janssen.To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Munich at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at, Benedikt KammelFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 'One app to rule them all is dead': How Uber and Lyft can get disrupted
    Yahoo Finance

    'One app to rule them all is dead': How Uber and Lyft can get disrupted

    In Berlin, companies like Uber don't have a dominant hold on transportation. Instead, many companies compete for a slice of the market.

  • These Are the 20 Richest People in Cars

    These Are the 20 Richest People in Cars

    (Bloomberg) -- Siblings Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt own almost half of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.The billionaires are descendants of Guenther Quandt, who built a German industrial empire by, among other things, supplying weapons to the Nazis during World War II. In the years since, the family has established stakes in both Daimler-Benz AG and BMW.Today, Klatten is Germany’s second-richest person, worth $18.6 billion, with interests in chemicals and carbon production, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Quandt, who owns part of a logistics company and a homeopathic medicine company, has a net worth of $15.5 billion. Both are members of BMW’s supervisory board, making them the richest related pair deriving wealth from the automotive industry. All told, the 25 richest families in the world now control almost $1.4 trillion in wealth, up 24% from last year. Our list of the 20 wealthiest people who have made fortunes in the automotive sector includes some household names: Tesla’s Elon Musk is worth $23.1 billion; Larry Ellison, with $58.5 billion in total wealth, owns a stake in Tesla that’s worth more than $730 million.Others are less prominent but no less successful: Pallonji Mistry, chairman of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, owns much of Tata Sons and is worth $20.3 billion; Li Shu Fu, the chairman of Volvo and Geely, is worth $10.6 billion.The Method The methodology behind wealth analysis can be challenging. In fortunes backed by decades of accumulated assets and dividends, the true extent of an individual’s or family’s holdings is often obscured. Most in this tax bracket are not thrilled to have their names, assets, shares, and interests published by a global news organization. Automotive wealth also tends to be a family affair. While individual members of these dynasties may not make the list, a clan’s overall wealth may be vast. (See: the Ford,  Porsche, and Pieech families.)  So we followed the same criteria applied to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.  In order to keep it (relatively) simple, we have omitted those whose wealth comes from oil. Take the House of Saud, for instance. The family is worth an estimated $100 billion, a figure based on the cumulative payouts the country’s royals have received over the past five decades from the executive office of the king. That number doesn’t even include the planned initial public offering of its crown jewel, oil giant Saudi Aramco. It will be offered with an anticipated valuation of $2 trillion.Maybe we’ll come up with a special list for members of the House of Saud. In the meantime, here are the year’s richest people in cars.* *Stake value and percent of net worth figures are as of July 19, 2019. Total wealth figures are as of Oct. 9, 2019. 1. Bill Gates Company: AutoNation Inc.Stake Value: $914,554,258Percent of Total Net Worth: .9%Total Wealth: $105 billionLocation: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.Segment: Car dealersGates may not be the first person you would expect to see on a list of automotive wealth, but his share of car dealer AutoNation contributes to his overall fortune, most of which comes from Microsoft Corp. and Cascade Investment (which controls stakes in dozens of publicly traded companies, including Canadian National Railway, Deere, and Ecolab). 2. Larry Ellison Company: Tesla Inc.Stake Value: $730,773,000 to $1 billionPercent of Total Net Worth: 1.3%Total Wealth: $58.5 billionLocation: Palo Alto, Calif.Segment: Passenger vehiclesAlthough he is the company’s second-largest shareholder, Ellison’s recently announced stake in Tesla is not the primary source of his wealth. He is the founder and main shareholder of the database company Oracle. The 75-year-old also owns the Indian Wells tennis event and real estate, including the island of Lanai, Hawaii.    3. Elon Musk  Company: Tesla Inc.Stake Value: $8,307,076,693Percent of Total Net Worth: 36.9%Total Wealth: $22.9 billionLocation: Palo Alto, Calif.Segment: Passenger vehiclesLikely the most famous person invested in the segment—certainly the most colorful—the South African divides his time between Tesla, the maker of luxury electric vehicles, and SpaceX, a rocket manufacturer. Musk has always been a polarizing figure, garnering  acclaim for his visionary leadership and criticism for failing to meet deadlines and engaging in public disputes.  4. Pallonji MistryCompany: Tata Motors Ltd.Stake Value: $302,722,710Percent of Total Net Worth: 1.5%Total Wealth: $19.7 billionLocation: MumbaiSegment: Passenger vehiclesMistry, 90, and his family are shareholders in Tata Sons, the holding company behind more than 100 affiliates with $100 billion in annual revenue, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The group employs 700,000 people in more than 100 countries. 5. Susanne Klatten Company: BMW AG Stake Value: $8,763,327,399Percent of Total Net Worth: 47.8%Total Wealth: $18 billionLocation: MunichSegment: Passenger vehiclesKlatten, 57, is the second-richest person in Germany. She inherited her wealth from her father, German industrialist Herbert Quandt, who turned BMW from a struggling carmaker into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of luxury vehicles. Klatten recently said that dealing with the responsibility of inherited wealth is a misunderstood burden. “Many believe that we are permanently sitting around on a yacht in the Mediterranean,” she said. “The role as a guardian of wealth also has personal sides that aren’t so nice.” 6. Stefan Quandt Company: BMW AGStake Value: $10,817,887,438Percent of Total Net Worth: 72.2%Total Wealth: $14.8 billionLocation: MunichSegment: Passenger vehiclesQuandt, 53, holds substantial stakes outside the family business, including homeopathic medicine company Biologische Heilmittel Heel; credit-card maker Entrust Datacard; and logistics company Logwin. His wealth derives from family matriarch Johanna Quandt, who died in 2015.  7. Li Shu Fu Company No. 1: Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.Stake Value: $38,988,918Percent of Total Net Worth: .4%Location: Hangzhou, ChinaSegment: Passenger VehiclesCompany No. 2: Zhejiang Geely Holding GroupStake Value: $10,520,321,446Percent of Total Net Worth: 99.9%Total Wealth: $10.6 billionLocation: Hangzhou, ChinaSegment: Auto manufacturingLi, 56, is the founder of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a maker of cars and related components, though he started his career manufacturing refrigerators. Geely’s $1.5 billion purchase of Volvo in 2010 was the largest ever overseas acquisition by a Chinese automaker.  8. Georg Schaeffler Company No. 1: Continental AGStake Value: $9,494,765,020Percent of Total Net Worth: 110.4%*Location: Hanover, GermanySegment: Auto partsCompany No. 2: Schaeffler AGStake Value: $3,116,322,400Percent of Total Net Worth: 36.2%Total Wealth: $7.99 billionLocation: Herzogenaurach, GermanySegment: Auto partsShaeffler, 54, is chairman and majority owner of Schaeffler AG, which makes ball bearings and other automotive supplies. He owns 80% of the company, while his mother, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann, owns the rest, according to company filings. The two collectively hold 46% of auto supplier Continental as well, according to the company’s website as of June 2019.*Due to debt.  9. Blair Parry-Okeden   Company: Cox AutomotiveStake Value: $1,738,541,209Percent of Total Net Worth: 21.6%Total Wealth: $7.84 billionLocation: AtlantaSegment: Automotive services  Parry-Okeden, 69, is the granddaughter of James Cox, who founded Cox Enterprises in 1898. She owns almost 25% of the company, a $21 billion conglomerate that encompasses Kelley Blue Book and other automotive brands. She resides in Australia. 10. James Kennedy Company: Cox AutomotiveStake Value: $1,738,541,209Percent of Total Net Worth: 21.6%Total Wealth: $7.84 billionLocation: AtlantaSegment: Automotive servicesAn avid cyclist and hunter, Kennedy, 68, is the chairman of Cox Enterprises. 11. James Pattison  Company: James Pattison GroupStake Value: $48,327,817Percent of Total Net Worth: .8%Total Wealth: $6.35 billionLocation: VancouverSegment: Car dealersPattison’s company is the largest car dealer in western Canada. It also publishes the Guinness World Records standings. He began his automotive career while still in college, fixing and selling used cars to fellow students before dropping out to manage a General Motors dealership. Today, Pattison, 90, and his wife, Mary, live in Vancouver. 12. Ernie Garcia    Company No. 1: Carvana Co.Stake Value: $4,060,262,827Percent of Total Net Worth: 67.4%Location: Tempe, Ariz.Segment: Used car dealersCompany No. 2: DriveTimeStake Value: $1,005,999,251Percent of Total Net Worth: 16.7%Total Wealth: $4.93 billionLocation: Tempe, Ariz.Segment: Used car dealers and financingGarcia, 62, is the largest shareholder of Carvana, but his son, Ernie III, runs the business. The elder Garcia started developing DriveTime in the 1990s, when he bought rental-car company Ugly Duckling out of bankruptcy. He then merged it with a financing company to make it a vehicle for selling used cars to subprime borrowers. In 1990, Garcia was convicted of fraud for playing a small role in the Charles Keating savings-and-loan scandal. 13. Hiroshi MikitaniCompany: Trust Co Ltd.Stake Value: $234,488Percent of Total Net Worth: NegligibleTotal Wealth: $5.87 billionLocation: Nagoya, JapanSegment: Automotive retailMikitani, 54, amassed the bulk of his wealth after he founded Rakuten, Japan’s largest cybermall, which boasts more than 1.2 billion users worldwide. He qualifies for this list by virtue of his share of Trust Co Ltd., an exporter of used vehicles. Mikitani is a music lover and chairman of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. 14. Margaretta Taylor Company: Cox AutomotiveStake Value: $1,150,111,876Percent of Total Net Worth: 21.6%Total Wealth: $5.18 billionLocation: AtlantaSegment: Automotive services  Taylor, 77, is the granddaughter of James Cox and the cousin of James Kennedy, who runs Cox Enterprises. She owns roughly 16% of the family business, which owns  Kelley Blue Book and, among other brands. 15. James Cox Chambers Company: Cox AutomotiveStake Value: $1,150,111,876Percent of Total Net Worth: 21.6%Total Wealth: $5.18 billionLocation: AtlantaSegment: Automotive servicesChambers, 62, is the cousin of James Kennedy, who runs Cox Enterprises. He owns 16% of the company. He’s also an organic farmer in Columbia County, N.Y.16. Katharine Rayner  Company: Cox AutomotiveStake Value: $1,150,111,876Percent of Total Net Worth: 21.6%Total Wealth: $5.18 billionLocation: AtlantaSegment: Automotive servicesRayner, 74, is the granddaughter of company founder James Cox. She has largely stayed out of the public eye. 17. Quek Leng Chan Company No. 1: Hong Leong Asia Ltd.Stake Value: $5,103,369Percent of Total Net Worth: .1%Location: Kuala LumpurSegment: Auto partsCompany No. 2: Hong Leong Industries Bhd.Stake Value: $291,110,648Percent of Total Net Worth: 5.5%Total Wealth: $5.27 billionLocation: Kuala LumpurSegment: Motorbikes and partsQuek, 76, has interests in almost a dozen public companies, including property manager Guoco Group, insurer Hong Leong Financial, and manufacturer Hong Leong Industries. He’s a cigar aficionado.  18. Rahul Bajaj Company No. 1: Bajaj Finance Ltd.Stake Value: $586,320,006Percent of Total Net Worth: 12.4%Location: Pune, IndiaSegment: Auto financingCompany No. 2: Bajaj Auto Ltd.Stake Value: $1,208,532,867Percent of Total Net Worth: 25.5%Total Wealth: $5.2 billionLocation: Pune, IndiaSegment: Motorbikes and partsBajaj, 81, is the chairman of the world’s largest maker of three-wheeled motorcycles. He attended Harvard Business School and also owns stakes in an investment company and an insurance firm. His grandfather, Jamnalal Bajaj, an Indian independence fighter and Mahatma Gandhi confidant, founded the group in 1926. 19. Chung Mong-Koo Company No. 1: Hyundai Motor Co.Stake Value: $1,269,429,178Percent of Total Net Worth: 27.9%Location: SeoulSegment: Passenger vehiclesCompany No. 2: Hyundai Mobis Co.Stake Value: $1,408,455,597Percent of Total Net Worth: 30.9%Total Wealth: $4.5 billionLocation: SeoulSegment: Automotive technologyChung, 81, is the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group.  He was convicted in 2007 of embezzling $110.5 million from Hyundai, Kia, and other affiliates and using the funds as a political slush fund. He was pardoned in 2008 by then-South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. 20. Wang Chuan-Fu Company: BYD Co.Stake Value: $3,522,094,647Percent of Total Net Worth: 82.4%Location: Shenzhen, ChinaSegment: Passenger vehiclesCompany: BYD Co Ltd.Stake Value: $4,993,622Percent of Total Net Worth: .1%Total Wealth: $4.11 billionLocation: Shenzhen, ChinaSegment: Passenger vehiclesWang, 53, is the founder and largest shareholder of BYD. The company makes cars, buses, and other goods, including cell phone batteries.To contact the author of this story: Hannah Elliott in New York at helliott8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Petri at, David RovellaFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fast-Approaching Brexit Deadline Spurs Pound-Bond Sales Rush

    Fast-Approaching Brexit Deadline Spurs Pound-Bond Sales Rush

    (Bloomberg) -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and life insurer Just Group Plc are among six borrowers selling pound bonds on Wednesday, as issuers rush to lock in financing before potential market upheavals around the looming Brexit deadline.The deluge will push sterling sales for the month above 16 billion pounds ($19.9 billion), including a gilt deal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest monthly tally since January, when a then-March Brexit date turbocharged the usual start-of-the-year rush.Issuers may be stepping up sales now because upcoming earnings blackout and the countdown to the Oct. 31 Brexit date are likely to hinder sales next month. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take the country out of the European Union on schedule -- with or without a deal -- even after suffering an unprecedented legal defeat in the Supreme Court.“Companies are very keen to get issuance out of the way before U.K. uncertainty becomes even more fraught,” said Gordon Shannon, a portfolio manager at TwentyFour Asset Management, which oversees 15.3 billion pounds.BMW is selling a benchmark-sized five-year note, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak about it. The luxury-car maker, which regularly issues pound bonds, has three notes totaling about 700 million pounds maturing by year-end, Bloomberg data show.U.K. BorrowersJust Group is marketing 125 million pounds of subordinated Tier 2 notes at a yield of 8.125% to 8.25%. That would be the biggest yield of any pound debt sale this year, Bloomberg data show. Another U.K. borrower WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc sold notes on Tuesday, following deals by issuers including ITV Plc and Barclays Plc last week.Still, Metro Bank Plc scrapped a pound sale of senior non-preferred bonds on Monday after the promise of record coupons failed to win over investors. The troubled lender opted against the sale due to “current market conditions,” according to an emailed statement.Overseas borrowers have also flocked to the pound market, as U.K. investors seek to put money to work with issuers less exposed to Brexit risks. French lenders Banque Federative du Credit Mutuel SA and Credit Agricole SA were both in the market on Wednesday, along with Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau. The German state-owned bank, better known as KfW, is marketing a 250 million-pound tap of a 1.375% 2024 note. It has a 4.8 billion-pound note due in December.“For European issuers in particular it has become cheaper to issue in sterling than euros,” said Luke Hickmore, an investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “And, with the books for recent sterling issues having been so big, I can see why they have printed.”To contact the reporters on this story: Hannah Benjamin in London at;Lyubov Pronina in Brussels at lpronina@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Vivianne Rodrigues at, Neil DenslowFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Volkswagen’s Boss Deserves a "Worst Sense of Timing" Award

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If there was an award for a “corporate executive with absolute worst sense of timing” my nominee would be Volkswagen AG’s chief executive Herbert Diess.The German carmaker poached Diess from BMW AG to take over as head of its struggling mass market VW brand in December 2014 after he was disappointed to have been passed over for the top job at BMW. The initial plan was that Diess would start work at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters on Oct. 1 2015. However, Diess and BMW agreed he could shorten his gardening leave and take up his new job on July 1 instead.Boy was that a mistake on his part. In Sept. 2015, barely two months after Diess landed, VW admitted rigging some 11 million vehicles worldwide to cheat diesel emissions tests — an admission that would lead to 30 billion euros ($33 billion) of penalties, provisions and recall costs.On Tuesday German prosecutors charged Diess, who has since become CEO of the entire VW group, with stock market manipulation. They allege he was told about the cheating shortly before the end of July, some four weeks after he started work, but that he didn’t immediately inform the market as he’s obliged to do.Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down as VW boss when the cheating was revealed, and Hans Dieter Poetsch, VW’s then finance director who is now the company’s chairman, have been charged with the same offense. VW’s position all along has been that it didn’t recognize how financially serious its problems would prove to be with U.S. regulators (who got the ball rolling on uncovering and investigating the scandal). It reiterated on Tuesday that it thinks the latest allegations are groundless. Lawyers for the three men said similar.If the case goes to trial, which wouldn’t be until next year at the earliest, things could get awkward for VW. The news is particularly unhelpful for Diess, who has spearheaded the car giant’s effort to leave behind the diesel scandal and embrace electric vehicles. Diess has bet the farm on his electric strategy and VW needs him to finish the job.The charges are a reminder too that VW was perhaps a little cavalier in confirming Poetsch’s elevation to the chairmanship even though he had the market manipulation allegation hanging over him. In view of his role in overseeing VW’s recovery from the scandal, a VW shareholder once branded Poetsch the “personfication of a conflict of interest.” He certainly wasn’t the fresh start VW probably needed.Given the abject panic that any inkling of a U.S. criminal or regulatory investigation typically sparks in corporate boardrooms, it seems bizarre that VW executives failed to recognize the severity of the trouble the company was in back in 2015 and didn’t communicate promptly to investors.Anyone who bought VW stock in the months prior to September 2015 can feel aggrieved that they weren’t in possession of the same information that executives had. More than 30 billion euros of market value went up in smoke when U.S. regulators went public with their accusations about VW’s use of “defeat devices,” which hid diesel emission levels during tests, though it’s since recovered much of that ground. A finding against the executives would provide fodder to investors pursuing civil claims for compensation. The stocks’s 2.5% drop on Tuesday suggests today’s crop of VW investors are worried, but not excessively.In hindsight, Diess would have been better off staying in his garden in Bavaria a little longer. Rarely can such eagerness to show up to work have turned out so badly. To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at cbryant32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 4-U.S. launches antitrust probe into California automaker agreement

    The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the decision of four automakers in July to reach a voluntary agreement with California to adopt state emissions standards violated antitrust law, people briefed on the matter said on Friday. The antitrust division's chief, Makan Delrahim, sent Aug. 28 letters to the four automakers saying the government was concerned the agreement "may violate federal antitrust laws" but adding it had "reached no conclusions," according to documents seen by Reuters. The disclosure comes as the Trump administration has ramped up its opposition to automakers seeking to sidestep it on rolling back Obama era fuel-efficiency rules.

  • GM appoints new director for Shanghai design studio

    GM appoints new director for Shanghai design studio

    General Motors Co has appointed a veteran BMW designer to lead its advanced design studio in Shanghai, a hub for developing future models for the world's biggest vehicle market and beyond. According to three company officials familiar with the matter, Harry Sze, who last month left BMW Group Designworks Shanghai as a creative director, is expected to be officially named as early as early next week as head of GM's studio. Sze, an American national, has worked at BMW Group Designworks for six years in Shanghai and Newbury Park, California.

  • Better Buy: Ford Motor Company vs. BMW AG
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: Ford Motor Company vs. BMW AG

    Are either -- or both -- of these beaten-up auto stocks a good buy right now?

  • How Stratasys Is Pushing 3D Printing Into The Future
    Motley Fool

    How Stratasys Is Pushing 3D Printing Into The Future

    A look at how this innovative company is pushing some of luxury's biggest brands into the future.

  • Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BAMXF) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript
    Motley Fool

    Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BAMXF) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

    BAMXF earnings call for the period ending June 30, 2019.

  • BMW Operating Profit Falls 20% on Electric-Vehicle Spending
    Motley Fool

    BMW Operating Profit Falls 20% on Electric-Vehicle Spending

    Sales remained strong, but spending jumped.

  • BMW doubles battery production capacity in the United States

    BMW doubles battery production capacity in the United States

    BMW Group said on Wednesday it would double its production capacity for electric vehicle batteries at its U.S. plant in South Carolina as it ramps up manufacturing of plug-in hybrid vehicles to include the X3 vehicle in addition to the X5. BMW said it was investing $10 million in a new battery assembly line which will be capable of operating in a two shift system ahead of the introduction of the BMW X3 plug in hybrid vehicle by the end of the year. BMW made 15,000 batteries last year with a one shift system and currently produces a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 offroader.

  • BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

    BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

    BMW has named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO, continuing the German carmaker's tradition of promoting production chiefs to the top job even as the auto industry expands into new areas such as technology and services. Hailing Zipse's "decisive" leadership style, BMW hopes the 55-year-old can help the company regain its edge in electric cars and win back the premium market lead lost to Mercedes-Benz under his consensus-seeking predecessor. Current BMW CEO Harald Krueger, and former chiefs Norbert Reithofer, Bernd Pischetsrieder and Joachim Milberg were all heads of production before they took the top job.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 5-BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

    BMW has named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO, continuing the German carmaker's tradition of promoting production chiefs to the top job even as the auto industry expands into new areas such as technology and services. Hailing Zipse's "decisive" leadership style, BMW hopes the 55-year-old can help the company regain its edge in electric cars and win back the premium market lead lost to Mercedes-Benz under his consensus-seeking predecessor.