Late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld’s estate sale sold 3 Rolls-Royces for $1.33 million — take a closer look

Lagerfeld's three Rolls-Royces.
Lagerfeld’s three Rolls-Royces.

  • The late Karl Lagerfeld’s first estate sale brought in an impressive $13.5 million, quadrupling estimates.
  • The legend’s Rolls-Royce cars sold for $1.33 million combined, collecting nearly $75,000 above expectations.
  • The cars’ worth can be attributed to the spike in luxury car demand and Lagerfeld’s legacy.
Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, was a creative director, fashion designer, and artist known for his work with luxury labels Chanel and Fendi.

Karl Lagerfeld was Chanel's creative director.
Karl Lagerfeld was Chanel’s creative director.

Source: Bloomberg

His fame and legacy brought a lot of attention to his estate sale held this month in Monaco. The auction fetched an impressive $13.5 million, with many pieces collecting well above expectations.

Lagerfeld's artwork and furniture are displayed ahead of the auction.
Lagerfeld’s artwork and furniture are displayed ahead of the auction.

Source: Bloomberg

Most notably were three Rolls-Royce cars that sold for $1.33 million, including a 2017 Phantom Drophead Coupé convertible that sold within estimates for $423,132.

Lagerfeld's Phantom Drophead convertible.
Lagerfeld’s Phantom Drophead convertible.

Source: Bloomberg, Sotheby’s

However, the car failed to sell during the live auction due to a technical glitch, according to Sotheby’s spokesperson Peter Haynes, but was successfully relisted and sold the following day.

Lagerfeld's Rolls-Royce stepping out of his Rolls-Royce in Paris, France.
Lagerfeld’s Rolls-Royce stepping out of his Rolls-Royce in Paris, France.

Source: Bloomberg

The other two luxury cars sold well above estimates, including the 2018 Phantom that collected a whopping $491,263, nearly $50,000 above expectations.

Lagerfeld's 2018 Phantom.
Lagerfeld’s 2018 Phantom.

Source: Bloomberg, Sotheby’s

Meanwhile, the 2019 Cullinan hammered $416,278, which was $22,000 above the highest estimate.

Lagerfeld's 2019 Cullinan.
Lagerfeld’s 2019 Cullinan.

Source: Bloomberg, Sotheby’s

In an email statement to Bloomberg, Peter Haynes, a spokesperson for the sale, said the two cars sold at a higher price because the Rolls-Royce cars were low-mileage with “ample upgrade specifications,” which are worth more.

Lagerfeld's three Rolls-Royces.
Lagerfeld’s three Rolls-Royces.

Source: Bloomberg

Moreover, the Phantom is significant because of its patrimony, which drew in bidders.

2018 Phantom.
2018 Phantom.

Source: Bloomberg

Haynes also explained that the supply chain shortage has caused the luxury car market to boom. “The opportunity to acquire very nice, low-mileage examples is an appealing opportunity to many,” he said in the email.

Lagerfeld's Rolls-Royce sighted on march 24, 2011 in Paris, France.
Lagerfeld’s Rolls-Royce sighted on march 24, 2011 in Paris, France.

Source: Bloomberg

Karl Lagerfeld himself also made the collectibles more intriguing because his ownership added to the cars’ premium value, Haynes told Bloomberg.

Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel Spring Summer in 2016.
Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel Spring Summer in 2016.

Source: Bloomberg

Another top sale was a portrait of Karl Lagerfeld by Gianni Versace selling for $107,206, soaring above its $567 expected value.

Versace portrait of Lagerfeld.
Versace portrait of Lagerfeld.

Source: Sotheby’s, Artnet

Meanwhile, Joana Vasconcelos’ sculpture of Lagerfeld’s cat went for $22,841, collecting three times its high estimate of $7,942.

Lagerfeld's estate sale in Monaco.
Lagerfeld’s estate sale in Monaco.

Source: Sotheby’s, Artnet

And 200 pairs of Lagerfeld’s infamous fingerless lambskin Chanel gloves also sold for a pretty penny.

Lagerfeld wearing his fingerless gloves at the Royal Wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Lagerfeld wearing his fingerless gloves at the Royal Wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Source: Bloomberg

As well as his iconic black blazer.

Karl Lagerfeld

Source: Artnet

According to a press release from Sotheby’s, the estate sold out, collecting four times its high estimate overall.

Lagerfeld's estate sale in Monaco.
Lagerfeld’s estate sale in Monaco.

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Tesla hit with second sexual harassment lawsuit in a month, worker alleges her manager massaged her and said he ‘is big down there’

Tesla
  • A worker filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation at Tesla’s Fremont factory.
  • It’s the second lawsuit alleging sexual harassment against the company from a female worker in less than 30 days.
  • Tesla and Elon Musk did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

A Tesla employee filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the electric-carmaker of retaliation and failing to prevent “a pattern of continuous and pervasive” sexual harassment at its Fremont factory. 

Erica Cloud, who has worked as an assembly line worker at the Tesla factory, filed a lawsuit in California’s Alameda County Superior Court. The lawsuit accuses Tesla and other defendants, including Cloud’s former manager, of allowing the worker to be continually subjected to harassment and unwanted advances.

Tesla, the manager cited in the lawsuit, and CEO Elon Musk did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Cloud’s lawsuit stated that she faced “sexual harassment on a near-daily basis” from her former manager. The lawsuit said the manager would “get on his knees and propose marriage,” as well as “hug and massage” her, and that she rejected the advances on multiple occasions. In the spring of 2020, the manager told Cloud “on several occasions that she is ‘blackenese’ and he ‘is big down there,’ referring to his penis,” according to the suit. The manager’s actions were highly aggressive and caused her to “fear for her safety,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said that it took two to three months for Tesla’s Human Resources department to address Cloud’s complaints, after she reported the manager to the team. After Cloud stopped working with the manager, she said she was subjected to “a hostile work environment” as a result of reporting the alleged harassment. The lawsuit said that Cloud was sent home early or asked not to work on several occasions for “arbitrary reasons” and lost wages, bonuses, and benefits as a result.

Cloud and her lawyers say Tesla broke the law, specifically the Fair Employment and Housing Act, by failing to prevent the alleged sexual harassment and retaliating against Cloud after she reported the allegations. Attorneys are seeking compensation and damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees.

Cloud’s case comes a few weeks after another worker alleged sexual harassment at the factory. In November, Jessica Barraza filed a lawsuit against Tesla that said the company operates like a “frat house.” At the time, The Washington Post reported that three current and former Tesla workers at the Fremont factory said they had also witnessed or experienced sexual harassment at the site.

The month before, a court ordered Tesla  to pay nearly $137 million after a federal court found an employee at the Fremont plant had been subjected to racial harassment. Tesla is in the process of challenging the verdict.

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Pete Buttigieg slams Elon Musk’s criticism of Biden’s EV agenda: ‘We believe in the benefits of union jobs’

Pete Buttigieg
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg isn’t eyeing 2024, allies say.

  • US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended the Biden Administration’s proposed EV tax incentives.
  • On Monday, Elon Musk called the incentives “unnecessary” and suggested the government ditch the bill.
  • Buttigieg dissed Tesla’s high prices and lack of union representation in his support of the Build Back Better Act.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pushed back on criticism from Elon Musk on the Biden Administration’s support for electric cars, which the Tesla CEO deemed “unnecessary.”

“These are things that don’t happen on their own,” Buttigieg said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit on Tuesday. “They require policy attention, and that’s part of our focus both in the charging network that is supported out of the infrastructure bill that the president signed, and the tax credits that will make these vehicles more affordable, that are proposed in Build Back Better.”

On Monday, at the same summit, Musk said the Biden Administration should “just try to get out of the way” when it comes to adoption of electric cars in the US. In particular, Musk targeted the Build Back Better Act, which is currently pending a Senate vote.

“I would say honestly, I would just can this whole bill,” Musk said on Monday, slamming the government for what he called “insane” federal spending. “Don’t pass it. That’s my recommendation.”

The proposal could give other automakers an advantage in the US electric car industry — a market that Tesla has dominated. It includes a tax credit of up to $12,500 for electric vehicles, but Tesla would only be eligible for $7,500, as the rest is only available to vehicles that are assembled by union workers. 

Musk has long opposed any efforts from United Auto Workers to unionize Tesla employees — an issue that Buttigieg addressed, pointing out that the Biden Administration wants to make sure that the vehicles are made in America and create good jobs for US citizens.

“Of course, we believe in the benefits of union jobs,” he said.

Buttigieg said the US government is working to make sure the transition to electric cars happens quickly enough to address climate change concerns and that no one is left behind. 

We want it “to happen in equitable terms that will actually reach the Americans who stand theoretically to benefit the most from EVs — low-income, urban Americans, rural drivers,” Buttigieg said. “They only capture those benefits if they can afford to buy in the first place,” he added, taking a jab at Tesla prices that largely operate within the luxury car market, despite Musk’s goal of eventually selling a $25,000 EV.

Musk also criticized a provision in the bipartisan infrastructure law that includes $7.5 billion for charging stations. Tesla owners possess a significant advantage when it comes to charging infrastructure, as the automaker’s Supercharger network accounts for the majority of charging stations in the US.

Musk has had a contentious relationship with the Biden Administration over the past year. Last month, President Joe Biden didn’t mention Tesla in a public address on the future of electric cars, telling General Motors CEO Mary Barra she “electrified the entire automobile industry.” Musk did not take kindly to the speech.

During the summer, Biden appeared to snub Musk when he failed to invite Tesla to the White House’s EV summit.

At the time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Tesla was excluded from the event because its employees were not part of an automotive union.

“I’ll let you draw your own conclusion,” she said.

Spokespeople for Tesla and Buttigieg did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Thieves are using Apple AirTags to track luxury vehicles to owners’ driveways before stealing them, police say

Apple Event April 2021
An Apple AirTag.

  • Police in Canada have warned that thieves are using Apple AirTags to track high-end vehicles.
  • York Regional Police said thieves would track the vehicles to owners’ driveways, then steal them.
  • Apple’s AirTags are intended to help users locate lost personal objects.

Police in Canada have warned that thieves are using Apple AirTags to track luxury cars before stealing them.

York Regional Police said in a statement Thursday that since September, officers had investigated five incidents in which suspects surreptitiously placed AirTags in “out-of-sight areas” on high-end vehicles while they were parked in public places. The thieves then tracked the target vehicles to their owners’ homes, broke into them, and stole them, police said.

Apple released AirTags in April 2021, touting them as a handy device for owners to tag and track their belongings should they ever go missing. The devices use Bluetooth signals to connect to Apple’s “Find My” network.

York Regional Police advised vehicle owners to “inspect your vehicle regularly and call police if you notice any suspicious potential tracking devices.”

The police also recommended that owners park their cars in locked garages, use steering wheel locks, and install locks on their car data ports to reduce the risk of theft.

Apple declined to comment when contacted by Insider about the thefts.

The company rolled out privacy updates for AirTags in June, including one that would make the tracking devices beep at random intervals when separated from their owners. 

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I drive my plug-in hybrid in electric mode — making gas prices an afterthought. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
At Crowders Mountain State Park, there’s free charging, which is a major perk (and opportunity to tell others “hey, I drive an electric car”).

  • Last October, I picked up a used 2016 Chevrolet Volt and have been driving it ever since.
  • I’ve driven it 6,000 miles. In my year of ownership, I’ve put less than 10 gallons of fuel into it.
  • It’s been the perfect compromise: an EV in city driving with the fallback of a gas tank for longer trips.

Last year, I was in the market for an electrified car. After months of research, the BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt, and Chevrolet Volt were my finalists. Since I live in the Southeast, used EVs are typically more difficult to find here than they are in other regions in America. I’d usually find a car online that I thought was perfect, then I’d discover it had a reported accident or some other issue. 

In October 2020, and by sheer luck, a 2016 Chevrolet Volt Premier in Iridescent Pearl Tintcoat popped up for sale on Autotrader. Its owner had just moved to North Carolina from California, so the Volt was adorned with the groovy green HOV lane stickers (that I still haven’t removed). After taking it for a test drive and kicking the tires, it was a buy.

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
Andrew Lambrecht’s 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

After I picked it up in Greensboro, North Carolina, I drove it back down Highway 85 to Charlotte. Since the Volt is a plug-in hybrid, it can operate on both battery power and gasoline, making the 100-mile highway drive back very easy. 

The entire system is centered around an 18.4-kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. There’s an onboard gasoline generator, which seamlessly supplies power to the electric motors when the battery wilts. Whenever the battery has a charge, the Volt will operate as a purely electric car.

Usually, the only time the gasoline engine will turn on is if it’s really cold outside (15 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your in-car setting), or if the electric range estimator reaches “zero miles.” In most circumstances, it’s a fallback, not a main source of power. 

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
Andrew Lambrecht’s 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

For its electric propulsion, the Volt offers an excellent battery-management system. The packs are very robust and highly acclaimed in the industry. Plus, they aren’t affected by the same battery recall plaguing the Bolt, just one letter away from the Volt.

On a full charge, the battery can deliver a 53-mile electric range. To most, 53 miles seems mediocre, but it’s actually more than enough for a plug-in hybrid. More than 90% of my driving has been on the battery alone. The occurrences where I had to rely on the gasoline engine were far and few. During all of my commuting, gasoline was out of sight, out of mind.

Once I would get back home, I’d simply plug it in, and the Volt would be back up to a full charge, ready to conquer its next task.

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
Andrew Lambrecht’s 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

A topic of great uncertainty with electric cars is charging. There are three different ways to charge an EV: Level 1, 2, and 3. A Level 1 connection is the slowest and utilizes a typical 120-volt home socket, the same one used to charge your phone or laptop. A Level 2 connection charges significantly faster than a Level 1 and uses a 240-volt hookup, which is the same as what a typical dryer would use.

Lastly, there’s Level 3 fast charging. The Volt doesn’t have fast-charging capabilities, but most new pure electrics offer it as standard. It’ll generally take around 30 minutes for an 80% charge, but that figure can vary depending on what model it is.

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
Andrew Lambrecht’s 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

All of my charging is done at home on a Level 2 240-volt wall mount, which adds about 12 miles of range per hour. After my 25-mile commute, it takes about two hours to reach a full charge. 

From what I’ve noticed, a 240-volt charger isn’t even necessary for charging the Volt. Included in the trunk is a standard Level 1 120-volt charging cord. While its charge rate is significantly lower at four miles added per hour, it can still deliver a full charge overnight.

In September, North Carolina’s average energy rate was $0.11 per kWh, so the upkeep costs of owning an EV are very low. A full 53-mile charge in the Volt would only cost around $1.57 in electricity utilities, and compared to September’s national gasoline average price of $3.18 a gallon, it’s apparent as to why more individuals are jumping on the electric bandwagon.

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
During the spring and summer, the Volt can easily achieve electric-only range figures far above its estimate of 53.

Range doesn’t always stay the same, though — and that’s also the case for my 53-mile limit. If I stick to lower speed driving in optimal weather, I can achieve north of 60 miles on electricity alone. 

In the city, electric cars excel because you can maximize your regenerative braking. Most deceleration in the Volt is just the electric motors “capturing” kinetic energy. Two benefits of this concept are that the friction brakes last much longer and you can make back some energy lost while driving.

During freeway driving in colder temperatures, around 40 to 45 miles is to be expected. 

Andrew Lambrecht's white 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
Andrew Lambrecht’s 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

That’s why if you’re taking the Volt on a road trip, it’s best to switch on the generator by pressing the “hold” mode button, so you can save the electricity for lower-speed driving. On the highway in “hold mode,” it’ll get up to 44 mpg on the gasoline engine, which isn’t bad by any means. 

The Volt also gets all of the benefits of an EV with the fallback on a gasoline engine. Since it’s powered by an electric motor, its acceleration is instantaneous and virtually silent. The Volt feels exceptionally quick off the line at lower speeds, so passing and merging is a breeze. (Once you hit 40 mph, it still provides enough power but the fun dwindles.)

In the pleasant time of  driving my now six-year-old Volt, my belief that EVs are the future has only proliferated. From its avant-garde technology to its low operating costs, I’m convinced electric cars are here to stay. 

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Tesla is pouring in more than $1 billion into its new Gigafactory in Texas, Elon Musk’s new home base

Construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.
Construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.

  • Construction for Tesla’s new factory in Austin, Texas, began in the summer of last year.
  • Filings with Texas authorities showed the electric vehicle company will spend over $1 billion on the project.
  • The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs.

Tesla is pouring in more than $1 billion into its new Gigafactory in Texas that is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Construction filings with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation showed the electric vehicle company would spend $493 million for the general assembly section and $182 million for the body shop. Construction of the facilities for these sections, alongside the paint, casting, and stamping facilities, will be completed by Dec. 31, according to the documents. The five facilities cost a combined $1.06 billion.

Electrek first reported the filings.

The company is expected to receive nearly $65 million in local tax rebates for the factory and the project is expected to create 10,000 jobs, according to Reuters. 

The plant in Texas comes as Tesla — like many other companies in the tech sector, including tech giants Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise — will be moving its headquarters from the San Francisco Bay Area to Texas.

“Gigafactory Texas is progressing as planned,” Tesla said in a shareholder slide deck last month. “We are in the process of commissioning equipment and fabricating our first pre-production vehicles.”

Tesla also has factories in California, Nevada, and Shanghai, and is building a plant near Berlin, Germany.

The gigafactory’s completion follows Tesla founder Elon Musk’s move to Austin. Musk announced he had left California in December 2020, after several months of fighting with the state over coronavirus policies, but many speculated that Texas’ lack of state income tax played heavily in his decision. 

Musk is reportedly close to selling the last of his California properties — a 47-acre estate in Hillsborough, near San Francisco — and has moved to a $50,000 pre-fab tiny home

 

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Ford and Rivian cancel plans to develop an electric vehicle together, citing a mutual desire to focus on their own separate projects

The Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning.

  • Ford and Rivian no longer plan to develop an electric vehicle together, Automotive News reported. 
  • Ford CEO Jim Farley suggested his company had “confidence” to build EVs without Rivian’s help. 
  • “We’ve mutually decided to focus on our own projects and deliveries,” Rivian told CNBC

Ford and Rivian have scrapped plans to develop an electric vehicle together, the companies confirmed Friday. 

The two companies mutually decided to focus on their own projects instead, axing plans to co-create a new model envisioned under a deal struck in early 2019, Automotive News first reported.

Ford CEO Jim Farley pointed to the automaker’s “growing confidence” to “win in the electric space” without the help of Rivian, the outlet reported.

“We want to invest in Rivian — we love their future as a company — but at this point we’re going to develop our own vehicles,” Farley said. 

Ford said in an emailed statement to CNBC: “We respect Rivian and have had extensive exploratory discussions with them, however, both sides have agreed not to pursue any kind of joint vehicle development or platform sharing.” 

Electric-truck maker Rivian also emailed a statement to CNBC. “As Ford has scaled its own EV strategy and demand for Rivian vehicles has grown, we’ve mutually decided to focus on our own projects and deliveries,” it said.  

Ford and Rivian did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Ford originally announced its intentions to produce a Rivian-powered electric vehicle in 2019, when it made its first investment of $500 million in the startup. 

In 2020, Ford dropped plans for a different model for the automaker’s Lincoln luxury brand, which would have been developed using Rivian’s technology, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The turnaround comes after Rivian went public this month, with a blockbuster IPO that raised $11.9 billion — one of the biggest market debuts in history.

The electric-car maker reached a market value near $100 billion on a fully diluted basis as its shares soared, making it more valuable than Ford and General Motors, as Insider previously reported. 

 

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Tesla app outage that led to hundreds of drivers being locked out of their cars is being resolved, Elon Musk says

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla’s app server experienced an outage Friday, affecting hundreds of drivers, reports said.
  • Downdetector said the outage occurred at around 3:33 p.m. ET. 
  • “Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic,” Elon Musk tweeted

About 500 Tesla owners reported being locked out of their cars on Friday, due to a problem with the company’s mobile app, according to Reuters

The outage appeared to occur at around 3:33 p.m. ET, according to outage monitoring website Downdetector

The blog Electrek first reported on the outage, with editor Fred Lambert saying he was unable to connect to his car through the app. 

Drivers used Twitter to complain about the problem, with some addressing Tesla and Elon Musk directly.

“I’m experiencing 500 server error to connect my @tesla Model 3 on my iOS app in Seoul, S.Korea. Seems like this is a worldwide issue. @elonmusk,” one user wrote. 

In response to the Tesla owner, Musk tweeted: “Should be coming back online now. Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic.”

He added: “Apologies, we will take measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” 

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Tesla owners can unlock and access their cars through the mobile app, as opposed to traveling with the key. 

A representative for Tesla previously told Insider’s Mary Hanbury that the key is still the primary way of using the car, however. The rep recommended that customers always carried it in case their phone cut out, for example. 

Model 3 owners also have the option to unlock their Tesla by using the “phone-as-key” function, which connects to the car via Bluetooth. If the app is down, owners would still be able to use this service. 

Tesla systems have suffered hiccups in the past. 

In 2019, customers said they were left “stranded” after the app ceased to work. And last September, Insider’s Graham Rapier reported that Tesla’s network appeared to briefly go down, forcing some customers to use their physical keys. 

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Tesla hit with new sexual harassment lawsuit alleging the company operates like a ‘frat house’

Tesla
  • A Tesla factory worker filed a lawsuit against the company on Thursday, alleging sexual harassment.
  • The worker said she was harassed verbally, as well as touched without her permission.
  • Tesla did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit

A Tesla factory worker alleges in a new lawsuit that female employees at the company face “rampant sexual harassment.”

Jessica Barraza, a current worker at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, said Elon Musk’s company fosters a “nightmarish” work culture, according to the suit filed Thursday. In court documents, Barraza, who works the night shift, said she was continually subjected to sexual harassment from co-workers and supervisors in the form of lewd comments and unsolicited physical touch.

“Tesla’s factory floor more resembles a crude, archaic construction site or frat house than a cutting-edge company in the heart of the progressive San Francisco Bay Area,” the lawsuit, filed in Alameda County, said. “The pervasive culture of sexual harassment, which includes a daily barrage of sexist language and behavior, including frequent groping on the factory floor, is known to supervisors and managers and often perpetrated by them.”

According to Barraza’s suit, she endured harassment for three years and repeatedly reported the issues to Tesla’s human resources team to no avail. “As far as Ms. Barraza was aware, Tesla did nothing to investigate or address the event,” the lawsuit says. 

She and her lawyers say Tesla broke the law by failing to prevent sexual harassment at the plant, despite knowledge of the incidents.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. 

Barraza said in the lawsuit that co-workers often shouted derogatory terms at her on the factory floor and when she would walk to her car, describing her as having a “Coke bottle figure” or an “onion booty.” The lawsuit said several of Barraza’s superiors also propositioned her for sex on multiple occasions.

The 38-year-old detailed several instances when co-workers touched her backside without permission, including when a male co-worker stuck his leg between her thighs. The incidents caused Barraza to feel unsafe at the factory and spawned frequent panic attacks, according to the lawsuit. 

“She is afraid to return to work knowing that her body could be violated at any time with no repercussions,” the complaint said. “She is now afraid to be alone in public spaces around men she does not know. Her doctor has taken her off work, she is on medication and in therapy, and she is not the same person she used to be.”

Attorneys are seeking compensation for Barraza along with a court injunction to stop harassment at the factory.

Barraza says the lawsuit is an effort to protect herself and female colleagues from future harassment. She told The Washington Post that CEO Elon Musk has helped breed a toxic workplace, referencing a recent tweet from Musk in which he said he planned to start a “Texas Institute of Technology & Science,” dubbing it “TITS.”

“That doesn’t set a good example for the factory — it almost gives it like … ‘he’s tweeting about it, it has to be OK,'” she told The Post. “It’s not fair to myself, to my family to other women who are working there.”

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Post said three current and former Tesla workers at the Fremont factory confirmed several of Barraza’s accounts and also witnessed or experienced sexual harassment at the site.

Barraza is not the only worker that has taken issue with Tesla’s company culture. Last month, a court ordered Tesla  to pay nearly $137 million to an employee after a federal court found an employee at the Fremont plant had been subjected to racist abuse and discrimination. Tesla is in the process of challenging the verdict.

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Vietnam carmaker VinFast will start selling two EV models in the US next year as it takes on Tesla on home turf

Vinfast electric car
VinFast Global CEO Michael Lohscheller unveils an electric vehicle the Los Angeles Auto Show .

  • Vietnamese automaker VinFast is setting up US HQ in LA and is also shopping for a factory site.
  • VinFast is the auto manufacturing subsidiary of Vingroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam.
  • VinFast has not disclosed prices in the US, but it’s selling a smaller EV in Vietnam for $30,500.

Vietnam carmaker VinFast has entered the US with its answer to Tesla, unveiling two full battery-electric SUV models at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

VinFast is the car subsidiary of VinGroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam helmed by the country’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong.

It’s introducing the VF e35 midsize and VF e36 large electric SUVs to the US, where it plans to start taking orders in the first half of next year and start delivery in the fourth quarter, VinFast said in a press release.

The VF e35 will have a maximum range of 310 miles per charge, and the e36 will be able to travel up to 422 miles per charge, VinFast global CEO Michael Lohscheller told the Associated Press. Teslas get between 262 and 405 miles per charge, depending on the model, according to SolarReviews.com.

VinFast has not revealed prices for the e35 and e36 vehicles, with Lohscheller told CNN it’s “a little too early to talk about” the pricing for the US market, but it wants to offer “world-class product quality, reasonable prices, and then really good service.”

In Vietnam, the VF e34 SUV — a smaller model — is listed on VinFast’s website for 690 million dong ($30,500.) Teslas start at around $47,000 and top out at around $250,000 (for its yet-to-be-released Roadster), according to Motor Trends.  

The SUVs will initially be built at a factory in Vietnam, but the carmaker is planning US production in the second half of 2014, AP reported. The company is now shopping for a site.

The carmaker is also setting up US headquarters in Los Angeles, it said in a press release. There are plans to list on the US stock market in the next few years, Lohscheller told Reuters. 

VinFast VF e35 SUV.
The VinFast VF e35 SUV.

VinFast will sell only EVs in the US where it faces stiff competition not just from market leader Tesla, but also start-ups like Rivian and Lucid — although these new names making it into the mainstream could also help VinFast, Stephanie Brinley, IHS Markit auto industry analyst, told CNN.

“Our branding position here in the US is inclusive,” said Nguyen Van Anh, CEO of VinFast US, per CNN. “We want to provide a premium product at a reasonable price.”

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