Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway faces a court battle with Volkswagen after rejecting its Dieselgate settlement deal

warren buffett
Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is facing a legal clash with Volkswagen.
  • The German carmaker settled with other insurers over Dieselgate, but Berkshire rejected the deal.
  • Volkswagen is now preparing to take legal action against Berkshire to force it to pay up.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is facing a legal battle with Volkswagen after rejecting a settlement deal with the German auto giant related to its emissions scandal.

Volkswagen took out a “first excess liability insurance policy” with Berkshire’s international-insurance unit in January, the automaker revealed in an investor document last week. That policy puts Buffett’s company on the hook for up to 50 million euros ($59 million) if a claim exceeds Volkswagen’s 25 million euros’ worth of coverage from its primary insurer, Zurich.

The German automaker had been locked in talks with insurers for years over how much they owed it under various insurance policies following its emissions fiasco. It has now reached a settlement with insurers including AIG and Allianz that will see them pay a total of 270 million euros to Volkswagen, minus payments they’ve already made or scheduled. However, Berkshire refused to sign the agreement.

Volkswagen intends to enforce Berkshire’s insurance obligation “including in court if necessary,” and its supervisory board has “instructed that preparations be made for legal action against Berkshire Hathaway,” the investor document shows.

The automaker added that it won’t be bound by the settlement amount and other terms it offered Buffett’s company while negotiating the settlement. That suggests it could seek more money from Berkshire than it initially requested.

Berkshire and Volkswagen didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Volkswagen has faced billions of dollars’ worth of legal claims and fines since it admitted to installing “defeat devices” in millions of its diesel-powered cars between 2009 and 2015. The secret software enabled the cars to cheat vehicle-emission tests and skirt environmental regulations – a scandal dubbed “Dieselgate.”

In addition to its insurers, Volkswagen has reached Dieselgate-related settlements with its former chairman, Martin Winterkorn, and an Audi board member, Rupert Stadler. Winterkorn and Stadler will pay 11.2 million euros and 4.1 million euros respectively, partly by waiving their claims to bonuses.

Volkswagen might be clashing with Buffett, but it counts another famous value investor among its fans: Michael Burry of “The Big Short.” The Scion Asset Management boss disclosed in March that he holds a stake in Porsche SE, the German holding company that owns about 31% of Volkswagen.

“Investors, partly due to the #ESGFog, underestimate the size, scale, brands, staying power, and resources of Volkswagen,” Burry tweeted at the time.

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How semitrucks are crash tested

  • Just like consumer cars have to undergo crash testing, so do commercial semitrucks.
  • Some of these tests are the same, but others are designed specifically for trucks.
  • Thanks to these crash test trials, safety standards for trucks are only improving.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Every year, there are half a million semitruck accidents in the US alone. That’s why, just like passenger cars, these massive vehicles need to be crash tested to ensure they’re safe for public roads. Besides the typical crash-impact trials every car undergoes, there are a number of tests specifically made for semitrucks.

Although not required by international regulations, Volvo Trucks and Volkswagen’s Scania are famous for performing what’s called the Swedish cab-strength test. Designed to simulate the damage impacted by a rollover crash, this test is meant to see if the cab will remain intact under high pressure. First, the roof is evenly loaded with a 15-ton weight. Next, a 1.4-ton pendulum barrel is swung full-speed into the cab’s front A-pillar, the weakest part of the cab. Finally, a second pendulum barrel is launched into the cab’s rear wall. In order to pass the test, the resulting damage must not breach the driver’s survival space. The cab has to retain its original structure without any big holes or protruding sharp edges. The test is frequently described as the industry’s most difficult. But as much as companies like Volvo and Scania brag about passing it, their engineers don’t stop there, and their cabs are still subjected to plenty of actual high-speed-rollover tests.

But trucks need more than their cabs tested. The tractor trailers they carry are equally important, but it’s not about protecting the trailers. These tests are for protecting passenger vehicles. In 2019, over 850 US drivers died in crashes with the rear or side of a semitruck. 80% of them involved some kind of underride, where a car ends up under the semi or its trailer. Stats like these are why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests the use of underride guards. These are metal bumpers that hang down off the back and sides of the trailer. Tests involve sending midsize cars at 35 miles per hour into these guards to test their durability and the damage they prevent to passenger dummies. Unfortunately, these tests aren’t required for trailers to pass safety standards. While side underride guards on trucks have been required by the European Union since 2003, they aren’t mandatory on US roads.

Still, the most extensive crash testing remains impact trials. Familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a crash-test video, impact tests help trucking companies analyze just how safe their cabs will be for drivers in a crash. Crash-impact tests take on a number of forms. This includes offset barrier tests, meant to simulate crashing into the back of a truck, and head-on-collision tests. In each test, these 120-ton trucks are crashed at speeds of 30 to 50 miles per hour. Researchers and engineers evaluate damage to the test dummies, which are designed to resemble actual human bodies as accurately as possible. They take thorough notes on which parts of the dummies received the most damage. This information helps researchers develop improvements to prevent that type of injury in future crashes. They also evaluate damage to the cab itself. This includes structures like its frame and electronic systems.

Semitruck crash testing hasn’t stopped evolving, though. Just like EVs are expected to become the standard for the car industry within the next few decades, the same is true for semitrucks. Scania already launched its first electric truck last year. However, while a regular road-car chassis can package battery packs inside the wheelbase, the cab of a semi can’t sacrifice any passenger or powertrain space to keep the batteries inside the frame. Instead, the cells go into boxes on the side, which replace the fuel tanks. Because of this design, these external battery packs and protective plastic casing around them need to be crash tested for durability. Scania uses a head-on impact from Volkswagen’s Golf compact car traveling at 35 miles per hour. The desired result is that the energy from the impact is distributed throughout the structure surrounding the battery. The company hasn’t released full data about the tests, but says “it went as expected and the battery emerged unscathed.”

There are reasons companies like Volvo and Scania and the IIHS take truck crash testing so seriously. Every year, about 5,000 people are killed in crashes involving semitrucks in the US alone. In 2019, 67% were passenger-car occupants. It’s the research gained from crash tests that help make trucks safer for those behind the wheel and the everyday drivers on the roads beside them.

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With the current rental car shortage driving prices way up, Turo offers a cheaper way to rent vehicles directly from their owners. Here’s what it’s like to use.

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Turo is the sharing economy’s answer to big car rental companies.
  • You can rent everything from a standard Honda to the latest Tesla to a retro camper van.
  • I’ve tried the service twice and found it to be an excellent and more affordable car rental option.

turo car rental review

Though vaccine rollouts are well underway and travel is picking back up, travelers continue to seek safe vacation options. With social distancing remaining a top priority and many countries still not open to US travelers, domestic trips and road trips continue to reign supreme. For those without their own wheels, that means renting a car.

In fact, many of the best car rental companies are seeing such high demand that there’s a nationwide shortage. In addition to it being just plain hard to find a rental right now, prices have skyrocketed – in some cases to as high as $700 per day. As an alternative, some travelers are looking for cheaper car rentals or last-minute options via peer-to-peer rental services. That’s where Turo comes in.

Whether you’re looking to get out of town in style, tear out into the wilds, or just avoid the line at Hertz, Turo, the sharing economy’s answer to car rentals, may be the solution to your woes. What’s more? You can also now earn a little (quasi-)passive income renting your own wheels out, too.

What is Turo?

turoexplainer

Turo is a peer-to-peer service along the lines of Airbnb or Vrbo, but for vehicles. The website (also an app) allows you to connect with individual owners who set their own prices, and to some degree, their own terms and conditions.

I’ve tried Turo in two widely different capacities. My first trip was a weeklong escapade in a 1986 Volkswagen camper van through the Pacific Northwest of the US, camping along the coast. My second was simply a means of getting from Miami International Airport down to a beach house rental in the Florida Keys in an Audi A6 convertible.

Both experiences were delightful departures from absolutely every vehicle rental experience I’ve ever had and proved why Turo is an excellent alternative to standard rental car options.

How does renting a car from Turo work?

turo car rental review how it works

Signing up for Turo is a breeze. Plug in your email address or sign up through your Facebook or Google account, put in a few personal details, and you’ll receive a confirmation email to prove your identity and eligibility as a driver (license required).

Searching for a car is exactly like hunting for a vacation rental on Airbnb. Enter the name of the place you’re going, your scheduled dates, and either select the type of car you’re after or sift through the 850-plus unique makes and models within Turo’s database of hundreds of thousands of vehicles across more than 5,500 cities across the United States and the United Kingdom.

Of course, you’ll have better luck finding your dream car in more metropolitan areas, at least for now.

Car pickups vary from owner to owner, but if you’re lucky, the vehicle will be brought right to you. You can also filter for this option, which I highly recommend.

As with any rental, upon receiving the car, make sure to do the whole once around to ensure it’s in good shape. After simply showing your license, the car is yours.

When you’re finished with your trip, top up the gas to match where the needle was on the gauge when you picked it up before returning the car. If you don’t manage to refill the gas tank, you’ll pay a prorated fee per gallon (usually steeper than the prices you’d find at the pump). You can also opt for insurance and varying degrees of coverage just as you can with a traditional agency.

Give the car another pass with the owner or the representative present, hand over the keys, and you’re all set. The owner might offer to meet you at the airport before your flight, or drop you off somewhere, but this is case by case, and you’ll usually have to arrange that ahead of time. Reviews, as with anything in the sharing economy, are encouraged (and the owner ought to do the same for you).

How much does Turo cost?

turo car rental review tesla

The price of cars on Turo varies greatly and is entirely dependent on the make, model, and owner setting the price. However, Turo is frequently a more affordable experience compared with many of the rental agencies.

Looking two weeks out at rentals in San Francisco, for example, Turo’s rental prices start at a $25-a-day 2010 Mazda 6  (plus insurance, but more on insurance below), while, due to the surge in demand currently, an entry-level rental at Hertz in San Francisco will run you $149 (and you’re not guaranteed the vehicle you select at checkout) before getting to insurance. 

Though using Turo as a more affordable car rental option is certainly a good use right now, the real fun starts in the $150 to $200 range. While that price would likely land you a Buick Regal “or similar” at a standard rental company during non-shortage times, you can land a Tesla Model 3 for a similar price on Turo. I’m no snob, but given the choice, and the level of service (pickup at your door), the choice seems like a no-brainer. 

Of course, those who have a little money to burn could also pick up a Ferrari in California ($539/day), but insurance through Turo on such premium cars will run you upwards of $100 per day.

Do I need to buy insurance for Turo?

turo car rental review insurance

If you already have car insurance, consult your company first, as they may cover you (as they would with traditional agencies) depending on your level of insurance. If you’re purchasing insurance through Turo, there are five different levels of insurance to consider, but you’ll be covered through your rental with basic liability insurance through Liberty Mutual for up to $750,000, and it starts just shy of $20 per day.

My review of Turo

truro

Having lived in a camper van in a past life, I’m all too eager to jump at the chance to relive it whenever I can. So when Turo’s team wrote and asked if I’d like to try out a vintage VW camper van, I didn’t hesitate to take them up on it. Off I went to Seattle.

The owner arranged to pick me up with Gretel (the stunningly pristine specimen of an automobile you see above) so I could prove my capabilities with a manual transmission. Fair enough: I certainly wouldn’t entrust a classic vehicle to someone without vetting their driving skills first, either.

Granted, this is a special occurrence, and so long as you’re not renting a classic vehicle with a manual transmission, you probably won’t be put to the test. It should go without saying that no one ought to rent (or drive) a vehicle outside of their comfort capabilities.

After passing my short road test, I was free roam wherever I pleased (within reason) at the helm of Gretel for a week. I did, however, have a 1,500-mile limit, and would incur further charges if I surpassed it (0.75/mile). I ended up driving a couple of hundred miles over, which was a fee of about $150 more. Over the course of a week, getting to drive the Lost Coast of Northern California and sleep in the Redwood Forest though? Worth it.

The van also came stocked with everything I needed, from a sleeping bag, pillows, blankets, and sheets, down to a coffee pot, oatmeal, coffee, and kitchen cloths. 

I dare you to try to find a hotel room on a cliff above the Pacific for less than $200 a night. You might luck out, but add the cost of a car rental to that. (Keep in mind that a Honda Accord will not exactly get you here.)

When you return someone’s pride-and-joy-on-wheels (keep in mind that old VW Vanagons are collectors’ items), they’re probably going to go over the thing with a fine-toothed comb. The owner of this particular vehicle did just that, and while I was embarrassed by the moderate disarray of things, he in turn told me I was the cleanest renter yet. Owners can potentially put up a fuss (just like with Airbnb), but the best course of action is to be considerate, courteous, and clean up after yourself. They expect to have to clean a little, but as with any rental or hospitality experience, there’s no need to go all Motley Crew on the poor set of wheels. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll end up paying for it.

turoaudi

After such a positive experience, I decided to try out Turo again during a road trip to the Florida Keys. This time, I was seeking a standard set of wheels to take me from the airport to my final destination. If you’ve ever picked up a car rental from the airport, you’re surely acquainted with issues that often pop up like long lines, faulty reservation systems, or just a super long walk from the terminal.

Save yourself the stress, and maybe the loss of your cool, and try Turo out at the airport. Arrange your car (at least 24 hours ahead of time to be safe), input your flight time, your ETA at arrivals, and your rental will be parked out front with either the vehicle’s owner or a representative on their behalf (there are a few small agencies using Turo, too). Show them your driver’s license, and off you go.

I went through this entire process without even the hint of a hitch and didn’t have to go searching for some far-flung rental agency outpost on the outskirts of the airport.

The Audi A6 was in immaculate shape, clean and detailed. The transition was smooth, and while I might not have mistaken it for a brand-spanking-new car fresh off the lot, it was in every bit as fine a shape as anything I’ve ever rented from Avis or Hertz. 

Granted, just as with Airbnb, you’ll see some variation on a case-by-case basis. The difference between renting a 1980s-vintage VW Vanagon and a late-model sports car is about as immense as you could imagine. Think fully detailed interior versus a throw blanket over stained or torn upholstery. You’ll also be able to get a feel for the condition of the vehicle based on its profile online and reviews.

And again like Airbnb, your experience is going to largely depend on your host (they also receive ratings). Some hosts make renting vehicles on Turo their primary occupation; they’ll have a crew of drivers and a slew of vehicles. This was the case with the Audi I rented, and I felt like I received executive service as a result.

Are car rentals safe?

turo car rental review audi

The CDC has stated that fully vaccinated people may safely travel in the US. If you’re wondering if renting a car is safe, we spoke to experts who say yes, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Turo has also updated its policies and guidelines to help ensure safety. Hosts are urged to disinfect cars after every trip, but guests booking cars should also bring their own wipes and sanitize all surfaces as an extra safety measure. It is also highly encouraged not to meet in person and instead, hosts should set up remote key handoffs via lockbox or via digitally upgrading to Turo Go if you’re located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, or San Diego. 

You can find Turo’s full policies and tips for staying safe here.

The bottom line: Is renting from Turo worth it?

turo car rental is turo worth it

Even if you’re not the adventurous type, Turo offers a convenience you don’t get with any of the big rental companies, and that makes all the difference.

This isn’t to say there isn’t still a time and place to use more traditional rental agencies; in remoter places, there’s a good chance you won’t find any Turo listings, and in the case of one-way trips, Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, and the like are all likely your only option, unless you can manage a special (albeit highly unlikely) arrangement with a Turo vehicle’s owner to meet you at your end destination.

Whether you’re heading out to the beach, up into the mountains, straight to a hotel room, or just looking for something a little spiffier or more functional (and fun) than a Chevy Malibu, it’s plainly and simply the easiest way to rent a car.

Pros: More affordable and convenient than most (if not all) vehicle rental agencies

Cons: Like Airbnb, quality control is tough (but improving), one-way rentals usually aren’t possible

See all Turo car, van, and camper rentals

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VW won’t rebrand its US arm as ‘Voltswagen’ after all, reports say

Volkswagen ID.4
Volkswagen reportedly jumped the gun on an April Fools’ prank.

  • Volkswagen said Tuesday its US arm would rebrand to Voltswagen, but its parent now reportedly disputes that.
  • The announcement was a marketing stunt and will be retracted Wednesday, multiple outlets reported.
  • Volkswagen accidentally published the announcement on Monday before reposting it Tuesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Volkswagen of America may not rebrand to “Voltswagen” after all, multiple outlets report.

The brand – a subsidiary of Germany’s Volkswagen Group – announced plans Tuesday to rename its US operations “Voltswagen of America.” It said the brand’s battery-powered vehicles will have exterior “Voltswagen” badging, while its gas-powered cars will come with just the traditional VW emblem.

Now Volkswagen appears to be walking back the statement, according to multiple outlets citing sources familiar with the move.

The press release announcing the name change, published to VW of America’s website on March 30, was an April Fools’ joke, a Volkswagen spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal. The announcement was made up to drum up attention for VW’s upcoming electric vehicles, Reuters reported, citing three sources familiar.

The carmaker will officially retract the name change on Wednesday, multiple outlets report.

“We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Voltswagen of America, said in a statement Tuesday. “This name change signifies a nod to our past as the peoples’ car and our firm belief that our future is in being the peoples’ electric car.”

CNBC initially reported the name change Monday, after a draft of Tuesday’s press release was accidentally posted to the brand’s website a month early. It was dated April 29, CNBC said, and was briefly online before being removed from VW’s website.

Volkswagen of America and Volkswagen Group representatives did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment.

Read more: The CEO of a top battery startup explains how working for Elon Musk upended his assumptions about his industry

Volkswagen began delivering its first EV for the US market, the ID.4, in March. During a presentation in March, the Volkswagen Group laid out a wide-ranging strategy to overtake Tesla in the EV space. The plans included six European battery-production plants, new battery technology, and investments in charging infrastructure.

In January, General Motors unveiled a new logo amid its own accelerated electrification push.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Volkswagen rallies as much as 8.8% as investors buy into its plans to rival Tesla for electric vehicle dominance

GettyImages 1230850786
A Volkswagen worker works on the ID 3, one of Volkswagen’s electric cars.

German car manufacturer Volkswagen rose by as much as 8.8% on Wednesday, extending the gains made the day before when it unveiled its plans for expansion in the electric vehicle market that could make it the world’s leading producer.

Shares were up as much as 8.8% at one point, at 291 euros ($346), their highest since November 2008 and set for a 25% gain so far this week. Volkswagen’s US-listed shares closed 10% higher on Tuesday.

At its “Power Day” on Monday, Volkswagen said it would build six electric vehicle battery factories across Europe and produce predominantly electric cars by 2030. This has triggered a surge in the value of its shares.

Volkswagen also stated it could significantly reduce battery production costs, which in turn would drive down electric vehicle retail prices, and invest into building an electric vehicle software infrastructure to be used across all of its brands.

Disruption in supply chains through factory closures, manufacturing interruptions and delivery delays have put pressure on the car manufacturing industry throughout the pandemic.

By shifting its focus towards electric vehicles over the past year and effectively emulating Tesla’s strategy, Europe’s largest carmaker has gained back a significant amount of ground. Volkswagen shares have risen by 180% since the market crash in March last year.

The company is aiming to dethrone Tesla as the global leading manufacturer of electric vehicles: “Our goal is to secure a pole position,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen, on “Power Day”.

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Volkswagen surges 17% after revealing plans to build battery factories to compete with Tesla

Volkswagen
  • Shares of Volkswagen surged 17% on Tuesday after it revealed plans of dethroning Tesla as the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric cars.
  • During a live stream, executives said the company intends to build six battery production plants by 2030 in Europe alone.
  • The company says it could potentially decrease battery production costs by 50%.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

Shares of Volkswagen surged 17% on Tuesday after the German car maker revealed plans aimed at dethroning Tesla as the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric cars by boosting key production capacities.

During its “Power Day” on Monday, the company presented its strategy to expand battery production in Europe, as well as massive plans to make investments in charging infrastructure. During the live stream in front of investors, executives said Volkswagen intends to build six battery production plants in Europe by 2030.

By improving its cell design, production processes, and materials, the company sees the possibility of decreasing battery costs by up to 50%.

“E-mobility has become core business for us,” Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement. “We are now systematically integrating additional stages in the value chain. We secure a long-term pole position in the race for the best battery and best customer experience in the age of zero-emission mobility.”

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VW lays out aggressive strategy to counter Tesla with its own ‘gigafactories’ and investments in charging infrastructure

VW CEO Herbert Diess
Volkswagen also showed off a “wall box” that resembles Tesla’s Powerwall.

  • Volkswagen rolled out a massive battery offensive at Monday’s “Power Day.”
  • The carmaker announced plans to build six cell-production plants in Europe by 2025.
  • It also detailed major investments in charging infrastructure globally.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Volkswagen hasn’t been shy about its plan to catch up to Tesla and become the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric cars. And on Monday, the German automaker laid out an aggressive strategy to expand its battery production and make major investments in charging infrastructure.

VW announced the plans at its first “Power Day” presentation on Monday, which emulated Tesla’s previous “Battery Day” events. During the live stream, executives said the company plans to build six battery-production plants in Europe by 2030 in order to secure battery supply.

“E-mobility has become core business for us. We are now systematically integrating additional stages in the value chain. We secure a long-term pole position in the race for the best battery and best customer experience in the age of zero-emission mobility,” VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.

VW said each plant will have the capacity to produce 40-gigawatt hours per year, for a total of 240-gigawatt hours annually by 2030. Like Tesla, VW is calling the plants “gigafactories.”

At Tesla’s Battery Day last September, CEO Elon Musk said the company would be able to produce 3 terawatt-hours of energy every year.

VW is building the first two plants in Salzgitter, Germany, and Skelleftea, Sweden, with the latter being a joint venture between VW and battery manufacturer Northvolt. On Monday, Northvolt announced a $14 billion battery order from VW over the next decade and said the carmaker has increased its stake in the company.

Through improvements in cell design, production processes, and materials, VW aims to decrease battery costs by up to 50%.

The carmaker also detailed plans to vastly expand access to charging stations, which is a key hurdle to EV adoption globally.

VW plans to invest €400 million, or about $477 million, to quintuple the number of fast-charging points in Europe by 2025. The efforts will be buoyed by partnerships with European energy companies.

Outside of the European market, the carmaker aims to add roughly 3,500 fast-charging points to its Electrify America network in the US and Canada this year, and plans to build 17,000 plugs in China by 2025.

The carmaker has big plans for at-home charging as well. During Power Day, it showed off a “wall box” – similar to Tesla’s Powerwall – that can store energy from a home’s solar panels and feed it to VW cars. The system will be bidirectional, so battery-powered cars can also feed energy back into a home, residential building, or business if needed.

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Volkswagen announced its first ‘Power Day’ event months after Tesla’s long-hyped ‘Battery Day’

FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess attends a construction completion event of SAIC Volkswagen MEB electric vehicle plant in Shanghai, China November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess joined twitter in January and took a jab at Elon Musk.

  • Volkswagen’s CEO took a page out of Tesla’s playbook by announcing the company’s first “Power Day.”
  • The event is scheduled for March 15 and has echoes of Tesla’s “Battery Day” from September.
  • Diess has been clear that one of VW’s key missions is to take on Tesla.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

With a budding social media presence and a rapidly growing lineup of electric models, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess is looking to replicate Tesla and Elon Musk’s success in more ways than one.

The carmaker’s latest move is to host a battery-focused event that feels a lot like the “Battery Day” Tesla put on in September.

Diess on Tuesday announced the German carmaker’s first “Power Day,” which is scheduled for March 15. He offered little detail on the event, only adding: “Please note: This is not a car presentation.”

Musk, similarly, generated months of buzz when he announced Tesla would hold a Battery Day without giving away specifics about what would be discussed. The CEO’s active Twitter feed and flashy presentations are a boon to Tesla, which doesn’t have an advertising budget.

Diess appears to be looking to emulate both those signature elements of Tesla’s business as of late. He joined Twitter in January and immediately posted a friendly jab at Musk about stealing “some of your market shares.”

And outside of Twitter, Diess hasn’t been shy about his mission to take on Tesla, the most valuable carmaker and by far the global leader in sales of electric vehicles. In a November blog post, Diess detailed a new effort to “catch up with Tesla” called “Mission T,” which involved accelerating software development and more effectively pooling hardware across Volkswagen’s brands.

Now, the group has developed several EVs across the Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands, including a flagship battery-powered crossover for the US market called the ID.4. It plans to launch 70 electric models by 2030.

And some Wall Street analysts are optimistic about the carmaker’s prospects of rivaling Tesla in the EV space in the long term.

In a March 3 note, a team of analysts at UBS projected that Tesla and Volkswagen would comfortably be the largest producers of EVs by 2025. They estimated that Tesla would sell 2.3 million EVs that year, while Volkswagen would sell 2.6 million.

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‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry is betting Volkswagen will beat Tesla in electric vehicles

Burry
Christian Bale as Michael Burry in “The Big Short.”

  • Michael Burry owns a stake in Volkswagen’s largest shareholder, Porsche SE.
  • “The Big Short” investor is betting Volkswagen can beat Tesla in electric vehicles.
  • Burry said he was short Elon Musk’s car company in December.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Michael Burry holds a stake in Volkswagen’s biggest shareholder, he revealed in a now-deleted tweet on Wednesday.

“I don’t own a Porsche, but I own the Porsche that owns VW that owns Porsche,” the investor said. He was referring to Porsche SE, the German holding company that owns 31.3% of Volkswagen, which itself owns Porsche AG, Audi, and other car brands.

Porsche SE and Burry’s Scion Asset Management didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Burry is best known for his billion-dollar bet against the US housing bubble in the mid-2000s. His lucrative wager was immortalized in Michael Lewis’ book “The Big Short,” and he was played by Christian Bale in the movie adaptation.

The Scion chief’s indirect bet on Volkswagen is notable because the German auto group is taking on Tesla in the electric-vehicle market, and Burry was short Tesla as of December.

He predicted in January that shares in Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company – which have skyrocketed by more than 600% since the start of 2020 – would suffer a massive collapse. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” he said.

Burry disclosed his Porsche SE position after trumpeting Volkswagen in several tweets.

“Investors, partly due to the #ESGFog, underestimate the size, scale, brands, staying power, and resources of Volkswagen,” he said. The investor linked to a Bloomberg story about a UBS analysis that found Volkswagen’s ID.3 electric car stacked up well against Tesla’s models.

“Ever wonder who owns Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, etc? VW,” Burry said in another tweet. “Although, Porsche owns VW too. Interested why VW and Porsche do not trade in the US? Because what US investors think is not too important to VW or Porsche.”

Burry’s championing of Volkswagen and his stake in its largest shareholder, coupled with his criticism of Tesla and short position, strongly suggest he’s expecting the German automaker to trounce Musk’s upstart rival.

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Here are some of the car models most likely to be in shorter supply due to the global chip shortage

Car Dealership
New Chevys for sale fill the lot at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Illinois, July 17, 2014.

  • Car dealerships are already reflecting the slowdown in manufacturing due to the global chip shortage.
  • Shoppers may see higher prices and lower availability of certain car models.
  • Car companies began halting production in January and expect to lose billions this year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A global shortage of computer chips has caused shutdowns at several automotive manufacturing plants – and car dealerships are already reflecting the shortage.

Car shoppers can expect to see an impact in the availability of certain car models due to the chip shortage, as well as a price increase, according to Cars.com executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder. Dealerships may also be less likely to offer deals as supplies dwindle.

“Consumers in the market of considering buying a car should shop now because choices and prices could worsen over the next two quarters,” Wiesenfelder told Insider. 

Car companies began halting production at manufacturing plants in North America in the beginning of January.

Automotive companies stand to lose billions of dollars due to the disruption in supply. Alix Partners told Bloomberg car companies could lose over $14 billion in the first quarter and about $61 billion overall in 2021. Though, Wiesenfelder said the industry could make up for the cuts by the end of the year.

Semiconductor chips have become an essential part of the manufacturing process for vehicles. The chips are used in navigation, bluetooth, and collision-detection systems and account for about 40% of a new car’s cost, according to a report from Deloitte.

The lack of chips has forced automakers to prioritize production of their higher-priced and more-profitable models.

Here are some of the models Cars.com said may see price increases or limited availability.

Toyota has already started increasing prices

2014 2017 toyota tundra crewmax
Toyota Tundra CrewMax.

The Toyota Tundra was one of the first cars to see a halt in production.

Cars.com said the Tundra has seen a drop in inventory of almost 27% for the month of February. Some Toyota models have already demonstrated price increases, including the Tacoma, which has gone up about $584 or 1.6%, despite only a 4% decrease in inventory, according to Cars.com.

Many Japanese carmakers are seeing an impact. Honda was one of the first car companies to warn of computer chip shortages, according to Bloomberg.

The Japanese carmaker has slashed production at several major manufacturing plants. In particular, shoppers can expect to see some pressure on the Honda Accord, Civic, Insight, and Odyssey, as well as the Acura RDX.

Nissan has had to adjust production in both Japan and North America. A spokesperson told Insider the company is continuing to assess the long-term impact of the chip shortage. For now, the models that have seen slowdowns for the carmaker include the Nissan Altima, Frontier, and Titan.

In February, Subaru reported it planned to cut its production plan for 2021 by about 58,000 cars. The models impacted by the cut include the Subaru Ascent, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback.

Ford and General Motors expect to lose billions of dollars 

ford factory
Workers build Ford F-150 trucks at one of the automaker’s assembly plants.

Ford began slowing down production at its plant in Louisville in January. During Ford’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CFO John Lawler said the chip shortage could cut the company’s first-quarter production by 10% to 20% – a $2.5 billion hit to revenue.

The car models that will be impacted by cuts at Ford plants include the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair, which are produced at the Louisville plant. Cars.com said there will also be declines in production of the Ford Edge and Explorer, as well as the Lincoln Aviator and Lincoln Nautilus.

During GM’s fourth-quarter earnings call the company said it expects to see a negative impact of $1.5 to $2 billion this year. 

The company announced last week that it was closing three of its North American plants. The manufacturing sites will remain closed until at least mid-March.

The closures are expected to impact the Buick Encore, Cadillac XT4, and GMC Terrain. The company’s Chevrolet line will also see some slowdowns, as the sites that produce Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu, and Trax have been impacted.

Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen also feel the pinch

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

In January Fiat Chrysler suspended operations at plants in Ontario and Mexico. The slowdowns will impact several Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep products. Cars.com said dealerships will likely have lower inventories for the Chrysler 300, Pacifica, and Voyager. The Dodge Challenger and Charger may be in shorter supply, as well as the Jeep Cherokee and Compass.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen were some of the first car companies overseas to report shortages. In December, Volkswagen had already begun lowering production rates. The Volkswagen Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, and Passat have already been impacted by the supply disruption.

Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Volkswagen did not respond in time to comment.

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