Tesla, which has been sued for being a “hotbed” of “racist behavior” in the past, issued its first diversity report, Toyota is going electric in Europe and alleged fraud in Pennsylvania. All that and more in The Morning Shift for December 7, 2020.
You can read the whole thing here, if you want. Tesla published it late Friday, which is the traditional time for releasing news that isn’t great. Tesla has a fairly diverse workforce, just not where it matters.
Here’s Bloomberg’s summary:
While the report showcases a heavy presence of minorities in its U.S. workforce, it highlights a lack of diversity with a predominantly male and White leadership team, and offers a peek into a relatively opaque structure without an organizational chart on its website that just lists four male executives as its only leadership.
“I’m thrilled to finally see it,” Kristin Hull, the founder and chief executive of Nia Impact Capital, a social impact fund based in Oakland, California, that invests in Tesla, said in a phone call Saturday. “It’s a step in the right direction. We need to know more about where Tesla is heading, and I’d like more granularity and to see targets and more specific goals set, particularly for company culture.”
Black and African-American employees represent 10% of Tesla’s U.S. workforce, but just 4% of managers at the level of director and above, according to the report.
“We know that our numbers do not represent the deep talent pools of Black and African-American talent that exist in the U.S at every level — from high school graduates to professionals,” Tesla said in the report. “Many of our programs in 2021 will focus on increasing Black and African-American representation, especially in leadership, while continuing the upward trend in new hires and promotions.”
Continental is the latest to say it. Electric cars have fewer parts than internal combustion engine cars, necessitating fewer workers to build them. It would probably be a much more crushing blow if the industry hadn’t moved toward automation so heavily in recent decades.
From the Financial Times:
Ariane Reinhart, the German group’s head of human resources, told the Financial Times that environmental regulations, although necessary, were coming so fast “we cannot compensate for it in terms of employment”.
The Hanover-based parts-maker is struggling to adjust to the car industry’s technological shift, putting 30,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 13,000 in Germany, as it goes through a painful restructuring and pushes through plans to close entire plants.
“An electric car has a lower employment density than a conventional car,” said Ms Reinhart, who oversees the company’s 230,000 staff.
Toyota and Subaru’s e-TNGA platform promises great things. Toyota said today one of the first great things will be RAV4-sized fully electric car for Europe.
From Automotive News:
The vehicle will go on sale in Europe “in couple of years,” Toyota Europe’s sales and marketing chief, Matt Harrison, said in a video chat. “We are moving into launch mode for the vehicle.”
Toyota Europe’s product and marketing director, Andrea Carlucci, said the utility vehicle will be the automaker’s first pure electric car developed for Europe.
In a statement on Monday, Toyota said it will announce further details in the coming months.
The model will be one of the 10 zero-emissions vehicles the automaker plans to launch in Europe by 2025, executives from Toyota’s European division said.
The utility vehicle, developed with Subaru, will be the fifth of the 10 models. Toyota and Subaru announced their EV cooperation last year.
To be more precise, Herbert Diess said that we would have them by some time between 2025 and 2030. Diess has been a bit under fire as of late, with long-term job security not quite assured. So that may explain why he’s been so chatty.
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess expects autonomous vehicles to be ready for sale between 2025 and 2030.
Diess cited the improving performance of computer chips needed in autonomous cars while developments in artificial intelligence are also speeding the process.
“It is foreseeable that the systems will soon be able to master even the complex situations of autonomous driving,” Diess told Wirtschaftswoche business magazine.
Volkswagen has lots of work to do on this front.
This is sort of a weird one, as I would expect PPP fraud investigations to be a function of the government. This one is a lawsuit from a private citizen.
From Automotive News:
A former sales rep of Blaise Alexander Inc. in Muncy, Pa., is accusing the 20-store dealership group of violating the False Claims Act in relation to Paycheck Protection Program loans in a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in July by Branden Bucher and unsealed in U.S. Middle District Court in Pennsylvania late last month, said the group applied for at least 13 PPP loans and received between $4.65 million and $11.1 million from the Small Business Administration. Data released by the SBA last week, months after the suit was filed, confirm 13 Blaise Alexander entities with Pennsylvania addresses accepted a total of $6,945,700 in loans.
The lawsuit says, “Blaise Alexander, Inc., was not eligible for such loans due to regulations prohibiting loans to a business of its size.”
The lawsuit also claims that Blaise Alexander spent the PPP funds on payroll as required by the SBA but then “forced its salespersons to reimburse” the dealership for the PPP funds by withholding sales commissions.
“BA’s conduct undermines a core purpose of the CARES Act — to put money in the pockets of employees,” the lawsuit said.
Joel Breneman, director of operations for the dealership group, told [the Williamsport Sun-Gazette] that employees were not asked to return any wages that they received.
“I can confidently say that these allegations are false and this is an attempt by an individual to benefit from a frivolous suit,” Breneman said.
Today is also Pearl Harbor Day, and also my grandmother’s birthday. Happy birthday, grandma! On matters more relating to transportation:
I got the Honda Fit inspected yesterday, the annual $37 routine required by New York state. You can take your car to shops that will pass anything that runs, but I prefer to take it somewhere real. I want to know if something is fucked up, because if something is fucked up I want to fix it. The Fit passed; the shop said “congratulations” on the receipt, which was too much for the occasion but I’ll take it.