Hyundai is getting investigated for alleged insider trading, GM has maps, and Australians absolutely despise EVs. All that and more in The Morning Shift for April 13, 2021.
Hyundai is now the target of one in South Korea, related to its flirtation earlier this year with Apple.
From the Financial Times:
Hyundai shares rose more than 20 per cent after it confirmed early-stage discussions with Apple in January but subsequently fell back after the group said on February 8 that it was no longer in talks with the US tech giant.
After Hyundai announced the initial discussions, 12 Hyundai executives sold about 3,400 shares, worth about Won833m ($753,000), according to Reuters calculations based on the company’s regulatory filings.
The probe by South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service is expected to take about six months. A person close to the regulator said the FSS was “looking into suspicions about insider trading at Hyundai”. South Korea has tough rules against insider trading and the regulator can refer its findings to prosecutors for potential legal action.
“Their stock trades look quite suspicious if you look at the circumstances, but it is hard to prove that they used inside information,” said Hwang Seiwoon, a researcher at the Korea Capital Markets Institute. “I have hardly seen any cases where the alleged perpetrators have seriously been punished for insider trading.”
Hyundai declined to comment.
If you’ve ever observed an insider trading trial, you know just how easy it is to do, here or overseas. Sometimes it seems like if you aren’t insider trading you aren’t trying.
My apologies for telling you about this; I’m as bored with the chip shortage as you are. Still, it is my duty to report that the CEOs of GM, Ford, and Stellantis had a meeting with the Biden administration yesterday about it.
The Detroit News says they didn’t exactly get what they want.
Asked directly whether the administration had discussed prioritizing orders for automakers with semiconductor companies, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was noncommittal: “One of the reasons the president is stopping by this meeting ... is to hear directly from companies about the impacts, what would help them most through this period of time.
“This isn’t a meeting where we expect a decision or an announcement to come out of, but part of our ongoing engagement and discussion about how to best address this issue.”
General Motors Co.’s Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co.’s Jim Farley and Stellantis NV’s Carlos Tavares sought help with the semiconductor chip shortage. Groups representing major automakers are seeking a set-aside portion of any chip production that comes from negotiations in Congress as they compete with tech companies for the valuable parts. The Biden administration may not be amenable to that.
The auto sector uses “legacy” chips rather than the advanced chips used in electronics and consumes only around a small percentage of chips worldwide. But the chips are vital in the engineering and production of modern vehicles worldwide, especially the high-margin pickups and SUVs that drive profitability in the U.S. market.
I pray for this to be over sooner rather than later so none of us have to think about it ever again.
GM unveiled a new maps product yesterday for its cars, called Maps+. It is intended for people who don’t use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It will be a software update for around 900,000 model year 2018 and newer Buicks, Chevys, Cadillacs, and GMCs.
From GM’s release:
For current owners of compatible vehicles that previously did not have navigation built in, Maps+ brings a connected ecosystem of voice assistants, navigation and apps into a singular experience.
Maps+ was developed to meet driver needs and preferences while keeping hardware capabilities of different vehicles in mind. Drivers can start Maps+ navigation with Alexa Built-In1 voice control and listen to music or podcasts using the system’s integrated audio apps. A single-box search offers intuitive access to points of interest, shops, restaurants, parking and more. With features including embedded speed limit alerts and low fuel recognition to route drivers to a nearby station, Maps+ fully complements drivers’ lives on the road. Driver choice is at the core of this in-vehicle experience and drivers can take advantage of Maps+ or decide to project their favorite smartphone apps in their vehicle.
The maps offering will be included in GM’s various subscription Connected Services plans. It’s not clear to me how this will be superior to Apple or Google’s products, but, then again, in-car navigation is one of those technologies that, if you had told me in the ‘90s when I was a kid they would exist, I would absolutely not have believed you. We were still getting TripTiks from AAA and printing out MapQuest directions back then.
Germans who took out a loan on a cheating diesel are entitled to money from VW, as a German court has ruled, in yet more of the long tail of Dieselgate.
Volkswagen must fully compensate customers who took out loans to buy diesel cars that were discovered to be fitted with devices to cheat emissions tests, a German court has ruled.
The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe on Tuesday dismissed the German carmaker’s appeal and said it has to pay 3,300 euros ($3,926) to a customer who bought one of its diesel cars in 2013, including interest payments on the loan.
“The buyer must be provided for as if the purchase had not happened,” judge Stephan Seiters said.
Tuesday’s case was brought by a customer who purchased a used VW Golf with a loan from VW Bank, a subsidiary of the carmaker. After the diesel scandal emerged, she returned the car, which used the EA 189 engine at the heart of the test cheating crisis, and claimed damages.
Reuters says that there are several other outstanding lawsuits. I’m assuming we’ll all be dead before Dieselgate is cleaned up for good.
Australia is a country in a sort of end-of-history state, in that there is broad political consensus on most things and it has managed to solve a lot of social problems that stymie other wealthy nations. Yet, when it comes to EVs, the people of Australia are very much behind and apparently unbothered about that.
More than four decades after Mel Gibson’s super-charged Ford Falcon roared across the country in Mad Max, the car-loving nation is defying a global shift to electrification. Battery-powered vehicles made up just 0.7% of Australia’s new car sales in 2020, while in the U.K. and European Union, the figure soared to more than 10%.
The resistance is drawing the ire of global automakers, which are delaying or skipping vehicle releases in Australia to supply markets that offer EV subsidies and have more aggressive emissions targets. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, likens Australia’s EV policies to those of a “third-world country.”
In Australia — where Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm is based — efforts to de-carbonize road transport are among the worst in the Group of 20 nations, according to BloombergNEF.
Australia’s ranking behind developing countries like Indonesia and Turkey reflects an ideological battle between a conservative government stifling electric-vehicle growth and a global car industry committed to technological upheaval.
Australia is a “uniquely hostile market” for EV makers, according to Behyad Jafari, chief executive officer of the Sydney-based Electric Vehicle Council.
I like the idea of Australia being the last bastion of the internal combustion engine. They are really committing to the Mad Max bit.
The vaccine rollout in New York has gone a lot more smoothly than I expected, as everyone I know who has wanted a jab has been able to get it, more or less. It’s gone well enough that I no longer get reflexively mad at people I see unmasked in public, as I assume a lot of them have been vaccinated.