The international impact of the Kobe Steel data scandal grew clearer Thursday as more than 30 companies outside Japan were found to have received products with falsified specifications.
Aluminum and other products with doctored inspection certificates were used in vehicles built by the likes of General Motors, Tesla, Daimler and Peugeot maker Groupe PSA, on top of such Japanese automakers as Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor.
The products in question also made their way into planes built by Boeing and Airbus, as well as General Electric aircraft components.
Demand for such lightweight materials as aluminum and carbon fiber has grown as manufacturers work to make autos and planes more fuel-efficient. Japanese manufacturers’ reputation for quality in this area means that their products are used the world over. This very popularity has turned the Kobe Steel scandal into a global problem.
As of Thursday, a total of roughly 200 companies inside and outside Japan had been identified as recipients of products with falsified certificates.
In what is either a generous act of charity or an unnerving example of the control Tesla exercises over the vehicles it producers, or perhaps both, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has magically unlocked the batteries of every Tesla in Florida to maximize the distance that people fleeing from Hurricane Irma can travel before stopping to refuel at one of the company’s “superstation” charging centers.
Typically, these types of over-the-air upgrades can cost thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars.
But Musk is temporarily offering full battery capacity to all owners of Model S/X 60/60D vehicles with 75 kilo watt battery packs, according to Electrek, a blog that covers electric vehicles.
The upgrade will surely help Floridians who are still rushing to escape as the now category 3 storm makes its second landfall near Naples. The upgrade will last through Saturday.
An alliance between Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor could be a boon to both sides, helping the former gain ground in emerging markets such as India and giving the latter the engineering needed to compete in an increasingly high-tech industry.
Can’t go it alone
The two automakers said Wednesday they were discussing collaboration on environmental, safety and information technology.
Although Toyota President Akio Toyoda told a new conference that the idea of an alliance came together in just two business days after Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki got the ball rolling, there is more to the story. Suzuki’s next partner had been the subject of speculation since August 2015, when the Japanese maker of economy cars ended a capital and business relationship with Germany’s Volkswagen over management conflicts.
Though Chairman Suzuki had said publicly that his company would look to remain independent going forward, another senior executive had acknowledged that collaboration was “necessary” in some fields. Even in India, a successful market for Suzuki, environmental regulations are growing tougher, making investment in technology like hybrid drive systems essential. Rising incomes have also stoked demand for higher-end vehicles in such countries.
Finding a big automaker ally was seen as essential for Suzuki to ensure a presence in self-driving cars. While a Toyota or a Volkswagen has the financial strength to counter the challenge posed by Google and other tech giants in this field — Toyota’s annual research and development budget comes to around 1 trillion yen ($9.59 billion) — Suzuki, which spent just 130 billion yen on R&D in the year ended March 31, hardly stands a chance alone.
Truck-related stocks have massively outperformed the broader markets this year up over 30% while the S&P 500 is up only around 7%. This outperformance has come despite abysmal Class 8 net orders which seem to just get worse each month withAugust 2016 net orders down over 25% compared to last year. In fact, the level of trailing 12-month net orders is the lowest since January 2011 with YoY changes now in negative territory for 18 consecutive months.
Petrol price was today cut by Rs 1.42 a litre and diesel by Rs 2.01 per litre, the third reduction in rates this month on global cues.
Petrol will cost Rs 61.09 a litre in Delhi from midnight tonight as compared to Rs 62.51 a litre currently, said Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s largest fuel retailer.
Similarly, diesel will cost Rs 52.27 per litre as against Rs 54.28 currently.
This is the third reduction in rates this month. Petrol price was last cut by Rs 2.25 a litre on July 16. Diesel rate on that date was reduced by Rs 0.42 a litre. Prior to that petrol price was cut by 89 paise a litre and diesel by 49 paise on July 1.
Prior to the reductions in July, rates had been hiked on four occasions since May 1. Petrol prices in the four hikes had been raised by Rs 4.52 a litre and diesel by Rs 7.72 per litre.
Leading car manufacturer Toyota has moved the National Green Tribunal arguing that the idea to ban diesel vehicles across the country was like a “corporate death penalty” as it impacts the existence of the company.
In its plea, the automobile company said ban on the registration of diesel vehicles manufactured by the applicant company is “unfair and unjust” as it was complying with all the laws and any restriction would severely impact its sales and the livelihood of thousands of people engaged in the automobile sector.
“The applicant company is being penalised for no fault or violation on its part thereby making the order banning registration of diesel cars as unjust and unfair on the company.
“The imposition of ban on registration of diesel vehicles is in the nature of a corporate death penalty as it impacts the very existence of the company. A ban order is an extremely harsh/excessive punishment and ought to be imposed in circumstances where a party commits a serious violation and not when there is no violation,” Toyota said.
The Supreme Court-appointed green panel EPCA has recommended high pollution cess, of up to 25% on the cost of diesel cars above 2,000 cc, multiple times higher than the figure suggested by few automakers.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) reasoned that imposition of steep cess was imperative to control air pollution in the national capital by making diesel vehicles “cost prohibitive”.
“The argument for a 1% cess therefore goes against the very grain of this,” EPCA said in a note to the apex court.
As per the note, the vehicles have to be divided into three categories — up to 1,200 cc, up to 2,000 cc and 2,000 cc and above — and an Environmental Compensation Cess of 10, 20 and 25% respectively should be imposed on them.
“Diesel car users cannot pay less tax per litre of fuel compared to petrol car and two-wheeler users. This needs to be equalised to control growing use of low tax diesel fuel (meant for farmers and freight) in cars that have cleaner substitutes,” it said.
The Supreme Court of India is considering lifting the ban imposed on the registration of diesel vehicles with engines greater than 2,000cc.
The Supreme Court of India is considering lifting the ban imposed on the registration of diesel vehicles with engines greater than 2,000cc. Vehicles such as the Toyota Innova Crysta, ToyotaFortuner, Tata Safari and multiple cars from German automaker Mercedes-Benz’ portfolio were affected seriously by the ban. The consideration comes as a sign of relief for automakers and buyers alike. A one-time levy of ‘Green Cess’ is being considered instead.
The bench associated with the matter, comprising of Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi expressed, “We are inclined to allow registration. We are open to the registration subject to some kind of one-time cess.” Earlier, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota had offered to deposit one per cent of the ex-showroom price of such cars as cess. However, the authorities have not yet reached a concrete decision and the next hearing is scheduled on July 4, 2016.
Meanwhile, the bench also asked senior lawyers representing automobile companies to come up with an appropriate proposal. “Can you (lawyers for auto firms) ask your people to work out details as to what may be the cess to be levied on such vehicles with regard to the showroom price, etc,” the bench said.