The Keys to Lamborghini's Future? Speed, Style, and SUVs

First Up 05/18/17

Business Leaders to Testify at House Panel's Tax Reform Hearing 
Several business leaders are slated to testify at the House Ways and Means Committee's tax-reform hearing on Thursday, the committee announced Wednesday. According to The Hill, the hearing, the first in a series that the panel plans to hold, will focus on how tax reform can affect the economy and jobs. Witnesses will include AT&T Senior Executive Vice President John Stephens, Atlas Tool Works Chief Alignment Officer Zachary Mottl, Emerson Electric CEO David Farr, S&P Global President Douglas Peterson, and Willett Advisors Chairman Steven Rattner. The border-adjustment proposal, which has divided GOP lawmakers and the business community, will be a key focus in another hearing that the Ways and Means Committee plans to hold next week. For more on today’s tax reform hearing, click here.

Domestic Carmakers, Despite Promises to Donald Trump, Set on Job Cuts 
Amid softening U.S. car sales and mounting investor skepticism about Detroit’s ability to weather the industry’s first downturn in nearly a decade, auto executives are facing a tough choice in whom to please: Wall Street or the White House. Auto executives are quickly retreating, reports The Wall Street Journal. GM and Ford are making cuts to their U.S. workforces that could far outpace the job commitments made in recent months amid political pressure. Armed with union contracts that were reworked a decade ago, domestic car companies can respond more rapidly to investor concerns about the bottom line. “There is a lot of a balancing act going on,” said Jeff Schuster, LMC Automotive’s senior vice president of forecasting. “We’re finally at the point where we’re likely to see a contraction in demand [and] obviously the new administration pushing for jobs.” Mr. Schuster said that with “pressure on both sides of the equation, something has to give.” For more on job cuts in the auto sector, click here.

U.S. Prepares to Sue Fiat Chrysler Over Excess Diesel Emissions 
The Justice Department is preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV if talks fail to resolve differences over the automaker's alleged violations of U.S. clean-air rules with its diesel vehicles, according to two people briefed on the matter. Automotive News reports that a lawsuit could be filed as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential matter. Negotiations are still ongoing and the parties may reach an agreement to avoid prolonged litigation. A suit would mark an escalation of the U.S. government's months-long inquiry and could expose the automaker to significant penalties. The suit being prepared alleges the company used illegal defeat devices, one of the people said. Such devices – software in computerized systems – improperly disable pollution controls to enhance performance. For more on a potential lawsuit over Fiat Chrysler’s excess diesel emissions, click here.

The Keys to Lamborghini's Future? Speed, Style, and SUVs 
Maurizio Reggiani, the director of research and development for storied Italian supercar builder Lamborghini, takes in the knife-edge lines of his latest creation, the $275,000 Huracan Performante. He is pleased. The future, these days, seems to be all about self-driving cars designed to completely detach the driver from the transportation experience. That robotic vision wouldn't appear to bode well for manufacturers of six-figure pleasure machines whose technology is aimed squarely at maximizing driver involvement. Yet in a wide-ranging conversation with USA Today, two executives explained why they believe roads filled with self-driving cars will benefit performance car companies such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche; why their company has yet to hop on the hybrid powertrain bandwagon; and why Volkswagen-owned Lamborghini is betting big on a forthcoming SUV called the Urus. For more, click here.

AutoNation's Maroone Comes Out of Retirement, Buys 4 Stores 
AutoNation Inc.'s former COO Mike Maroone is coming out of retirement to re-enter auto retail, reports Automotive News. Maroone, 63, who retired from AutoNation two years ago, has acquired four dealerships in Colorado Springs, Colo., from Serra Automotive Inc., of Grand Blanc, Mich. Combined, the stores sell about 6,500 new and used vehicles a year, said Joe Serra, president of Serra Automotive Inc. It's a "unique deal," said Serra, 57, because Serra will hold a minority stake in the stores. The stores in the transaction were formerly known as Front Range Honda, Al Serra Chevrolet North, Al Serra Chevrolet South, and Al Serra Volkswagen. The stores are being renamed Mike Maroone Honda, Mike Maroone Chevrolet North, Mike Maroone Chevrolet South, and Mike Maroone Volkswagen. For more, click here.

Around the Web

12 Hydrogen Cars in the Works [Business Insider

Jaguar Gives Us Our Best Look Yet at the XF Sportbrake Wagon [Autoblog

Over 1,700 Startups Are Disrupting the Auto Industry [Forbes

The Rise of the Android-Powered Car [The Verge