Audi Shakes Up Leadership Ahead of New CEO's Arrival

First Up 11/26/19

Hakes Takes: Thankful
In a special Thanksgiving edition of Hakes Takes, Chairman Howard Hakes writes about what he’s grateful for this week. God, family, health, the sheer fun of politics, the joy of Alabama football, California weather, a perfectly cooked steak – there’s more in life to be grateful for than he could ever list, he writes. One of those items will always be the community of dealers I joined decades ago. I couldn’t possibly understand then what I was getting into, but knowing what I know now I’d absolutely do it all again. I am thankful for you, my fellow AIADA members – the dealers who do the heavy lifting when it comes to advocating for our industry in Washington, D.C. I don’t want to imagine what would happen to our stores without you. It’s because of you we fought off the BAT tax and it’s because of you we are able to take a firm stand against new tariffs on our products. So here’s to us: the luckiest men and women in America – the dealers. May you have a day of peace, joy, and gratitude on Thursday. And then, of course, a busy day of prosperity on Friday! Read the rest of Hakes Takes Thanksgiving blog post here. 

Audi Shakes Up Leadership Ahead of New CEO's Arrival
Audi named new finance, procurement, and personnel chiefs in a shakeup of its top management ahead of the arrival of its new CEO, Markus Duesmann, reports Automotive News. Audi "is realigning itself for the future," said Herbert Diess, who is the brand's chairman in addition to his role of CEO of Audi parent Volkswagen Group, said in a news release. Audi is struggling from the aftermath of its role in VW Group's emissions scandal, which led to the firing of long-term CEO Rupert Stader and several engineers. The brand's growth has also stalled – its global sales fell 1.2 percent to 1.51 million in the first 10 months of the year. Duesmann, 50, a former engine development expert and head of purchasing at BMW, is tasked with reviving Audi's reputation as a technology leader, including injecting new meaning into the company's advertising slogan "Vorsprung Durch Technik," or "advancement through technology." He will become Audi CEO on April  1. Read more here. 

Fiat Chrysler, PSA Tell Employees They Will Sign Merger Agreement in the Coming Weeks
Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-owner PSA told their employees they would sign a binding merger agreement in coming weeks. In two separate communications through internal channels, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, the two groups told employees that more than 50 people were involved in the process. FCA and PSA are in talks to finalize a merger that would create the world’s fourth-largest carmaker. Nine working groups were established, led by FCA Group Treasurer and Global Head of Business Development David Ostermann, and by PSA Executive Vice President Program and Strategy Olivier Bourges, the documents added. FCA Chariman John Elkann last week said he was not worried by a shock lawsuit from General Motors and that he was confident of reaching a binding merger deal with Peugeot owner PSA by the end of this year. Read more here. 

Global Car Sales Expected to Slide by 3.1 Million This Year
Global car sales are expected to fall by about 3.1 million in 2019, a bigger drop than in 2008, Fitch Ratings economics team said Monday, citing data collected by the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. The slowdown in auto sales is contributing to a drag on global manufacturing, Fitch said. “The downturn in the global car market since the middle of 2018 has been a key force behind the slump in global manufacturing and the car sales picture is turning out a lot worse than we expected back in May,” Brian Coulton, chief economist at Fitch Ratings, said in a statement. According to CNBC, global passenger car sales fell to 80.6 million in 2018 from 81.8 million new units sold in 2017, which was the first annual decline since 2009, Fitch said. Worldwide sales in 2019 look likely to fall by another 4% to around 77.5 million new vehicle sales. Falling demand in China, the world’s largest auto market, is a major factor in the worldwide decline this year. Sales there fell 11% during the first 10 months of this year compared with the same time last year. Read more here.

Tesla Logs 200,000 Pre-Orders for New Cybertruck
Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk watched shares of the company drop like a stone in trading after he rolled out the uniquely designed Cybertruck last Thursday. According to The Detroit Bureau, initial reaction to the wedged-shaped truck was not positive; however, ever the salesman, Musk has been hyping the new machine since it debuted. The result has been more than 200,000 orders for the new truck since Thursday night. Additionally, the company’s stock has risen 4% on Monday on the news and people have had time to digest the new truck. Shares of Tesla were last up 1% at $336.34 after touching a high of $344.57. Musk has provided some running insights about the early pre-orders of Cybertruck. With three-quarters of the 200K orders placed, the pre-orders have been looking to upgrade in the power department from the $39,900 entry-level model. He noted that the orders were “42% choosing dual, 41% tri & 17% single motor.” Read more here.

Beltway Talk Podcast: Q&A with Toyota's Director of Public Policy Communications
In this latest Beltway Talk we take the opportunity to pick the brain of Ed Lewis, Director of Public Policy Communications at Toyota. Ed gives us an update on Toyota’s activity in Washington, D.C., and discusses trade, fuel regulations, and why Toyota’s dealers are so critical to their mission as a company. Listen in and subscribe by clicking here. 

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