Trump Administration Shifts Course on Weakening Auto Standards

First Up 11/01/19

Trump Administration Shifts Course on Weakening Auto Standards
The Trump administration is planning to require automakers to modestly bolster fuel economy and pare tailpipe emissions after 2020, a reversal from its earlier proposal to freeze requirements through 2026, reports The Los Angeles Times. Administration officials have tentatively agreed to the change. At issue is a proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department to dramatically ease federal automobile greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards that had previously been coordinated with California. Under the administration measure proposed last year, those requirements would have been frozen at a 37-mile-per-gallon fleetwide average after 2020, rather than increasing to roughly 50 mpg by 2025 under current regulations. Administration officials now plan to require 1.5% annual increases in fleetwide efficiency of new autos. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has telegraphed the shift, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday evening, repeatedly saying the final plan will not look exactly like the original one advanced in August 2018. Read more here. 

Mazda Bounces Back to Black as Better Mix Offsets Slipping Volume
Mazda bounced back to profit in the latest quarter, as earnings from a richer mix of higher-margin products and scaled-back incentives offset slipping unit sales, reports Automotive News. The results showed a gradual improvement based on the automaker's strategy of expanding the price band of its offerings and rolling out more upscale features. In its earnings report, Mazda said on Friday that it booked an operating profit of 18.8 billion yen ($174.2 million) in the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30, reversing a year-earlier loss. Net income more than tripled to 11.4 billion yen ($10.6 million) in the three months. Revenue held flat at 857.7 billion yen ($7.9 billion) in the period, as worldwide retail sales declined 4 percent to 378,000 units, losing ground in North America and China. Read more here. 

Nissan Names CFO, Shuffles Executives as New CEO Takes Over
Nissan Motor Co. unveiled the responsibilities of its new top managers, appointing a new chief financial officer and making other executive moves as the Japanese automaker seeks to turn a new page almost a year since the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. According to Bloomberg, Stephen Ma, corporate controller and former chief financial officer of Nissan’s China joint venture, will take over as CFO from Hiroshi Karube, the Yokohama-based company said in a statement Friday. Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Makoto Uchida will formally join the board, taking over from Dec. 1. Nissan overhauled its top management a month ago, adopting a collective-style leadership aimed at moving past the outsized influence that Ghosn was seen to have had over Nissan and its alliance with top shareholder Renault SA. Ashwani Gupta was appointed chief operating officer, and Jun Seki as deputy COO. Read more here. 

U.S. Consumers Stay on a Spending Streak
Households increased spending heading into the fourth quarter, suggesting consumers have continued to help prop up U.S. economic growth, reports The Wall Street Journal. Personal-consumption expenditures, or household spending, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in September from August, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Outlays rose at a similar pace in August after growing more briskly in the first half of 2019. Consumers are helping lift the economy while manufacturing and business investment falter. They are, however, spending at a less robust pace than last year, aligning with a broader slowdown in economic growth that economists expect to continue. A modest rise in labor costs also helped keep U.S. inflation low in September, suggesting a pickup in prices over the summer might have been short-lived. Read more here (subscription required). 

Feds Charge 12th Person in Ongoing Corruption Probe into UAW
The scope of an ongoing federal corruption probe into the United Auto Workers continues to widen as the union attempts to solidify new labor contracts with the Detroit automakers, reports CNBC. Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Edward Robinson, a union official with ties to UAW President Gary Jones, with conspiracy to embezzle union funds and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Both are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. Robinson, who led a regional UAW community action program council where Jones served as director, is accused of conspiring with union leaders to “embezzle, steal, and unlawfully and willfully abstract” more than $1.5 million in cash and assets for personal gain to fuel “lavish lifestyles,” according to a new criminal filing. Jones and his predecessor, UAW President Dennis Williams, have been targeted by federal officials as part of the investigation, including raids on their homes in August, but have not been charged with any crimes. Read more here. 

Around the Web

10 Cool Cars from Peugeot's Lineup We'd Like to See in the U.S. [Autoblog]

2021 Car Revealed as FIA and F1 Present Regs for the Future []

My Brother Needs an Idiot Proof Car for Under $5K [Jalopnik]

Ford-UAW Deal Includes $9K Bonus, Plan to Close Romeo Plant [The Detroit News]