Newsflash: Hyundai stijgt met stip als fabrikant van elektrische auto’s

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+++ BMWKorea has virtually won a lawsuit against the over 60 billion won ($51.7 million) fine imposed by the government over the auto company’s gas emission verification, sources said. In September, the Supreme Court of Korea convicted BMW Korea of illegally skipping the compulsory gas emission verification process and forging related documents in the period of 2012-2017, leading to the government’s imposition of a 62.7 billion won fine on the company. Protesting the decision, BMW Korea filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Environment, demanding the hefty fine be nullified. Delivering a ruling on the case, the Seoul Administrative Court recently ruled in favor of BMW Korea, saying the government incorrectly applied a law in the imposition of the fine, according to the legal sources. The latest ruling ordered the Environment Ministry to cancel a 58.3 billion won fine imposed over BMW Korea’s paper forgery for the gas emission certification of 28 auto models. But the court upheld the remaining 4.4 billion won fine, which was imposed for skipping the necessary process to have the Korean government verify changes in the gas emission specification of 3 other auto models. The administrative court pointed out that the Environment Ministry incorrectly applied the outdated Clean Air Conservation Act’s ban on “the production of sales of cars without a [gas emission] verification”, while BMW Korea was convicted of “illegally winning gas emission verification”. The court also stressed that the Clean Air Conservation Act was revised in 2016 to empower the government to impose fines on companies that win gas emission certifications through illegal methods. +++ 

+++ Ousted Nissan boss Carlos GHOSN said he had fled to Lebanon to escape a “rigged” justice system in Japan, raising questions about how one of the world’s most-recognized executives had slipped away while on bail. Ghosn’s abrupt departure marks the latest twist in a year-old saga that has shaken the global auto industry, jeopardised the alliance of Nissan and Renault and increased scrutiny of Japan’s judicial system. “I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied”, Ghosn, 65, said in a brief statement. “I have not fled justice. I have escaped injustice and political persecution. I can now finally communicate freely with the media and look forward to starting next week”. Tokyo officials have previously said the system is not inhumane and that Ghosn, who is facing trial on financial misconduct charges he denies, has been treated like any other suspect. It was unclear how Ghosn, who holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship, was able to orchestrate his departure from Japan. He had been under strict surveillance by authorities while out on bail and had surrendered his passports. According to a senior Lebanese foreign ministry source, Ghosn entered Lebanon legally on a French passport and using his Lebanese ID with normal security procedures. People familiar with the matter told he had arrived in Beirut on a private jet from Istanbul. The French and Lebanese foreign ministries both said they were unaware of the circumstances of his journey. “All discussion of it is his private matter”, the Lebanese ministry added. Lebanon’s state security directorate said Ghosn will not face any legal consequences for the way he entered the country. The foreign ministry said Lebanon did not have a judicial cooperation agreement with Japan. Japanese authorities had no record of Ghosn leaving. A person resembling him entered Beirut international airport under a different name, NHK reported, citing an unidentified Lebanese security official. His lawyers were still in possession of his 3 passports, one of his lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters. Hironaka said the first he had heard of Ghosn’s departure was on the news and that he was surprised. He also said it was “inexcusable behaviour”. Japan has extradition treaties with only the United States and South Korea, according to the justice ministry, meaning it could be difficult to force Ghosn to return to stand trial. While his arrest on financial misconduct charges last year ensured a dramatic fall from grace in Japan, he retains more popularity in Lebanon, where billboards saying “We are all Carlos Ghosn” were erected in his support and he was previously featured on a postage stamp. Born in Brazil of Lebanese ancestry, Ghosn grew up in Beirut and has retained close ties to Lebanon. At Ghosn’s gated villa in the Achrafieh neighborhood of Beirut, a handful of police and private security personnel stood guard. A man who identified himself only as his English neighbour walked by to leave a card, with the words “Carlos, welcome home!” written inside. It was not immediately clear if Ghosn was at the address. “It’s a good thing that at last he’s out of being locked up for something which he may or may not, probably not, have done”, said the neighbour. A French minister said before the report Ghosn used a French passport that she was “very surprised” by news of his emergence in Lebanon. Ghosn was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018, shortly after his private jet touched down at the airport. He faces 4 charges (which he denies) including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to dealerships in the Middle East. Nissan sacked him as chairman saying internal investigations revealed misconduct including understating his salary while he was its chief executive, and transferring $5 million of Nissan funds to an account in which he had an interest. The case sparked international criticism of Japan’s justice system, in which 99.9 % of people charged with crimes are convicted and defence lawyers are prohibited from being present during interrogations that can last 8 hours a day. Ghosn was initially released in March on a record $9 million bail only to be arrested on related charges weeks later and then released on bail again at the end of April. His movement and communications have been monitored and restricted to prevent his fleeing the country and tampering with evidence, the Tokyo District court previously said. The terms of his bail have also been striking by Western standards. He has been prevented from communicating with his wife, Carole, and had his use of the internet and other communications curtailed. Carole is now with him in Lebanon at a house with armed guards outside. Ghosn did not believe he would get a fair trial in Japan and was “tired of being an industrial political hostage”, one person told. A person familiar with Nissan’s thinking told: “I think he gave up fighting the prosecutors in court”. The trial was widely expected to start in April. Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers have fought, so far unsuccessfully, to get access to 6.000 pieces of evidence collected from Nissan, which they say is crucial to a fair trial. Ghosn has said he is the victim of a boardroom coup, accusing former Nissan colleagues of “backstabbing” and describing them as selfish rivals bent on derailing closer ties between the Japanese automaker and its biggest shareholder Renault, of which Ghosn was also chairman. His lawyers have asked the court to dismiss all charges, accusing prosecutors of colluding with government officials and Nissan executives to oust him to block any takeover by Renault. Ghosn began his career in 1978 at tyre maker Michelin. In 1996, he moved to Renault where he oversaw a turnaround that won him the nickname “Le Cost Killer”. After Renault sealed an alliance with Nissan in 1999, Ghosn used similar methods to revive the ailing brand, leading to business super-star status in Japan, blanket media coverage and even a manga comic book on his life. +++ 

+++ The HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP ’s bet on electric cars seems to have been a good one, as data showed that the group has the third-biggest market share in the segment. According to IHS Markit, the combined market share of Hyundai and Kia in the global electric vehicle (EV) market reached 7 % by the end of November, coming in third after Tesla with 19 % and China’s BYD with 11 %. By the end of November, the Hyundai Motor Group sold a total of 129.950 EVs; up 40 % from the 90.860 units it sold throughout 2018. During the same period, the group sold 22.798 units in South Korea and 107.152 in overseas markets. The companies are actually tied for third place with 2 other groups. The BMW Group and the Renault -Nissan – Mitsubishi (RNM) alliance also have a 7 % market share. They each sold more than 500.000 EVs, including pure EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrid models, though November. Last year was a big one for the Hyundai Motor Group, as it was the first year it entered the top 10 list of global EV makers. In 2017, the automaker group wasn’t even close to getting on that list. In 2018, the Hyundai Motor Group came in 8th place, with a 5 % market share for global EV sales, behind Tesla, BYD, the RNM alliance, BAIC, the BMW Group, SAIC Motor and Geely. Such a dramatic leap into the global EV market may mean that the company’s aggressive bet and large investment in future vehicles paid off. In early 2018, the group announced it will invest 23 trillion won ($20 billion) in 5 new industries including EVs, artificial intelligence and robotics to keep up with changing industrial trends and tightening environment regulations around the world. Since 2017, 12 countries, including France, Britain, Sweden and China, have announced they will ban fossil fuel vehicles from being operated in their countries by 2050 at the latest. In light of this regulatory reality, the Hyundai Motor Group introduced a total of 8 electric vehicles in the global market since last year (4 from Hyundai and another 4 from Kia). In China, the automaker group introduced 4 EV models exclusively for the Chinese market, the Ioniq, Kona, Soul and Niro EVs. The latest data show that the Hyundai Motor Group’s EV sales increased in major markets like the United States and Europe. Its stake in the European EV market reached 13 %, following after Tesla (18 %), the RNM alliance (16 %) and the BMW Group (14 %). The company says that the next 5 years are key to deciding its future in the advanced vehicle market, while the industry views 2020 as the tipping point for EVs. Some countries are pushing for new regulations and limitations on fossil fuel vehicles, forcing global automakers to come up with eco-friendly mobility strategies. Starting next year, the European Union will take the limit on average carbon dioxide emissions from 130 grams per kilometer to 95 grams for all automakers that operate in the grouping. Facing the regulatory shift, Volkswagen Group moved up its timeline to produce 1 million EVs from 2025 to 2023. Toyota is seeking to provide EV versions for all of its offerings by 2025, starting with the release of 6 purely electric cars. As for the Hyundai Motor Group, the goal is to reach 670.000 units in battery and fuel-cell EV sales per year to rank within the top 3 manufacturers in the sectors globally by 2025. +++ 

+++ Carlos Ghosn, the former automotive titan facing trial for financial crimes, fled to Lebanon to escape what he called JAPAN ’s “rigged” justice system. The dramatic exit followed Ghosn’s equally surprise arrest just over a year ago in Tokyo on charges of financial misconduct. Lebanon, where the former head of Nissan and Renault grew up and has citizenship, provides legal protection against extradition. “I have not fled justice”, Ghosn said in an emailed statement. “I have escaped injustice and political persecution”. How he got to Lebanon is unclear: Ghosn’s lawyer says all his passports were confiscated and he was under constant surveillance. Lebanese media reported that he arrived on a private jet from Turkey, and the newspaper Annahar cited caretaker State Minister Salim Jreissati as saying the executive entered with a French passport. Ghosn, 65, says he’s the victim of a conspiracy among Nissan executives, prosecutors and government officials to prevent him from further integrating the company with Renault. He was to be tried for what prosecutors and his former colleagues at Nissan called a pervasive pattern of financial misconduct and raiding of corporate resources for personal gain. Ghosn denies those allegations. Ghosn’s strict bail terms were designed to prevent him from absconding. He couldn’t spend more than 1 night away from his house without a judge’s permission. A video camera was trained on his front door and at the end of each month, Ghosn was required to provide a list of everyone he had met. Other than a 1 hour video conference in November and another over Christmas, Ghosn wasn’t allowed to see or speak to his wife, Carole. She told Bloomberg Television last month that Ghosn should face trial in France. The executive has French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship. “Ghosn has turned into a fugitive from a suspect”, said Koji Endo, an analyst at SBI Securities in Tokyo. He will “probably never return to Japan”, and if he did, he would be arrested immediately. Ghosn’s attorney, Junichiro Hironaka, said in televised comments that the first he heard of his client’s escape was the TV news. No one answered the phone at the Tokyo prosecutor’s office, the Tokyo district court or the immigration bureau of Japan and nobody was available to comment at the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Foreign Ministry declined to comment, and a Nissan representative said the company had no comment. Japan has a national holiday. “I am very surprised”, French junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told. Later in an interview she said Ghosn “is not above the law”. The office of the president declined to comment on the matter and other officials weren’t immediately available for comment. Beating a criminal charge in Japan is almost impossible. Courts there have a conviction rate close to 100 % as Japanese prosecutors can wield a range of procedural advantages unavailable to their counterparts in Western systems. In many cases, the prosecution can introduce evidence obtained without a proper warrant. Japanese prosecutors and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission both claim Ghosn and Nissan violated pay-disclosure rules, receiving $140 million more compensation than the company reported to shareholders. The executive also faces breach-of-trust charges related to transactions that transferred personal investment losses to Nissan, and that moved money from a dealership in Oman into a company he controls in Lebanon. Ghosn, a globetrotter who for years was a fixture at events for the rich and famous (including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland) was released on bail in April on condition that he lived at a registered address and not leave Japan. The executive was tailed by unmarked sedans around Tokyo. At parks or in restaurants, he would be followed on foot. Ghosn was born in Brazil and raised in Lebanon, where he has investments in real estate and vineyards and continues to be viewed as a business icon. Lebanon’s ambassador to Japan bought a mattress for Ghosn’s cell in December 2018 and pushed to have him moved from solitary confinement. Hady Hachem, the chief of cabinet of the minister of foreign affairs, said at the time that the government was also demanding that its citizen be allowed to contact his family and was making sure he had proper legal representation. At Ghosn’s house in an affluent Beirut neighborhood, there were no security guards present and the windows were open. A shop owner across the street said he didn’t think Ghosn was there, adding he didn’t know what had happened until he saw photographers outside the house. Ghosn’s escape still leaves another ex-Nissan board member, Greg Kelly, facing trial in Japan. “We are studying the implications and don’t believe Mr. Kelly should have been indicted to begin with”, said James Wareham, a Washington-based attorney for Kelly. Kelly was taken into custody at almost the same time as Ghosn, indicted for allegedly helping the car titan under-report his compensation, and then freed on bail in December 2018. Kelly has denied breaking the law. +++ 

+++ The sales of SUVs in Europe by South Korea’s top 2 carmakers, Hyundai and KIA , may hit a record high, probably surpassing the 500.000 unit mark, aided by its diversified portfolio and strong demand, industry sources said. According to the sources, the 2 carmakers have sold some 460.000 SUVs in the European market through November, already nearing last year’s 467.550 units in total. Should the pace be maintained, their annual sales of SUVs in Europe will top the 500.000 mark this year, the sources said. Their auto sales in the region are also expected to top the 1 million mark for the third consecutive year. Their overall vehicle sales there were tallied at 965.690 in the January-November period, according to the sources. +++ 

+++ One of the lead LAWYERS for indicted former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn says he is “surprised” and “perplexed” by his client’s sudden flight from Japan to Lebanon. Ghosn attorney Junichiro Hironaka also told Japanese reporters that he was holding Ghosn’s passports under the conditions of his bail and would never secretly hand them over. “I don’t know any more than what has been reported by the media. It came as a total surprise, and I am myself perplexed”, said Hironaka, a high-flying defense attorney who earned the nickname “The Razor” for his effectiveness in clearing his clients. Ghosn, 65, stunned Japan by bolting bail and returning to Lebanon where he holds citizenship, has business interests and is lionized as a kind of folk hero for his accomplishments in global business. Ghosn had been awaiting trial in Tokyo for alleged financial misconduct during his time at the helm of Nissan and faced years in prison if convicted. “I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold”, Ghosn said. Ghosn’s strict bail conditions kept him under tight surveillance and barred him from international travel. In order to win Ghosn’s release from jail (after 108 days of lockup) Hironaka took the unorthodox measure of vouching as Ghosn’s personal guarantor until trial. That included being the custodian of Ghosn’s passports. Hironaka said Ghosn’s defense team will tell the court that it is also very troubled by Ghosn’s escape. He said he expects to share information with the court if more facts come to light. Ghosn may have to forfeit 1.5 billion yen ($13.8 million) in bail money for leaving Japan. The sense of confusion in Japan is amplified by the timing of Ghosn’s decamp. It came as the country heads into its extended New Year’s holiday, when most government offices and business are shut down for days and people head out on vacation. Ghosn was initially arrested on November 19, 2018 in Tokyo on allegations of financial improprieties while chairman of Nissan. He has been indicted on 4 counts in Japan. The first 2 are charges of failing to disclose tens of millions of dollars in deferred compensation. The 2 other counts are breach of trust charges that accuse Ghosn of diverting company money for personal gain. Ghosn, who denies the entire slate of charges, faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 150 million yen ($1.4 million) if convicted on all four counts. +++ 

+++ MAZDA informed the transport ministry Thursday that it will recall a total of 17.367 units of its 3 and CX-30 models. According to the ministry, their engines may halt at low driving speeds due to a glitch in the engine control computer program. The engines may also fail to restart after idle reduction. So far, 24 such problems have been reported, according to the automaker. The recall covers 3 and CX-30 cars made between March and November. Mazda also notified the ministry of a free repair campaign for 24.750 Mazda 3 and CX-30 cars made between March and October over a flawed computer program for their automatic braking systems. +++ 

+++ China’s Chongqing Changan Automobile has agreed to sell its 1.63 billion yuan ($234.22 million) stake in a joint venture with PEUGEOT SA ( PSA ) to a subsidiary of Baoneng, the company said in a statement. The 8 year old joint venture, Shenzhen-based, builds cars under PSA’s premium DS brand and has struggled with falling sales. Shenzhen Qianhai Ruizhi Investment, the Baoneng subsidiary, has paid the first installment for the deal, the statement said. A spokesman for PSA also confirmed that the French carmaker would sell its stake to the Baoneng subsidiary. +++ 

+++ POLESTAR , Volvo’s stand-alone brand for electrified models, will launch its first car later this year. One goal of the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid is to highlight the benefits of electric propulsion without asking customers to entirely give up on the internal combustion engine. Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath discussed this as well as the brand’s plan to offer a fully autonomous mobility solution in the future. When asked why Polestar’s debut model was the 1 plug-in hybrid, unlike Tesla and other companies that will only offer full-electric cars, Ingenlath said: “Where we might be different from other e-companies is that we acknowledge the plug-in hybrid is actually a great technology for a very simple reason. We have to understand that for a lot of people it’s not easy to switch to an electric drivetrain from one day to the next. The hybrid definitely is a great way to experience electric propulsion. This goes beyond any environmental question. It is actually the modern way of driving”. When asked why predictions about fully autonomous cars were so wrong (a few years ago, the media were told that they would be on the road by 2020, but that won’t happen), Ingenlath said: “You always have these phases where there is this incredible euphoria about a new technology with a lot of hype and things move very fast. Then, naturally, like with all emotional journeys in life, you reach a point where you really know what to expect. You also acknowledge a certain speed of development that you have to except. And that, of course, is a slower one. The sector has not stalled. A lot has happened. Today, I’m lucky enough to drive in a lot of cars that have pilot assist functionality, which you indeed get used to. It becomes a natural part of your driving. And when I switch back to a car that doesn’t have it I’m actually a bit surprised and a little scared because the car is not helping me as much as I had gotten used to. I definitely see how much, bit by bit, that becomes part of your driving and in a very nice way. That will be the journey ahead. These systems will become so much more clever and supportive. I don’t care when fully autonomous cars will debut. Will it be the year 2024, 25 or 26 when we might see the first fully autonomous robotaxi that I can enter and there’s no driver in it? It’s not the big relevant question anymore. It’s a product that we will also be delivering to our customers in the future. Together with our partners, we will have cars with redundant systems that will enable them to be part of a mobility network so you do not have to drive in a neutral, anonymous, public transport environment. There will be a mobility offer that is highly personalized and very luxurious in Polestar cars. We will embrace shared mobility but not in terms of big groups. You would use the service during a certain time of the day in the town and then you would give it back. That will definitely become part of our mobility, but it’s a very difficult thing for everybody to imagine right now. Something that has been experienced by a lot of rich people, this kind of limousine service with a chauffeur driving you from A to B, will be more democratized. With this type of shared mobility, you will have a really luxurious, personalized experience that is the opposite to public transport or taking a taxi because sometimes you are happy to be on your own. +++ 

+++ Even though the local automobile market is declining in terms of unit sales, SUV cars are rising to take a greater proportion of the total this year as Korean consumers and automakers favor the larger vehicles. As of the end of November, a total of 1.39 million cars were sold this year, 1.17 million by local automakers and 214,708 as imports. The total number for 2019 is expected to be lower than 1.56 million units in total sales posted in 2018, following the global trend of declining automobile sales. Despite the sales decline, domestic and foreign auto brands still released a similar number of new cars compared with last year, including face-lifted models, to target local consumers. Between November last year and October this year, 100 new vehicles were introduced in Korea, and of the 20 models that revealed sales targets, more than half, or 11 of them, reached their goals. They enjoyed the so-called “new car” effect and broke their sales goals within the first year of their releases. “Most of the cars start collecting demand with pre-sales and more before officially launching, so the new car effect is on for around 6 months after release”, said Kim Pil-soo, an automotive engineering professor at Daelim University. And of those 11 models that can safely be called successes, 8 were SUVs, showing that the vehicle type represents the dominant trend of the local and global automobile industries. According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, 44.2 % of all vehicles sold in the first half were SUVs, coming close to sedans at 51.4 %. As the general popularity of SUVs has risen, a wide range of shapes and forms are on offer. While midsize SUVs achieved record sales last year, this year served as a turning point for small-size and large-size models as well. The proportion of all SUV sales that were midsize SUVs between January and October dropped to 35 % from 43.2 % during the same period last year. The proportion for large-size SUVs went from 24.8 % to 25.6 % and the rate for small SUVs rose from 32 % to 38.9 %. Hyundai’s Palisade led the large-size segment, while Kia’s Seltos led the small-size market. Hyundai revised its yearly sales target from 25.000 to 40.000 for the Palisade after achieving unexpected success. Kia, which recorded the most sales compared to goals, sold 27.200 units of the Seltos in the first 4 months following release, even though the automaker set 3.000 as the monthly target for the small-size SUV. Following the popularity, Kia revised the sales target to 5.000 units per month. Models like those helped the Hyundai Motor Group retain a 67.7 % market share in the local auto market this year, up 2.5 percentage points from 65.2 % last year. The largest automaker group in Korea saw its dominance continue in the country as other local automakers and importers struggled. Of the 11 new cars that hit their yearly goals, 6 of them were from Hyundai and Kia. The 2 sibling automakers could enjoy relative success in the local market as German and Japanese automakers struggled on the Korean front. Between January and November this year, Hyundai and Kia sold a total of 935.205 passenger vehicles. “Hyundai and Kia expanded their reach in the local auto market with aggressive new car lineups”, said Lee Hang-koo, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade. “Renault Samsung Motors, GM Korea and SsangYong Motor could not launch full-change models, and import automakers also struggled from difficulties in earning certifications”. Sedans also played a role in boosting Hyundai Motor Group’s sales. The 8th generation Sonata launched in March already broke its yearly sales target of 70.000, as 58.567 units were sold in the last 8 months. If the predecessor model is included, the total is 91.431 units. It is already selling better than the previous record holder, the Grandeur, in which 90.179 units were sold so far this year. The facelifted Kia K7, which was unveiled in June, is also doing well. A total of 38.112 units were sold, and the lineup’s yearly sales target is 50.000. But it’s not that every car that came to the market this year was a success. Kia vowed to sell more than 20.000 units of the third generation Soul per year when launched in January, but over the past 11 months, only 5.321 units were sold, just 29 % of the yearly target. SsangYong’s Korando, which comes in gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas models, could only reach half of what the automaker had planned for the year. “The price level was simply too high compared to what customers expected”, an industry source said. In the import auto market, Japanese auto brands suffered from continued diplomatic and trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo. As Koreans continued their boycott of Japanese goods, Japanese car sales plummeted in Korea. Toyota launched the RAV4 and Honda launched the face-lifted version of Pilot midsize SUV, but neither model could reach their sales goals. Although 841 units of the Lexus UX were sold in the first 4 months since release in March, the monthly number collapsed below 50 units a month since July. As a result, 2019 sales for Toyota and Lexus dropped 3.5 % and 35.8 % on year, respectively. During the same period, Nissan’s sales nosedived 41 %, while Infiniti suffered the least with a 2 % drop. +++ 

+++ A TESLA Model 3 being tested by Car and Driver suffered a weird “catastrophic failure” on Christmas day while it was parked, the publication details. While parked in suburban Detroit for a Christmas gathering, Car and Driver staff photographer Michael Simari received a push-notification on his phone that read “Your car suffered a failure and will no longer drive. Contact Tesla Roadside for assistance”. At the time of the notification, the long-term Model 3 had just 5.286 miles (8.506 km) on the clock. Simari got in contact with Tesla Roadside and approximately 30 minutes later, a tow truck arrived, taking the car to the closest service center in Toledo, Ohio. Tesla has failed to offer the Car and Driver staffer a loaner vehicle while the Model 3 is in the shop nor any kind of temporary transportation like Uber rides. On December 26th, Tesla revealed that the Model 3 was in the queue to be diagnosed and 2 days later it was confirmed that there are issues with the rear-drive unit, the pyrotechnic battery disconnect and the 12 volt battery. No estimated time has been given for when the car could be fixed. What’s weird about the failure is that it happened out of the blue and while the car was parked. The publication says the only odd thing it noticed with the electric sedan was that earlier in the day, it was only charging at 50 kW at a nearby Supercharger rather than its normal 150 kW peak. The most recent 2019.40.50.1 software update hadn’t been downloaded or installed. The publication says it will follow up its story as it gets more information. +++ 

+++ TURKEY revealed the first prototypes of their ‘domestic car’project, an electric compact SUV and a sedan, in a ceremony attended by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Designed by Italian studio Pininfarina, the 2 fully-electric prototypes will be manufactured domestically by Turkey’s Automobile Joint Venture Group or TOGG, which comprises of 5 companies and a business umbrella organization. One appears to be a compact sedan whereas the other one has already been confirmed to be a C-segment SUV that’s due out in 2022. There are 2 electric motor configurations with 200 hp or 400 hp, according to TOGG boss Gürcan Karakaş. The version with the bigger battery is claimed to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, while offering a range of more than 500 km. As for the battery, it can be re-charged to 80 % in under 30 minutes. The 200 hp versions come with rear wheel drive and a single e-motor, while the 400 hp models will feature a second e-motor on the front axle and all-wheel drive. Unlike the latter, the less powerful car will need 7.6 seconds to hit 100 km/h and will have a range of at least 300 km. It’s still however unclear which model these figures belong to, with TOGG not saying if the specs apply to just the SUV, the sedan or both. “Today, we are witnessing a historic day of realizing Turkey’s 60-year dream together”, said president Erdoğan during the unveiling ceremony. “We do not have to buy a license or permission from anyone, we determine all the technical features by ourselves”, he added. These prototypes represent Turkey’s second-ever effort to produce its own car, the first one taking place back in 1961 with the Devrim, which never made it past the prototype stage. “They managed to hinder the production of Devrim, but they will not be able to hinder this automobile”, added the country’s president, while emphasizing that Turkey “is not only a market for new technologies but has also become a country that develops, produces and exports them all over the world”. In terms of styling, since these are Pininfarina-designed products, I can’t help but feel as though the design language isn’t much of a novelty; not that that’s an issue. Both models appear quite decent-looking, to say the least. The SUV’s front fascia actually shares some of the design language found on other Pininfarina-designed concepts such as HKG’s K350 crossover or Vietnam’s VinFast crossover. Meanwhile, the sedan features a simple yet modern profile, with Tesla-like rear hunches. Both vehicles come with flush door handles and mirror cameras. Once in production, the cars are said to offer Level 2 autonomous features such as a “Slow Traffic Pilot” and will eventually move up to Level 3 and beyond thanks to a connected architecture offering over-the-air upgrades. That’s not all though. Not only will these cars take advantage of advancements in 5G technology, but they will also feature something called “Holographic Assistant”, which according to the joint venture group is a system that uses eye tracking algorithms and holographic 3D imaging to provide a futuristic user experience. “Holographic Assistant technology will transform the in-car experience completely by replacing the 2-dimensional display technologies currently used in cars with 3D imaging and augmented reality technologies”. What this means is that presumably, the driver will be able to see the information on the display without taking his or her eyes off the road. TOGG actually wants to be the first carmaker to offer this innovative on-board tech. Turkey’s first ever car will be built at a new factory in the Gemlik district of the northwestern Bursa province, with TOGG aiming to produce up to five models by the year 2030. +++ 

+++ Carlos Ghosn’s stunning escape from Japan makes him one of the most famous WHITE COLLAR FUGITIVES in recent years, joining the likes of Malaysian businessman Jho Low and Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya. The former head of Nissan and Renault, who was facing trial in Japan for financial crimes, defended the move by saying in a statement that he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system”. It’s unclear how Ghosn escaped as he’s been under house arrest and close surveillance since being granted bail in April following his initial arrest in November 2018. He’s a citizen of Lebanon, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan, and is held in high esteem there. He also holds Brazilian and French citizenship. Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said his legal team has all of his passports, adding that it’s likely he entered Lebanon using a different name. Here’s a look at some high-profile fugitives from the business world in recent years. Malaysia is still trying to bring in Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, the alleged mastermind behind the siphoning of billions of dollars from state-owned investment fund 1MDB. The scandal led to Prime Minister Najib Razak losing a 2018 election, ending 61 years of his party’s rule, and has entangled individuals and businesses far and wide, including Goldman Sachs Group. Malaysian authorities last week complained about a lack of cooperation from other countries in their search for Jho Low. In September, Inspector General Abdul Hamid Bador said the financier was in a jurisdiction that has an extradition treaty with Malaysia and talks were being held with a party suspected of protecting him. Jerome Kerviel was sentenced to a brief stint in jail in one of the biggest rogue-trading cases in history, but not before he paid a trip to Italy and met Pope Francis at the Vatican. He then set off on a three-month walk back to France, where he was taken into custody at the border. He ended up serving just 114 days behind bars. Vijay Mallya, the so-called King of Good Times, has been subject to extradition efforts by Indian authorities for years. Mallya is based in London, where this month he was taken to court by a dozen state-owned Indian banks petitioning for him to be declared bankrupt over 1.15 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in unpaid debts. Mallya’s business interests stretched from liquor to motor racing to airlines. He was the founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. +++

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