Articles

Ford Looks to Beat Toyota Hybrids

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Jim Hackett said Thursday he sees “upside” to the auto maker's longer-term 8% target for profit margins, citing progress on cost-cutting initiatives and an overhaul of product- development procedures.
 Mr. Hackett, nearing one year at the helm, said the company is emerging from an extended “think phase” during which about 10 top executives hammered out a series of strategic steps. “We're just going to run the company better,” Mr. Hackett said.

Tesla Faces Crunch As Cash Hoard Thins

SAN FRANCISCO—Tesla Inc. is entering one of the most critical phases in its history, a make-or-break period in which the electric-car maker must boost production of its new Model 3 or possibly face severe financial consequences.
 In April, Tesla will reveal whether it is on track to meet an ambitious second-quarter target of assembling 5,000 Model 3s a week—a goal that it already twice delayed. The Model 3 is Tesla's first mainstream offering, priced more affordably than its luxury models, and an important part of founder Elon Musk's strategy to broaden the brand's business.

Uber Car's Failure to Brake Puts Focus on Sensor

TEMPE, Ariz.—The roads north of Arizona State University are in many ways ideal for testing self-driving cars, with wide, clearly marked lanes and minimal traffic late at night, when the vehicle's laser sensors work best.
 The optimal conditions make it especially troubling that an Uber Technologies Inc. self-driving car plowed straight into and killed a pedestrian walking across a street here at night, without appearing to brake or veer, according to a video from the vehicle released by police Wednesday.

Role of Human 'Driver' Is Scrutinized in Uber Fatality

TEMPE, Ariz.—The test operator in the Uber Technologies Inc. self-driving car that killed an Arizona woman was a felon with a history of traffic citations who wasn't watching the road before the accident happened, facts that raise new questions about the company's testing process for autonomous technology.

Nafta Negotiators See Progress on Auto Rules

American, Canadian and Mexican officials are signaling they have cleared a roadblock on auto-industry issues that have been some of the thorniest in talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.
 U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer struck a conciliatory tone on Wednesday in testimony before Congress on the auto proposal, which includes the U.S. demand that a revised Nafta require light vehicles to contain 50% U.S. content to cross U.S. borders duty-free.

Electric-Car Startups Lure Big Talent

Deep-pocketed investors looking to create the next Tesla are turning to seasoned automotive executives for help making sense of the complicated and capital-intensive car business.
 A little-known Los Angeles electric-vehicle startup, EVelozcity, is the latest firm to lure big-name talent. The company, attracting commitments for $1 billion in funding since December, has hired Karl-Thomas Neumann, the former head of General Motors Co.'s European division, along with several former BMW AG executives.

Ford Takes Steps to Rein In Costs

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Jim Hackett spent his first year in the job hammering away on the need to cut costs, aiming to slash $14 billion by 2020 and prodding its 200,000 employees to get more financially “fit.”
 When Mr. Hackett took the post in May, he sought to jump-start Ford's response to a rapidly changing business in which auto makers are increasingly focusing on electric cars and autonomous vehicles. To find the money to finance such projects, the new CEO had to look for savings.

Will a Shortage of Cobalt Kill Electric-Vehicle Makers?

Wedged between iron and nickel on the periodic table, cobalt has suddenly emerged as the electric-car killer. The once-obscure metal, a critical part of batteries, has nearly tripled in price since last summer as concerns grow about whether there will be enough cobalt to meet demand.
 The ingredients for a shortage are there: Output is concentrated in the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo and refining is dominated by China. Demand is set to soar as companies from Tesla to Volkswagen ramp up production of electric vehicles.