Articles

Why We Find Self-Driving Cars So Scary

TESLA CEO Elon Musk recently took the press to task, decrying the “holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie.” That, he said, is “why the public no longer respects them.”
 Mr. Musk's frustration is fueled in part by widespread media attention to accidents involving Tesla's self-driving “autopilot” feature. On the company's most recent earnings call, he said that “there's over one million… automotive deaths per year. And how many do you read about? Basically, none of them…but, if it's an autonomous situation, it's headline news…. So they write inflammatory headlines that are fundamentally misleading to the readers. It's really outrageous.”

Fiat Chrysler Bets on Trucks, Tech

BALOCCO, Italy—Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Friday presented a five-year vision for the company that embraces the two biggest trends in the industry—meeting demand for SUVs and trucks and investing in future technologies such as electric powered and self-driving cars.
 If its plan pans out, the auto maker expects to double operating profit to €16 billion ($18.71 billion) by 2022 and hit double-digit profit margins, compared with 6.8% today.

Lamborghini's Guide to Genius: Get Out of the Way

At the Geneva Motor Show in 1971, an Italian industrialist named Ferruccio Lamborghini unveiled a new sports car his company hoped to build. Then something remarkable happened.
 Frantic onlookers began mobbing the yellow prototype—banging elbows to get a better view. Three years later, when it went on sale, the automotive press couldn't believe their stopwatches. Not only was this the most breathtakingly futuristic rolling sculpture anyone had ever seen—but it also was the fastest production car they'd ever tested.

Fiat Chrysler sets out to treble profits in a changing industry

Ambulances were called to Amazon's UK warehouses 600 times in the past three years, according to an investigation by the GMB union into working practices at the ecommerce giant's fulfilment centres.
 Amazon's 14UKwarehouses have been the subject of long-running concerns about working conditions. Freedom of information requests made by the GMB to ambulance services near the centres showed hundreds of calls for medical help in recent years.

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.