Amazon announces plans to create more than 100,000 US chores

Online retailer prepares to expand full-time US workforce by more than 50% over next 18 months, with hires from Florida to California

Amazon plans to create more than 100,000 jobs in the United States, from software growth to warehouse run, becoming the latest company to boast a hire spree since Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November.

The worlds largest online retailer announced on Thursday that it would grow its full-time US workforce by more than 50% to more than 280,000 in the next 18 months.

Amazon is expending heavily on new warehouses in order to be allowed to stock goods closer to customers and fulfill orders quickly and inexpensively. The new hires, from Florida to Texas to California, will be key to the companys promise of two-day shipping in the membership of its Amazon Prime shopping club, which has given it an edge over rivals.

A BGC Partners analyst, Colin Gillis, said hiring was expected. Amazon continues to meaningfully grow above e-commerce rates and continues to take share from traditional retailers, he told.

The e-commerce giant said in October it would add 26 fulfillment centres in 2016, mostly in Northern america. More are under construction.

The new jobs will extend beyond Amazons Seattle headquarters to communities across the United States, CEO Jeff Bezos said in the release. Amazon did not break down what share of jobs would go to corporate roles versus fulfillment run.
A spokesman for Trumps transition team dedicated the president-elect partial credit for the announcement.

The president-elect met with heads of several of the tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States, spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

Job creation has become a hot-button political issue since the 8 November election. Ford Motor Co last week reversed plans for a $1.6 bn factory in Mexico and said it would add 700 employment opportunities in Michigan after receiving criticism from Trump.
The president-elect on Wednesday said he would be the greatest undertakings producer that God ever created.

Trump had criticized Amazon during his campaign, telling the technology giant did not pay its fair share of taxes.

Amazon shares were up less than 1% in early afternoon trading.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

GM Shows Off New Silverado in Bid to Narrow Ford’s Pickup Lead

It’s going to be the year of the truck in the U.S., and General Motors Co. wants to steal back some market share.

GM kicked off the Detroit auto show by revealing an all-new Chevrolet Silverado pickup, the first completely redesigned truck for the automaker since the 2007 model year. The pickup with have eight different trim levels, two new V-8 engines and shed as much as 450 pounds from the current model to save fuel.

The redesign — a bigger overhaul than the 2014 refresh of the Silverado — reinforces GM’s bid to win back market share from rivals Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Silverado was again the second-best selling light vehicle in the U.S. last year, but it trailed Ford’s F-Series — the top-selling vehicle line in America for the 36th consecutive year — by more than 300,000 units.

“This is arguably the most important product in the Chevrolet portfolio,” Alan Batey, president of GM North America, said Saturday. “We’ve put so much effort into understanding the customer and with eight different models, we’re very optimistic.”

“Work comes first for truck buyers,” Reuss said. “The bed is like the head of a hammer. You won’t get much work done with an aluminum hammer.”

In the battle for pickup dominance, there are big dollars at stake. Full-size pickups are top sellers for Detroit’s automakers and collectively bring them annual revenue of more than $90 billion. Morningstar Inc. estimates that profits are at least $10,000 per truck — and even more for high-end models — compared with about $3,000 for passenger cars. That’s why the three companies invest so much to develop their pickups and fight hard for every sale.

GM will begin deliveries of the new Silverado in the fall, months after Fiat Chrysler plans to start selling its redesigned Ram 1500.

Slipping Share

The Silverado and its cousin, the GMC Sierra, had the lowest combined share of the full-size truck market on record last year, despite having incentives that were nearly $1,000 higher than the Ford F-150 on average, according to car-shopping website Edmunds.

When GM offered employee pricing to consumers in December, the average incentive spending for each Silverado 1500 sold was almost $8,000, compared with about $5,000 for Ford’s F-150, according to data from J.D. Power.

“Chevrolet needs to make a bold statement if it’s going to claw back market share in a segment with the most brand-loyal buyers,” said Edmunds’ executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell. “The aluminum redesign of the F-150 was controversial, but Ford gained market share steadily ever since, so it’s clear that buyers can be swayed if they like what they see.”

    Read more: www.bloomberg.com

    Why tech’s titans are struggling to work together against Trump’s havoc

    Image: bloomberg via getty images

    On a daily basis, Stewart Butterfield roasts Donald Trump on Twitter.

    The Slack CEO is among the most outspoken leaders in the tech community when it comes to the new chairman, which induced it all the more surprising to consider his company missing from the list of 97 tech giants that signed onto an amicus brief resisting the recent Muslim travel banarguably the most unified, aggressive action ever taken by the industry on a political issue.

    Turns out, Slack wasn’t a holdout. They just got left off an email.

    “Slack heard about this when it appeared in the media and of course we support it, ” a Slack spokesperson explained over email Monday morning. “Its our understanding that a supplemental one is being filed and Slack will be on that list.”

    So runs the behind-the-scenes madness as tech companies big and small work to triangulate public policy , now, on a near-hourly basisoften trying their best not to stray too far toward activism or be seen as too close to the administration.

    As the tech industry has matured, many of its bigger players have begun to exert power in politics, thanks in part to deep pockets that can buy expensive lobbyists.

    Lobbyists can help push friendly policy, but they’re not crisis directors. Under Trump, even veterans like Google face a threat they haven’t quite ensure before.

    “The tech industry is younger historically, ” said Erik Grimmelmann, the president of the NY Tech Alliance, with decades working in tech under his belt. Trump’s recent actions have serve as a “wake up call” for better coordination. “I think the tech industry has had fewer people thinking about these matters than they realise they need.”

    Slow, tone-deaf answers have already cost some companies greatly. Uber in particular has born the brunt of the anti-Trump movement, thanks in part to its CEO’s participation in one of the president’s business council. He has since stepped down from the board. Elon Musk, however, kept his spot. His companies SpaceX and Tesla were also not part of the original 97 but were present at the next round.

    Slow, tone-deaf reactions have already expense some companies greatly.

    Many companies had clearly been hedging their wagers. Politico reported Tuesday that several of the tech giants who were on the original lawsuit or signed the amicus briefincluding Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebookdonated cash and service to Trump’s inauguration.

    Intel, despite represent one of the 97 signees, participated Thursday in what can only be described as an informercial, next to President Trump, at his desk, in the White House.

    Many of these companies and their CEOs tend to portray their work as having a higher purpose. Which attains the slow( and from time to time, contradictory) reply of tech companies to the administration’s actions magnified under a not-so-flattering light.

    Erica Baker, an engineer at Slack and an advocate for tech diversity and inclusion, summed it up Monday night at TechCrunch’s Crunchies eventanother Silicon Valley show now riddled with heightened nervousnes in the Trump era 😛 TAGEND

    Yet, with Trump taking such swift actions, as government contracts and future partnerships remain on the line, tech companies are still treading lightly, debating both internally and externally with their friends in the industryor foeson how and when to participate.

    “Were all trying to respond as quickly as we can”

    A spokesperson at a different tech company, who was one of the 97, asked which amicus brief Mashable refers to in a request for remark Sunday evening on if they were participating, prior to its official filing.

    “It’s hard for big companies to move quickly, and so the fact that 97[ companies] did that so quickly is a testament to the importance of the questions, ” Grimmelmann said. “It’s hard to get everyone to agree to the same speech instantly. Were going to see a lot of ongoing discussion in terms of what declaration of principles should be made.”

    Even before Trump, the tech industry’s relationship with the government was beginning to show signs of problems.

    The topic of encryption, for example, was a flowing dialogue with the White House under President obama. Following Edward Snowden’s leak of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, tech companies teamed up to cut access. In 2010, Google released the first transparency report, highlighting the requests of private information by the government.

    Tech companies also banded together following the FBI’s lawsuit against Apple, to access the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. Tech companies do look for friends in these situations, taking ethical and legal stands on issuesdespite these stands, they remained in dialogue with Barack Obama, the so-called tech president.

    Yet, tech companies wespoke with said they did feel a sense of urgency for the purposes of the new administration. For one, immigration is an issue on which most tech companies can agree. There’s already a shortage of talented technologists, and many tech leaders and high-profile investors are immigrants themselves.

    Several companies who missed the opportunity or chose not to sign the original amicus brief have since issued their own letters to the court. The names include Fitbit, Postmates, Soundcloud, Spothero, OneLogin and GoDaddy.

    Now that the tech industry is beginning to move as one to oppose Trump, there’s more action in the works.

    A letter currently being passed around among tech companies features actual policy proposals , not only a broader look at why immigration is important. “We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system gratifies todays security needs and keeps our country safe, ” reads a draft of the letter, obtained by Bloomberg . “We are concerned, however, that your recent Executive Order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our countrys success.

    That piece, however, is still being debatedmeaning plenty of late-night emails and phone calls, trying to figure out how to strike the right balance.

    “Things are being pursued so fast, ” said a spokesperson at a tech company that did not sign the amicus brief. “You’re going to see so many of these that get signed.”

    Internet Association, a trade organization that includes Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, Google, Snap( to name a few ), said it has been and will continue to be involved in dialogues like immigration but that is just one issue to discuss over the next four years.

    “Were merely in week three of the administration, ” told Noah Theran, spokesman of Internet Association. “While immigration is plainly a very important issue to the companies that we represent, as it is to many companies in the broader economy, there are going to be many other areas where we can agree and work together with the administration to help the internet thrive.”

    Read more:

    Facebook video ads offer publishers same revenue divided as YouTube

    Facebook is about to turn up the volume on its video competitor with YouTube.

    Videos on the social network can soon include mid-roll advertisings, allowing publishers to eventually start making money from their videos, Recode reported Monday.

    Unlike YouTube where ads operate prior to the video and can be skippable after 5 seconds, ads within Facebook videos can be inserted 20 seconds into any video that lasts at least 90 seconds.

    The move to ad breaks arrives as little surprise to publishers. This mid-roll ad system is the same format Facebook has tested with live videos. “We’ve found that this model is working well, and we plan to expand this test to make it available to more partners, ” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email to Mashable .

    Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose told Poynter last year the company had plans to incorporate ad transgress into more live videos and within published videos early in 2017.

    Facebook was not sharing any revenue from the ads with participating publishers during the initial testing with live. Now, Facebook will give away 55 percentage and keep 45 percent, according to Recode . YouTube offers the exact same split.

    Facebook declined to comment on the specific parameters.

    This isn’t the only way publishers can earn money from Facebook videos. Facebook pays select partners, including Mashable, to generate live videos. Publishers can also make branded content, as long as the brand is tagged with the Facebook post.

    “We know partner monetization on Facebook isnt one sizing fits all. We need to offer a range of answers for the broad range of publishers and partners on our platform, ” a spokesperson wrote.

    BONUS: Fiery detonation situateds back SpaceX and Facebook

    Read more:

    The Fall of a Chinese Tesla Killer Threatens a California Towns Electric Dream

    The black SUV that pulled up to an abandoned tire factory in Hanford, California, 3 years ago “re supposed to” transport the farm town into the future.

    A group led by former Tesla Inc. executives brought a bundle of gutsy ideas from their new employer, Chinese tycoon Jia Yueting, who vowed to revive the 1 million-square-foot build and assemble a luxurious electric car that would surpass anything from Elon Musk.

    ” The community was just thrilled to have an opportunity to have life back in the plant ,” said City Manager Darrel Pyle, who greeted the investors with coffee and doughnuts. Hanford is in a district where the unemployment rate is nearly double the U.S. average.

    Today, that factory remains lifeless, barely closer to making Faraday& Future Inc.’s autoes that could go for as much as $300,000 than it was three years ago, before the stunningly rapid accident of Jia’s debt-fueled business empire. It’s an empire built off of a Netflix-style streaming service, whose high-flying shares Jia leveraged–a strategy that’s accelerated the decline of several Asian tycoons–as he expanded into smartphones, TVs and electric cars. His Shenzhen-listed centerpiece, Leshi Internet Information& Technology Corp ., surged to a peak market value of about $24 billion.

    The Faraday Future FF9 1 electric car at the 2017 CES technology show in Las Vegas.

    Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/ Bloomberg

    That was $20 billion ago. Jia’s fortune plummeted after regulators suspended Leshi’s shares for nine months and ordered him to return home and repay millions of dollars in outstanding obligations. He currently risks losing control of Leshi because of a possible margin call on his shares, which have plunged more than 60 percentage since resuming trading Jan. 24.

    Faraday, which is said to have received an additional$ 1 billion of funding in December, said there’s been no impact from Leshi’s stock plunge. U.S. tribunal documents from a trademark action show that while Jia helped money Faraday, his nephew Jerry Wang now partially owns it, which may assistance buffer the company from Jia’s difficulties. Wang didn’t reply to a request for comment sent through Faraday’s press office.

    These misadventures elicited vitriol among those left in his aftermath, including the Nevada state treasurer, who called Jia’s empire a “mirage” after the tycoon pulled out of a$ 1 billion Faraday factory deal there before moving on to Hanford.

    ” I’m willing to give Jia the credit that, at the beginning, he only believed his own fiction ,” said Dan Schwartz , now a Republican nominee for Nevada governor.” But it gradually metastasized .”

    Jia declined to comment for this story through representatives at Faraday and his LeEco conglomerate, which includes a stake in Leshi. He controls Leshi, and U.S. tribunal documents present he the initial capital for Faraday.

    Jia Yueting

    Photographer: David Paul Morris/ Bloomberg

    Faraday attracted attention in 2016 when it unveiled a 1,000 -horsepower, one-seat electric car resembling the Batmobile at the CES technology show in Las Vegas. Its employees came from Tesla, Space Exploration Technologies Corp ., Ferrari and BMW–and a year later the company said it had developed the world’s fastest electric car.

    Jia, who got his start working in IT at a local Chinese taxation bureau, invested more than $300 million of his own fund in Faraday. His vision involves selling the FF 91, a 1,050 -horsepower electric car with a 378 -mile battery range and sticker price of” less than” 2 million yuan ($ 318,000 ).

    Jia’s internet empire, known as LeEco, began indicating cash-flow problems as early as 2016, prompting him to apologize to stockholders. The company and affiliates received $2.5 billion in lifelines last year from fellow tycoon Sun Hongbin, the chairman of real estate company Sunac China Holding Ltd ., who served prison time for larceny before his conviction was overturned.
    Yet even Sun signaled last month there were limits to rescuing Leshi.” Sometimes one also has to admit failure on a losing wager ,” he said.

    Leshi said most of the 9.3 billion yuan in debt it reported at the end of last year will ripen in 2018. That doesn’t include personal financing Jia took over the years by pledging 99.5 percent of his stake. To top it off, Leshi said in filings that Jia’s related companies owe 7.5 billion yuan in accounts receivable, a number disputed by the firms.

    Jia has remained in the U.S. to oversee Faraday, eluding a China Securities Regulatory Commission order in December to return and sort out obligations to Leshi–including his unfulfilled promise to give it interest-free loans. He was included in a nationwide list of defaulters the same month.

    ” There was no healthy cash flow into the company to support such an ambitious plan ,” said Teng Bingsheng, a prof of strategic management at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing.” It’ll be hard to continue this game .”

    LeEco was selling assets to help repay debt to China Merchants Bank, his wife said in a Weibo social-media post in January. In the U.S ., LeEco had layoffs, sold a Silicon Valley property and scrapped a$ 2 billion deal with Tv manufacturer Vizio Inc.

    Jia’s empire has been called a Ponzi scheme by Schwartz, who said Faraday had to keep receiving new investors to stay afloat without ever selling a car. Tencent Holding Ltd. co-founder Zeng Liqing also echoed the allegations in comments covered by Chinese country media. Jia previously denied he’s running a Ponzi scheme, telling the accusation was concocted by business rivals–Tencent has a streaming business.

    His wife said on Weibo in January that Jia, like his challenger Elon Musk, is being taunted before his product is even delivered.” Is Jia Yueting a failed entrepreneur, a Ponzi scheme, only a PowerPoint ?” Gan Wei posted.” That question needs time to solve .”

    Faraday Future’s factory in Hanford, California, a rural area where the unemployment rate is almost double the U.S. average.

    Photographer: Blake Schmidt

    The 55,000 residents of Hanford, an old railroad hub in the valley immortalized in John Steinbeck’s, are looking for an answer from Jia. He became Faraday’s chief executive officer in December after several managers left and the company backed out of another planned factory in Vallejo, California.

    Even so, Faraday is said to have secured$ 1 billion from an unnamed investor.

    ” Our funding didn’t come in as expected initially, but now we are hopefully back on track ,” told Dag Reckhorn, the vice president of global manufacturing who helped vet the Hanford plant.” The factory is a raw diamond. We need to polish it a bit, but it’s there and it’s fast and it’s in California .”

    It’s not the first time Faraday declined to disclose a fund source. Schwartz, a former banker, said he couldn’t get answers on how Faraday would finance the Nevada plant from scratch, which came with a $355 million tax-incentive package. California made a less generous offer. The nation cut a $13 million taxation agreement with Faraday that hinges on satisfying employment milestones.

    Jia’s China difficulties haven’t dinged Hanford’s faith. The city is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a main attraction being the gargantuan, seven-scoop banana divide at Superior Dairy Products Co. In December, Hanford officials met with nearby colleges to discuss tailoring their classwork to meet Faraday’s needs. Pyle also said Jia’s funding challenges are typical for a startup.

    Pyle, who drives a decade-old Buick, was blown away when Faraday employees depicted off a model EV featuring artificial intelligence and labeled as faster than any Tesla.” It was about one step next to space travel ,” he said.

    Faraday promised the first production vehicle by the end of 2018. During a visit in late December, the only person at the plant was a security guard.

    For more on Tesla, check out the podcast 😛 TAGEND

    Fiat Chrysler plants in Mexico may close if Trump enacts import taxation, CEO tells

    Sergio Marchionne said at the Detroit auto show that the president-elects tariff threats could construct manufacturing in Mexico uneconomical

    The chief executive of automobile giant Fiat Chrysler has warned that the company would have to consider closing its Mexican mills if Donald Trump decides to impose his threat of tough new tariffs on imports from Mexico.

    Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said on Monday that the entire industry was dogged by uncertainty since Trumps election and added that if the president-elect followed through on threats to tax Mexican car imports, he would have to consider shutting factories.

    Its possible that if the economic tariffs that are imposed by the US administration on anything that comes into the United States, if they are sufficiently large, it will construct the production of anything in Mexico uneconomical and therefore we will have to move on. It is quite possible, Marchionne told addressing reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

    Repurposing the Mexican factory would be costly and uncertain. Asked if he would consider investments in Mexico if he was offered substantial incentives by the Mexican government, Marchionne said it would be incredibly imprudent on our side to try and make commitments to that country.

    A Mexican-US trade war over vehicles would have relatively limited impact on the US but would be terrible for Mexico. If its a rejection of international trade in a wider sense, the implications are much more severe, he said.

    Scaling back by US car firms is already reaching Mexico. Julian Eaves, managing director of Preferred Compounding de Mxico, a US-owned maker of rubber compounds operating in central Mexico, told the Guardian that the economic cost could run into the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars over the next five years, if manufacturing, contracting and indirect chores fall short of current plans.

    Marchionnes commentaries arrived shortly after Trump had praised Fiat Chrysler and Ford for announcing new investments in the US. Trump constructed US auto production a key part of his campaign and won in part with the backing of voters in countries with the largest percentage of autoworkers.

    Last week Ford abandoned plans to build a $1.6 bn plant in Mexico and said it would invest $700 m in a Michigan plant. On Sunday, Fiat Chrysler announced a$ 1bn investment in plants in Ohio and Michigan to construct new SUVs and pickup trucks that will add 2,000 jobs.

    Its ultimately happening Fiat Chrysler merely announced plans to invest$ 1BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2000 jobs. This after Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford& Fiat C! Trump positioned on Twitter.

    Marchionne said he had not spoken to Trump or his advisers and that the decision has been in the works for a long time. Fiat Chrysler whose brands include Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati makes about 17% of its vehicles in Mexico, according to analysts.

    He said it was difficult for the industry to manage under the current political surrounding. Trump has threatened to scrap the Northa American Free Trade Agreement( Nafta) between the US, Mexico and Canada, but so far the most detail he has given has been on Twitter.

    I dont know if its a new political speech, but if it is well adjust to that too, said Marchionne.

    On Sunday Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors and a Trump adviser, told GM would not be changing its sourcing decisions because of Trump. This is a long-lead business with highly capital-intensive investments decisions that were attained two, three and four years ago, Barra told reporters in Detroit.

    The company also exposed it is planning to build a freshly unveiled vehicle, GMC Terrain, a crossover SUV, in San Luis Potos, Mexico.

    Barras comments came after the Trump threatened the company with a big perimeter taxation for importing some of GMs Chevrolet Cruze compact cars from a plant in Mexico. The imported models account for some 5% of the Cruze automobiles sold in the US. The remainder are fabricated at its Ohio factory.

    On Monday Barra touted GMs creation of US undertakings. We have more than 40 manufacturing facilities in the US and over the last two years alone, we have investment more than $11 bn generating thousands of new jobs in the US, as well as recruiting technological talent, Barra said unveiling new vehicles at the Detroit auto show.

    Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Autotrader, said the US car firms were reeling from the uncertainty Trump has created. It takes four years to develop a vehicle, longer still to build a plant, she told. This is an industry that needs clarity.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Ford Warns Profit Will Drop This Year

    Ford Motor Co . cautioned profit will fall this year as Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett spends heavily to catch up with rivals bringing electrified vehicles to market.

    The U.S. automaker forecast adjusted earnings of $1.45 to $1.70 a share this year, down from about $1.78 last year. While Wall street had been expecting a fell, the low objective of the company’s guidance is worse than what analystswere anticipating.

    Ford flagged its expectation for weaker earnings two days after Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the company founded by his grandfather is going “all in” on electric cars. The automaker kicked off the Detroit auto show by pledging to invest $11 billion to bring 40 electrified vehicles to marketplace by 2022. Hackett, 62, last year took over an automaker that absence a model to compete with cars like General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Bolt or Tesla Inc.’s Model S.

    ” We know we must evolve to be even more competitive and narrow our full line of nameplates in all markets, to a more focused lineup that delivers stronger, more profitable growth, with better returns ,” Jim Farley, Ford’s president of world markets, said in a statement.

    Ford shares fell 2.1 percent to $12.82 as of 5: 32 p.m ., after the close of regular trading in New York. The stock rose simply 3 percent in 2017, trailing Tesla’s 46 percentage upsurge and GM’s 18 percent jump.

    The biggest factors contributing to Ford’s expectation for lower gain this year are the rising price of commodities, including steel and aluminum, and adverse effects from currency exchange rates, in part due to Brexit. Those expenses represent a $1.6 billion headwind to Ford’s earnings this year, according to Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.

    Prolonged Payback

    The forecast prolongs the payback from spending on autonomous vehicles and other technology that Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields, had been promising to investors before his ousting in May. Profit will rebound over hour, Shanks said in a phone interview.

    ” We certainly consider us on a path toward the margins that we have been targeting for a very long time ,” Shanks told referring to Ford’s goal for an 8 percent operating margin.” Not this year or next year, but within the next several years .”

    In addition to electrifying its lineup, Ford is reallocating investment toward sport utility vehicle amid slumping demand for passenger cars in its home marketplace. The company projects it will boost the share of its sales from SUVs by 10 percentage points — all at cars’ expense — over the next couple years to cash in on more lucrative models that American customers want.

    ” We’ll have more utilities ,” Shanks said.” We will be simplifying, if you will, our participation in the car segments to move into sub-segments that have more margin and are more attractive .”

    Read more: Detroit ditching cars to mint money off trucks

    GM surprised Wall Street earlier Tuesday by predicting steady earning this year to be followed by another earnings jump in 2019. A redesigned Chevrolet Silverado pickup and fresh harvest of crossovers are helping money CEO Mary Barra’s ambitious plans to put robo-taxis on the road in a ride-sharing fleet next year and roll out 20 all-electric models by 2023.

    Fiery crash kills billionaire petroleum executive day after Justice Department charges

    Aubrey McClendon was charged after a federal antitrust investigation and vowed to clear his name just hours before he drove into an Oklahoma bridge

    At 09.12am on Wednesday morning Aubrey McClendon, billionaire sports team owner, oil executive and visionary pioneer of the US fracking revolution, pretty much drove straight into a bridge on a quiet country road in Oklahoma. His 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe burst into flames instantly killing the 56-year-old executive, who was not wearing a seatbelt.

    The crash, which did not involve any other vehicles, came just hours after McClendon, was charged by the Justice Department with conspiring to rig bidding for oil and gas contracts over several years.

    McClendon, who built his former oil company Chesapeake Energy into the USs second-biggest natural gas producer with seed money of just $50,000, had on Tuesday night vowed to fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.

    The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented, he said in a statement late on Tuesday night. I have been singled out as the only person in the oil and gas industry in over 110 years to have been accused of this crime in relation to joint bidding on leasehold.

    Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws. All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.

    McClendon, who leaves behind his wife Katie and their three children Jack, Callie and Will, was charged following a nearly four-year federal antitrust investigation into alleged rigging of drilling rights in rural Oklahoma between at least December 2007 to March 2012. He faced up to 10 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $1m for each violation.

    The high-rolling businessman known across America for his lavish lifestyle including extensive use of private jets, professional basketball team, Bordeaux vineyard and $12m (8.5m) antique map collection was due in court on Wednesday morning. He died before he could appear.

    Captain Paco Balderrama of Oklahoma City police said McClendon was driving at a high rate of speed in a 40mph zone when he pretty much drove straight into the wall.

    There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct or get back on the roadway and that didnt occur, Balderrama said. The police said they were only able to identify McClendon as the driver after being contacted by the businessmans personal security guards.

    Balderrama on Thursday released recordings of 911 calls following the crash. The accident looks pretty bad, one caller said. It looks like they swerved and hit [the wall].

    Aubrey
    A vehicle, in which Oklahoma City police department said former Chesapeake Energy co-founder Aubrey McClendon died one day after a federal indictment, burns on Wednesday. Photograph: Cris Yelton/Reuters

    The police said it would take at least a week to determine the cause of the crash, which happened eight miles from the offices of American Energy Partners, a company McClendon setup after leaving Chesapeake under a cloud in 2013.

    Business leaders praised McClendon for his vision and leadership in driving the shale fracking boom and dramatically improving the economic fortunes of Oklahoma. Ive known Aubrey McClendon for nearly 25 years. He was a major player in leading the stunning energy renaissance in America, Texan oil magnate T Boone Pickens said. He was charismatic and a true American entrepreneur. No individual is without flaws, but his impact on American energy will be long-lasting.

    Activist investor Carl Icahn said McClendon was one of the brightest men Ive ever dealt with. The governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, described him as a visionary who raised the profile of Oklahoma.

    Billy Donovan, the coach of the NBA team Oklahoma City Thunder which McClendon helped buy out and relocate from Seattle to the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City said: In situations like this the best thing you can do is just pray, pray for the family and pray for the people involved.

    McClendons part-purchase of the NBA team, previously known as the Seattle SuperSonics, from Starbucks founder Howard Schultz made him a hate figure in Seattle and is just one of several scandals blotting his staggering success.

    McClendon, a history graduate, started Chesapeake in 1981 with his friend Tom Ward. The company didnt really get going until the shale boom struck, which McClendon foresaw, leading him to buy up the rights to huge swaths of land in promising areas.

    As the company succeeded, McClendon started spending. He bought two of his neighbours houses near Oklahoma City, a mansion on Bermudas billionaires row, and properties in Minnesota, Colorado and Maui. At one point he had wine cellars in three states, which between them contained 100,000 bottles.

    He also leased a fleet of private planes to transport executives to oil and gas fields and to take his family on holiday. One trip taking his family to Amsterdam and Paris cost $108,000 and was listed as a business expense, according to a Reuters report.

    In 2011 Forbes magazine put McClendons face on its cover with the headline: Americas Most Reckless Billionaire.

    Then it all started to go wrong. Following the 2012 Reuters reports, which included claims that McClendon had personal borrowings of more than $1bn secured on stakes in Chesapeakes wells, investors raised corporate governance concerns.

    McClendon was removed as chairman in June 2012, and stood down as chief executive in January 2013 following philosophical differences with the rest of the board.

    You can pick up the paper every day and read something negative about me or about the company, McClendon said during the media storm of coverage at the time. I would not have wished the past month on my worst enemy.

    Read more: www.theguardian.com

    Ford Tells Farewell to Mass-Market Cars

    Ford Motor Co ., the 114 -year-old automaker that set the world on wheels, is turning away from its original mission of selling sedans to the masses.

    The company responsible for launching the modern carmaking epoch with Henry Ford’s assembly line will pivot away from being a full-line automaker, shrinking its passenger-car lineup and shifting merely to low-volume, high-margin models.

    The reason? Years of coming up short on a long-held profit-margin target. Earnings letdowns cost former Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields his task in May, and his replacement Jim Hackett has since laid out plans to reorient the company around lucrative sport utility vehicles and pickups, plus play catch-up on the trends that are sweeping the automobile industry: the rise of electric, autonomous, connected and shared vehicles.

    ” Let’s are aware of: We are not satisfied with our performance ,” Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told analysts Tuesday.” For the past seven months, we have undergone a rigorous appraisal to ensure we are fit as a business and are building the choices that will create the Ford of tomorrow .”

    Read more: Detroit Ditching Cars to Mint Money Off Trucks

    Ford shares plunged 7 percentage, the steepest drop since July 2016, to close at $12.18 on Wednesday. The stock rose only 3 percent in 2017, trailing Tesla Inc.’s 46 percentage surge and General Motors Co.’s 18 percent jump.

    Before delivering a presentation at the Deutsche Bank Auto Industry Conference, Shanks warned that adjusted earning will fall this year to $1.45 to $1.70 a share, down from about $1.78 last year. While Wall street had been expecting a fell from 2017, the low aim of the company’s guidance is worse than what analystswere anticipating.

    ” It appears that nothing is sacred at Ford ,” Joe Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote Wednesday in a report to clients.

    Margin Mishaps

    Ford’s automotive business earned simply a 5 percentage profit margin last year, less than its average since 2010 of about 6 percentage, according to Shanks. The company hasn’t achieved its 8 percent objective in any year since the global recession, he said.

    The automaker flagged its expectation for weaker earnings two days after Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the company founded by his grandfather is going “all in” on electric cars. Ford kicked off this week’s Detroit auto show by pledging to invest $11 billion to bring 40 electrified vehicles to marketplace by 2022.

    Hackett, 62, last year took over an automaker that absence a model to compete with autoes like GM’s Chevrolet Bolt or Tesla‘s Model S. On Tuesday, Hackett rejected the idea that Ford is behind.

    ” Ford is going to aim ahead to where it has to be ,” he said at the conference Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.” Because it has to be ahead in order for people to believe our strategy isn’t about catching up to somebody else .”

    Executives did, however, acknowledge that Ford has to change course. That will include cutting auto lines that no longer sell well.

    ” We know we must evolve to be even more competitive and narrow our full line of nameplates in all marketplaces, to a more focused lineup that delivers stronger, more profitable growth, with better returns ,” Jim Farley, Ford’s president of world markets, said in a statement.

    The biggest factors contributing to Ford’s expectation for lower gain this year are the rising cost of commodities, including steel and aluminum, and adverse effects from currency exchange rates, in part due to Brexit. Those expenses represent a $1.6 billion headwind to earnings this year, Shanks said.

    Prolonged Payback

    The profit forecast prolongs the payback from spending on autonomous vehicles and other technology that Hackett’s predecessor, Fields, had been promising to investors before his ousting in May. Earning will rebound over hour, Shanks said in a phone interview.

    ” We surely consider us on a route toward the margins that we have been targeting for a very long time ,” Shanks told, referring to the 8 percent target.” Not this year or next year, but within the next several years .”

    In addition to electrifying its lineup, Ford is reallocating investment toward crossovers and rugged off-roaders amid slumping demand for passenger cars in its home market. The Lincoln luxury brand, already highly reliant on models like the Navigator, will orient toward SUVs in the future.

    Ford projects it will boost the share of its sales from SUVs by 10 percentage points — all at autoes’ expense — over the next couple years to cash in on more lucrative models that American customers want.

    ” We’ll have more utilities ,” Shanks said.” We will be simplifying, if you will, our participation in the car segments to move into sub-segments that have more margin and are more attractive .”

    GM surprised Wall Street earlier Tuesday by predicting steady profit this year to be followed by another earnings jump in 2019. A redesigned Chevrolet Silverado pickup and fresh crop of crossovers are helping money CEO Mary Barra’s ambitious plans to put robotaxis on the road in a ride-sharing fleet next year and roll out 20 all-electric models by 2023.

    Ford also announced it will start being more transparent about its own bets on mobility. Within the slides Shanks presented, the company disclosed it lost about $300 million in this business last year.

    Tesla could upgrade client computers to meet self-driving requirements

    Elon Musk had some thoughts to share on Tesla’s Q3 earnings bellow regarding full freedom and how the automaker is preparing to deliver this to clients down the road. The company announced that its new vehicles had all the hardware on board they needed to achieve full independence last year, and offers customers the options to buy an upgrade that would deliver autonomy via software update once it was available.

    Musk noted that he still definitely believes Tesla is able to “achieve full autonomy with the current hardware, ” but also cautioned that the question will be what qualifies as full freedom in the eyes of regulators and what is eventually decriminalize for employ on roads. Musk used to say current Tesla vehicle computer and sensor hardware would allow for “roughly human-level autonomy, ” but also noted that regulators might require a higher level, with potentially systems requiring many multiples of human efficacy to be deemed legal to operate.

    “We’ll have more to say on the hardware front soon, we’re simply not ready to say that now, ” Musk said. “But for customers that have purchased the full independence option, if it does turn out that it requires computer upgrade for full autonomy, we will replace their computer — it’s simply a matter of unplug the old computer, plug the new one in.”

    Musk also said he believes that Tesla’s hardware in terms of autonomy is better than any other alternative out there by a lot, which, combined with his earlier remarks considering hardware news to come soon, could indicate details on upgraded equipment to be revealed in the future.

    Tesla did not commentary further on the schemed coast-to-coast driverless exam ride planned for its autonomous system, beyond noting in its investor letter that it still plans on conducting such a test — though at this stage, it seems unlikely to occur before the end of the year.

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