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FRANKFURT — Daimler is voluntarily recalling more than three million Mercedes-Benz diesel cars in Europe for an update that will reduce their NOx emissions.
The company will extend an ongoing upgrade of about 250,000 compact cars and vans to nearly every modern Mercedes diesel on the road.
With the recall, Daimler is seeking to head off a growing crisis over potential emissions cheating. If it is accepted by officials, it could help Daimler avoid the massive penalties that beset Volkswagen Group.
The steps are being taken to cut pollution of nitrogen oxide emissions, which have been blamed for causing respiratory disease, Daimler said.
The recall involves a software patch and avoids complex component fixes. It will cost the automaker about 220 million euros ($255 million).
“The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty,” CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”
The service actions involve no costs for the customers and the implementation of the measures will be starting in the next weeks, Daimler said.
The measures to be taken for nearly all EU5 and EU6 vehicles in Europe will be carried out in close cooperation with the German regulatory authorities, the company said.
“This is finally a proactive move to put something on the table and a solid attempt at getting out in front of the debate,” said Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Bankhaus Metzler. Daimler’s estimation for the cost of the recall, at about 70 euros per car, is “extraordinarily low” and could rise, he said.
Daimler also said it would roll out its new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine, first launched in the new E class in 2016, across its entire model portfolio.
Diesel-cheating allegations have clouded Daimler for months. German authorities have been scrutinizing the carmaker for possible emissions cheating involving two engines used by Mercedes and Daimler also is the subject of a U.S. probe into allegedly excessive diesel emissions.
German lawmakers last week summoned Mercedes executives to question them about emissions. At the time the carmaker agreed with the Transport Ministry to undergo another round of emissions tests.
In May, 23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, searched Daimler sites in Germany following allegations of false advertising and the possible manipulation of exhaust gas treatment systems.
Unlike Volkswagen, which admitted it deceived regulators, Daimler says it adhered to regulations that allow vehicles to reduce emissions controls to protect a car’s engine.
Daimler warned investors in its quarterly report that steps by U.S. authorities to investigate “functionalities,” including some which it said were common in diesel vehicles, could lead to significant penalties and vehicle recalls.
After VW confessed to deliberate emissions cheating in 2015, the entire auto industry has come under scrutiny in Europe for producing high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions in diesel cars. While demand has declined since the VW crisis erupted in September 2015, diesel still accounts for about half of total passenger car sales in Europe.
“The Daimler recall is another punch in the gut to the diesel industry, and an additional black mark in terms of public perception, but the fuel isn’t going away,” said Michael Harley, group managing editor for Cox Automotive. “Automakers continue to believe in a future with diesel technology.”
The recall, which will be free for customers, will take several months, according to Daimler spokesman Matthias Brock. The plan extends a service action that began in April last year on compact cars and V-class vans.
|KAR Auction Services||18.3%|
|Illinois Tool Works||34.7%|
|Goodyear Tire & Rubber||-4.6%|
|American Axle & Manufacturing||1.9%|
|Group 1 Automotive||4.2%|
|Cooper Tire & Rubber||3.8%|
|Source: Equilar Inc.|
Elon Musk towered over the highest paid CEOs at publicly traded U.S. automotive companies last year after exercising stock options that skyrocketed his compensation from five figures to 10.
The Tesla Inc. CEO, who usually sits at the bottom of the list because of his penchant for requesting — and refusing to take — California’s minimum wage, posted the largest total CEO compensation by a margin of more than a $1 billion. Musk exercised $1.34 billion in stock options set to expire in 2016, according to the Automotive News/Equilar CEO Compensation study.
His pay increased by 3.6 million percent.
However, Musk’s reported total compensation “was not actually received in cash upon these exercises,” a Tesla proxy statement said. Musk sold $593 million in stock, which was used “solely in order to pay … income taxes related to such exercise,” according to the proxy.
Musk’s compensation increase stems from him meeting several goals in a long-term incentive plan devised by Tesla’s board in 2012, according to Dan Marcec, Equilar director of content and marketing communications.
Tesla’s deal with Musk offers 10 performance-based operational benchmarks and 10 market-capitalization goals rewarded by stock options. For each slice of the stock-option pie, Musk must meet both one operational and one stock-value goal.
Initial options for Musk in 2012 equaled 5 million shares in the company’s stock worth $70 million. Had Musk magically achieved all performance goals in 2012, Marcec said, he would have taken home just $78 million.
Tesla stock has gone up sharply since then. At the end of 2016, it was going for about $200 a share. On Thursday, July 6, at 3 p.m. it was $309.62 a share, but had dropped 13.6 percent in three days.
Musk exercised options on 6.7 million shares in 2016, averaging about $194 per share in gains for $1.34 billion.
As of April 20, the date of the proxy filing, Musk had reached eight market capitalization milestones and six operational ones.
The operational milestones achieved were completing the Model X alpha and beta prototypes, putting the Model X into production, completing the Model 3 alpha and beta prototypes and overseeing the cumulative production of 100,000 vehicles.
“When an executive’s options vest — or in Musk’s case, when he hits one of his performance goals — that just means that they have the right to purchase shares allowable under the plan,” Marcec said. “If they purchase the shares, then the value is the difference from when it was granted and the date of purchase.”
Behind Musk’s meteoric pay increase was that of KAR Auction Services CEO Jim Hallett, who had the second-biggest compensation gain with a 659 percent jump over the $1,967,033 he earned in 2015 to $14.9 million. Cooper-Standard CEO Jeffrey Edwards took home a 152 percent increase with $10.9 million total compensation.
Thomas Lynch of TE Connectivity once again secured second place on the salary summit, miles beneath Musk, pulling in $32.1 million for the year.
Several Ford executives saw pay hikes in 2016, rebounding strongly from figures the year prior. Former Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields had a 75 percent increase with $16.0 million in earnings last year, but Executive Chairman Bill Ford saw even higher gains, raking in 321 percent more with compensation of $30.1 million. Compensation for Ford CFO Bob Shanks was up 54 percent to nearly $3.8 million, though compensation slid 11 percent for Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations, to $4.1 million.
Auto manufacturers offer a broad range of hues for shopping customers, with names such as pearl and obsidian. Yet cataloging the dozens of varieties, the colors fall into eight or so categories. White, black and metallic colors such as silver and gold are most popular.
But what’s all the rage in say Colorado may not be as common in Kentucky, according to automotive websites. And luxury vehicles may lean one way in popular shades, while SUVs track another.
Cincinnati-based Swapalease.com marked the Fourth of July by listing the leading states for red, white and blue cars on its automotive lease marketplace.
States with the most red cars were in order South Carolina, Colorado and Michigan. For white models, Florida, California and Tennessee ranked at the top. And New York, Georgia and Kentucky lead in blue-tinted models.
Swapalease.com also found men vastly preferred red cars, women favored white hues and the genders were about evenly split on blue models. For more, go to www.swapalease.com.
In another survey, PPG, a multibillion-dollar paint company based in Pittsburgh, concluded that blue may be one of the hottest car colors for 2017, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The number of blue vehicles made in 2016 increased 3 percent in luxury, midsize and compact cars, the multinational company noted.
“Blue is a very versatile color for the automotive market, because subtle shifts of a blue coating can do a lot to enhance a vehicle’s style or distinguish a brand,” Jane Harrington, PPG manager, told the Tribune.
Notable blue models included Ford’s GT supercar re-introduced at the Detroit Auto show in 2014 in Oval Blue. The Tribune also highlighted Infiniti’s Hermosa Blue — for beautiful in Spanish — and Graphite Blue Metallic on the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S.
Again relying on a paint company, Kbb.com automotive information company reported that silver continues to lead in every car category except trucks, SUVs and minivans, in which white is the leader.
Robert S. Daily, color-marketing manager of DuPont Automotive, believes car buyers relate silver to high-tech. “Silver and gray reflect our fascination with technology, such as seen in the brushed chrome cues on laptop computer covers and other electronic devices,” he writes. “Secondly, silver and techno-gray seem to accentuate the angular, ‘new-edge design’ of the latest luxury sport vehicles,” he points out to Kbb.com.
According to the website, 23 percent of cars and trucks are painted silver, followed by 15 percent for white and 12 percent, black.
Dark green scores best with sedan, wagons and hatchbacks; dark blue made the top three for convertibles and coupes, and median red does well with sedans, while managing 6 percent of luxury cars.
Toyota Motor Corporation announces the launch of its completely redesigned Camry in Japan and the start of sales at all nationwide Toyopet, Toyota Corolla and Netz dealers (including Tokyo Toyota dealerships).
The original Camry debuted in 1980 as the rear-wheel drive Celica Camry. Initially sold exclusively in Japan, it was renamed Camry in 1982 and was redesigned as a front-wheel drive sedan for global markets. Since then, the Camry has evolved into Toyota’s global midsize sedan, sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. Cumulative sales have topped 18 million vehicles5, including unparalleled success in the United States, where it has been the best-selling passenger car for 15 consecutive years6.
The new Camry design aims to test the limits of performance and intelligence, infusing the high-end sedan with a refined feel. The design team began with a blank slate, using Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) as the basis for the all-new platform, units, electronics, and other core components. The result is a striking emotional character, stunningly beautiful design, responsive driving, and premium ride performance. Augmenting these core features are a Human Machine Interface (HMI)7 to make driving easier, a high-class interior cabin with well-cut features, and state-of-the-art active safety systems. The new Camry redefines the standard for high-end midsize sedans.