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Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot confirm merger into one US$46-billion automaker – Driving

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PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have agreed to combine to create the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker, as the manufacturers prepare to shoulder the costly investments in new technologies transforming the industry.

In the biggest auto tie-up since Daimler’s ill-fated purchase of Chrysler in 1998, the French and Italo-American carmakers will each own half of the enlarged business.

The new company, with global sales of 8.7 million vehicles, will be run by PSA Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares, with Fiat Chairman John Elkann holding the same role.

The transaction would forge a regional powerhouse to rival Germany’s Volkswagen and, with a market value of about US$47 billion, surpassing Ford. It will take as long as 15 months to complete, pending approvals by shareholders of both companies and by regulators, the carmakers estimated.

Like executives across the industry, Tavares and Elkann are responding to growing pressure to pool resources for product development, manufacturing and purchasing in the face of trade wars and an expensive shift toward electric and self-driving technology.

[Indeed, industry sources said that in the future, the new company plans to move “more than two-thirds” of production to “just two platforms, with 3 million cars per year on a compact/midsize platform and 2.6 million on a small platform,” reports Automotive News. “The smaller platform will be PSA’s CMP architecture and larger cars will be on the group’s EMP2 (while) Ram pickups and larger Jeep models will continue to use FCA underpinnings.” —Ed.]

“The challenges of our industry are really, really significant,” Tavares, 61, told reporters on a call Wednesday. “The green deal, autonomous vehicles, connectivity and all those topics need significant resources, strengths, skills and expertise.”

In an era when size is becoming ever more important, the deal will turn the two mid-sized carmakers into a global heavyweight, with a stable of popular brands and annual vehicle sales surpassing General Motors. The combination will give Peugeot-maker PSA a long-sought presence in North America and should help Fiat gain ground in developing low-emission technology, where it’s lagged rivals.

Yet the new company will still be heavily reliant on Europe’s sluggish and saturated auto market, and poorly positioned in China, the world’s largest country for car sales.

The companies are aiming to extract 3.7 billion euros in annual synergies from the deal, without closing any plants, unchanged from the target they announced when they disclosed their merger discussions.

China’s Dongfeng Motor Corp., which owns 12 per cent of PSA, will see its stake in the combined company decline to 4.5 per cent as a result of the deal and the sale of a portion of its holding to the French carmaker.

Dongfeng’s stake in PSA has attracted attention because of the possibility it could interfere with U.S. regulatory approval. U.S. economic adviser Larry Kudlow said last month the Trump administration would review the proposed merger because the deal would give the Chinese carmaker a stake in the combined company.

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Shopify fires two 'rogue' employees following data breach – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Shopify Inc. says it has notified Canada’s privacy commissioner about a recent data breach it says was carried out by two “rogue” employees.

“In accordance with Canadian law, we promptly notified all affected merchants,” a spokeswoman for the company wrote in an email.

“We have subsequently provided information regarding the incident to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.”

Earlier Wednesday, the commissioner’s office said it hadn’t yet received a report about the breach.

“Our office is reaching out to Shopify, given the potential seriousness of the breach, to request more information about the matter,” Vito Pilieci, a senior communications adviser wrote in an email.

Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, it is mandatory for companies to report breaches to the privacy commissioner’s office, “where it is reasonable to believe that the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual,” Pilieci said.

Shopify spokeswoman Rebecca Feigelsohn said the two employees involved in the breach were fired.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa-based company first revealed on an online discussion board that it had identified two workers involved in illegitimately obtaining records connected to some of its merchants.

“We immediately terminated these individuals’ access to our Shopify network and referred the incident to law enforcement. We are currently working with the FBI and other international agencies in their investigation of these criminal acts,” the company said.

“While we do not have evidence of the data being utilized, we are in the early stages of the investigation and will be updating affected merchants as relevant.”

The customer data the employees were accessing was linked to fewer than 200 merchants, who Shopify has declined to identify but says have been notified.

The improperly accessed data includes basic contact information such as emails, names and addresses, as well as order details, such as what products and services were purchased.

Shopify said complete payment card numbers and other sensitive personal or financial information were not part of the breach and it has yet to find evidence that any of the data was used.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 23, 2020.

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Shopify says two support staff stole customer data from sellers – TechCrunch

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Shopify has confirmed a data breach, in which two “rogue members” of its support team stole customer data from at least 100 merchants.

In a blog post, the online shopping site said that its investigation so far showed that the two employees, who have since been fired, were “engaged in a scheme to obtain customer transactional records of certain merchants.”

Shopify said it had referred the matter to the FBI.

The employees allegedly stole customer data, including names, postal addresses and order details, from “less than 200 merchants,” but financial data was unaffected.

Shopify said that it does not have any evidence to suggest that the data was used, but that it had notified affected merchants of the incident.

One merchant shared with TechCrunch a copy of Shopify’s email notification, which said the company first became aware of the breach on September 15, and that the two employees obtained data that was accessible using Shopify’s Orders API, which lets merchants process orders on behalf of their customers. The email also said that the last four digits of the customers’ payment card was taken in the incident.

Shopify did not say how many end customers were affected by the theft of data from merchants, but the email sent by Shopify contained the specific number of customer records taken in the breach. In this merchant’s case, more than 1.3 million customer records; over 4,900 were accessed.

A spokesperson for Shopify didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Just last month, Instacart admitted two of its third-party support staff improperly accessed the information for shoppers who deliver grocery orders to customers.

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Other Battery Makers Filled With Uncertainty After Tesla Battery Day – InsideEVs

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After yesterday’s Tesla Battery Day, third-party lithium-ion battery manufacturer might be quite surprised and uncertain about the future.

Tesla clearly continues on its path of vertical integration, hinting at significant improvements on the technological level and advancing also on the in-house battery production front.

The pilot plant for 4680 cells is expected to reach a production output of 10 GWh annually at some point in 2021, which alone is a huge level. The target of 100 GWh in 2022 is also very ambitious.

Tesla’s Elon Musk said that the automaker will continue to purchase cells from existing (and maybe new) suppliers, because it will not be able to produce enough of its own batteries anyway, but still the share price of the biggest EV battery manufacturers declined.

According to Automotive News, LG Chem went down by 5.5%, CATL by 4.7%, while Panasonic by 4.3%.

2020 Tesla Shareholders Meeting and Battery Day

Investors are clearly aware that Tesla is pushing hard to reduce costs and increase energy density. It’s a challenging race, which requires tons of R&D investments to keep up with the leaders.

Will the ordinary battery makers from electronics and chemical industries be able to offer a competitive solution for a company like Tesla, which has an advantage of vertical integration? They would have to closely partner with other carmakers to jointly develop battery systems deeply integrated with the vehicles.

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