Japanese rivals join forces
Japan’s eight carmakers have joined forces to develop environmentally friendly engines to stave off fierce competition from foreign rivals, a press report said yesterday. Two of Japan’s leading universities — the University of Tokyo and Waseda University — will join Toyota Motor Corp, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu and Fuji Heavy in the project, which is mainly aimed at slashing engine emissions to meet tougher environmental standards, the Nikkei Shimbun reported. By 2020 the group, which includes, plans to develop technology, which can cut diesel engine carbon-dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 2010 levels. The manufacturers plan to adapt the technology for commercial use in both diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles, the Nikkei said, hoping to gain a leg up over European carmakers, as well as helping to meet strict global regulations.
Tesla biggest employer
As quietly as one of its electric cars, Tesla Motors Inc has become the biggest auto-industry employer in California. Tesla now employs more than 6,000 people in the state, the automaker said, offering the first public snapshot of its workforce this year. That moves the fast-growing company well ahead of Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, which has 5,300 direct employees in California — a count set to fall after the Japan-based company said it would move a majority of those jobs to Texas by 2017.
Russia sanctions a concern
Industry is ramping up efforts to dissuade Chancellor Angela Merkel from imposing tough new economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, warning of lasting damage to domestic firms and the broader economy if Moscow is hit hard. Although companies have toned down their public criticism of sanctions since the CEO of Siemens was vilified in the press for meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in late March, a behind-the-scenes lobby effort remains in full force. A confidential paper from the German-Russian chamber of foreign trade, which was sent to the government two weeks ago, shows the extent of the concern in business circles. “Deeper economic sanctions would lead to a situation where contracts would increasingly be given to domestic firms, projects would be suspended or delayed by the Russian side, and Russian industry and politicians would turn to Asia, in particular China,” the paper says.
Credit Suisse heads may roll
Credit Suisse Group AG’s chief executive officer Brady Dougan and chairman Urs Rohner could step down as the bank moves to resolve a criminal investigation over tax evasion in the US, SonntagsZeitung reported. Rohner’s resignation letter is being drafted, said the paper, which reported on Saturday that a settlement agreement between Credit Suisse and US authorities is scheduled to be announced today, citing lawyers briefed on the deal. Tages-Anzeiger, another Swiss newspaper, reported on Saturday that “signs are mounting” that Dougan will be replaced. Dougan, 54, the first American to serve as sole CEO of the Swiss firm, is one of the few global bank heads to have endured the financial crisis and the scandals that followed. The Zurich-based bank has reached an agreement to plead guilty to charges it conspired to help Americans evade taxes and pay about US$2.5 billion to the US Department of Justice and regulators, according to two people familiar with the matter.