In case anyone thought that data breaches, even when carried out at a personal level, were viewed as trivial and of little consequence, a case today suggests otherwise. A motor industry worker has not only been jailed for 6 months but ordered to pay a massive £33,500, which may come as a shock to some. His crime? Taking data regarding customers body repairs and passing them on to a claims management company, presumably for an intro fee of some sort. If he fails to come up with the money then his sentence will be extended by 12 months. No laughing matter, but customers alerted the firm in question because of a significant increase in complaints about unsolicited claims management calls. So they looked and quickly found out why.
Tesla has suffered an embarrassing week in the States, with the press carrying details of alleged poor practice at their manufacturing centre in California. Faced with massive production targets last year, they apparently set up temporary production lines. 12 months later these are still rumoured to be in temporary tents, rather than under permanent cover. The report also suggests that production workers are buying electrical tape in Walmart and using it tape back on components that have fallen off or have split. This comes in the wake of the news that in a recent customer survey Tesla was 51st out of 51 manufacturers for reliability. Still, on the bright side, the only way is up.
Teresa May seems to have got her cheque-book out, and Jaguar has certainly benefited from a £500 million loan guarantee to persuade them to build electric vehicles in the UK. Of course, under EU rules state aid cannot be given, but loans can be guaranteed. One might wonder, cynically, whether there was any mechanism in the future, provided we were out of the EU of course, to write these loans off. I have no idea, and I’m sure many will tell me that is simply not possible.
Have a great weekend, I hope you enjoy golf, there’s plenty of it on the box.
Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.
William Gibson (1948 – )
Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
Paul Valery (1871 – 1945), Tel Quel 2 (1943)
A story in AM online today caught my eye. Shares are starting to be traded in Pendragon as it was reported that a Swedish investment company had acquired nearly 10% of the group. This came seven days after another investment company, TCP, had increased its stake to 21%. Speculation is rife that the company is ready to be taken over, all of this coinciding with Trevor Finn’s decision to step down from his role as head of the group at the end of March this year. Given that they are the U.K.’s largest retailer by some way, this could send shockwaves through the retail sector.
It may not be big news over here, but in the US there is much talk about Tesla’s new Chinese venture. They have just “broken ground” on their new Giga-Factory, as they are calling it, which is set to produce 500,000 vehicles a year. They expect it to be in production by the end of this year. Now we know that the company has promised some ambitious figures before, and has then struggled to keep up, but the Chinese market for electric vehicles is already more than half the total UK market for cars, at 1.2 million. Grabbing a share of that is certainly tempting.
And China has recently relaxed its rules on local ownership, meaning that Tesla will be the first car manufacturer to open a wholly owned facility in China, giving it technological and financial protection from local interests. On the other hand it means that it will be a pioneer in working with local government and breaking through local bureaucracy to ensure things go as smoothly as they can.
Finally it seems that Renault and Nissan have both decided that their future lays beyond Carlos Ghosn. It has certainly been a rapid fall from grace for the world’s largest automotive superstar. If proven innocent then conspiracy theorists will point to a hidden agenda. In fact they already have, and many analysts are wondering whether the triple alliance of the Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi can survive over the coming years. And whether this was ultimately what drove the crisis in the first place.
Finally, talking around my clients, the start of the year has not been quite as disastrous as they were expecting it to be. The retail market has been more buoyant than expected, stockpiling before a hard Brexit perhaps? Or merely that there are some fantastic deals on offer in the market? Time will tell whether we can maintain this momentum through the year, no doubt driven by events outside the influence of the motor industry.
Have a great weekend, at least the cricket back on.
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If nobody spoke unless he had something to say, the human race would very soon lose the use of speech.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965), The Painted Veil, 1925
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them.
The case has, in some respects, been not entirely devoid of interest.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930), (Sherlock Holmes)
The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.