I’m not sure whether it is me, or whether news reporting has got much better. But I certainly do not remember, in all of my time in the automotive industry, so many different investigations into car manufacturers. Yesterday it was announced that Porsche were under a new investigation into potential fraud. A number of people including their CEO, their FD and HR boss were all reported to be included in the probe. Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, reported that the issue was around “fraud against Porsche” relating to the “unjustified” and “disproportionately large” payments to a worker representative in terms of salary, bonuses and compensation.

But the big news of the week, however, is around Renault and Fiat Chrysler’s potential tie-up. The announcement has been greeted with enthusiasm in Italy it seems, but less so in France. And questions have been asked about Nissan, who are naturally holding Renault at arms length at this moment in time, in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn saga. Such a tie-up could mean that the French car maker could do without its Japanese partner, which prompts big question marks over the latter’s future survival and in an increasingly polarised manufacturing market.If it all of this was not bad enough for carmakers around the world, Pres Trump this week announced increased tariffs against Mexico. Most notably over car imports, causing a number of manufacturers share prices to fall around the world. Intriguingly, Tesla announced today that it is soon to start selling its Model3 in China, substantially undercutting imported vehicles because of local production. It is ironic when things like tariffs have potentially the opposite effect to the one you were setting out to create, this time moving production of Tesla from the US so they could remain competitive.

Finally, news that UK Automotive production fell disastrously in April to 50% of its previous levels. Admittedly some of this was down to some factories closing for two weeks. This was planned to allow them to adjust to our exit from the European Union, which never happened. Good planning, but had they been flat out, I am sure they would have found a way to reopen the factories. We’ve probably produced almost as many Conservative leader candidates as we have cars in the past few weeks.

Have a great weekend, I gather there’s a football match to watch tomorrow night if you’re at a loose end.

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