May 18th, 2017 Car News of the Day: GM to quit Indian market, Uber launches freight service

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【Summary】Car News of the Day for May 18th, 2017.

Original Claire    May 18, 2017 5:14 PM PT
May 18th, 2017 Car News of the Day: GM to quit Indian market, Uber launches freight service

GM to quit Indian market and close factory in Africa

General Motors is planning to pull out of Indian market by the end of this year, and sell its operations in South Africa, to focus its money and talent base on more profitable markets.

The Detroit giant will be investing $500 million in the second quarter to restructure operations in India, Africa and Singapore. The company will cancel a planned $1 billion investment to build a new line of low-cost vehicles in India.

About $200 million of the charge will be cash expense, according to the company. The moves are planned to save $100 million a year in GM's global business, which lost almost $800 million last year alone.

After quitting the unprofitable markets, the company stressed it will focus on the stronger markets, including China, and the North American pickup and SUV business. Meanwhile, GM is also investing about $600 million annually to develop self-driving vehicles and transportation services.

Gogoro and Bosch launch E-scooter sharing service in Paris


Paris has become the second city after Berlin to start the Gogoro EV smartscooter sharing service. A fleet of 600 electric scooters will be available for short-time rentals starting this summer through Bosch's Coup Mobility service.

Coup is the result of an innovation partnership with BCG Digital Ventures and collaboration with Gogoro. It uses a smartphone app to reserve and rent the scooters. Users simply need to book a scooter rental, ride it to their destination, leave it parked and the rental period ends. The pilot program in Berlin was so well received that the fleet grew from 200 to 1000 scooters.

Gogoro CEO Horace Luke mentioned the reason Paris was selected is because it's one of the most congested cities in all of Europe. A smartscooter will be a natural fit for the city compared with cars. Instead of charging the two-wheeler, riders will pull up to a GoStation, exchange the batteries and they're on their way.

Uber Freight to connect drivers with available shipments


Uber announced today its Uber Freight service, that connects trucking companies with any requests of shipment needs. It's an app that looks much like the Uber ride-hailing service, but targeting experienced and approved truck drivers. A truck driver will browse for nearby available loads, see destination information, distance required and payment, then tap the app to book.

This new service to addresses the current pain point for freight business: as a traditional service, it usually takes too long to communicate and get payments; plus many freight businesses are owned by individual truck drivers, making the service fragmented and inefficient.

Uber Freight claims the pay will be "within a few days, fee-free, for every single load." When payments don't go through quickly, Uber will pay additional fees depending on the wait periods.

Audi is recalling almost every A7 sold in US the past 3 years


The luxury auto giant Audi is recalling one of its flagship models. The A7 luxury mid-size car introduced in 2010, has some problem with the side curtain airbags, which made the manufacturer recall 17,694 of the A7 models in the U.S. to have the airbag units replaced.

The recall covers certain 2015, 2016, and 2017 models, which affects nearly 83 percent of those units sold so far, including S7 and RS7 performance models.

The airbags were supplied by the German division of Michigan-based supplier Key Safety Systems. The replacement process is expected to begin at the end of June.

U.S. to sue Fiat Chrysler over diesel emissions testing


Two insider sources told Autoblog on Wednesday that the Justice Department plans to sue Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over excess diesel emissions as early as this week, if no agreement is reached with the carmaker.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused FCA in January of using undisclosed software to allow excess diesel emissions in 10,400 cars and SUV's. This was discovered when the regulators were investigating FCA's rival Volkswagen AG. The organization aligned with California Air Resources Board is talking with FCA about the issue right now, to decide upon the approval of selling 2017 FCA diesel models.

FCA replied yesterday that any litigation would be "counterproductive" to the ongoing discussions, and if that happens, "FCA US will defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the company deliberately installed defeat devices to cheat US emission tests."

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