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May 22nd, 2017 Car News of the Day: Two CEOs resign, Feds opens probe on Hyundai and Kia cars

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【Summary】Car News of the Day for May 22nd, 2017.

Original Claire    May 22, 2017 4:05 PM PT
May 22nd, 2017 Car News of the Day: Two CEOs resign, Feds opens probe on Hyundai and Kia cars

Jim Hackett to replace Mark Fields as Ford's new CEO

Ford confirmed today that Jim Hackett will become the company's new President and CEO, meanwhile ex-CEO Mark Fields "decided to retire following 28 years with the automaker." This is just one week after Ford reported huge first quarter profit losses and plans of cutting 1,400 employees globally.

The company says its new CEO Jim Hackett has a "long track record of innovation and business success" as CEO of Steelcase, Interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan, and also executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC. He will report to Chairman Bill Ford and help the company transform to meet future challenges, such as enhancing operational execution including quality improvement, product launches, and dealing with underperforming parts of the business.

LeEco founder YT Jia resigns as CEO of Leshi

636283974190625000.jpgFacing continuous struggles with cash flow and an overly expanded market, Chinese tech giant Leshi disclosed in a Shenzhen Stock Exchange filing last weekend that its founder Yueting Jia will resign from the CEO position. However, Jia will keep his Chairman position at Leshi.

Liang Jun, a Leshi vice president who joined the company five years ago from Lenovo, will take over as CEO. Also Yang Lijie, chief financial officer of Leshi will be resigning for personal reasons and will be replaced by Zheng Wei, its China CFO.

LeEco recently raised $2.2 billion from new investors to solve its financial crisis. Meanwhile, China Bridge Capital sold more than 60 million shares of Leshi in the first quarter of 2017, as its founder Edward Zeng called for LeEco to find a new CEO to better its management team.

Aston Martin considers an IPO with $3B Valuation

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According to Bloomberg, an insider revealed that luxury car maker Aston Martin may consider an initial public offering in London as early as next year. The decision has yet to be finalized and the automaker is waiting to report its 2017 financial results before moving ahead the process.

Aston Martin spokesman said the company is "100 percent focused on the delivery of our seven-year business plan" and "matters pertaining to the future structure or ownership of the company are a matter for our shareholders."

The company could aim for a valuation similar to the Italian sports car maker Ferrari, whose shares have increased by 62% since its IPO. Ferrari's shares trade at 14 times estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for 2017, reaching 2.3 billion pounds ($3 billion).

Echodyne raises $29 million in new round, investors including Bill Gates

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Seattle-based radar startup Echodyne has raised $29 million in new round of funding, led by investors including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital.

This is the second time Bill Gates invested in Echodyne. The new financial backup brings the company's total capital raised to $44 million. Echodyne is making compact and lightweight radar system that could be installed on drones used for commercial purposes. The company is also developing its radar systems for cars.

Echodyne plans to use its funding for research and development, and increase the production size from hundreds of radars annually to thousands, according to its CEO Eben Frankenberg.

"We are also building an entire platform around radar vision, the computer vision-like software that sits on top of it." he said.

Federal government to investigate on 1.7 million Hyundai, Kia cars

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U.S. regulators have opened a formal investigation on the recall of 1.7 million vehicles by Hyundai and Kia over engine defects, according to filings published last Saturday.

The ex-Hyundai engineer Kim Gwang-ho who flew to Washington last year, revealed to the NHTSA that there were engine defects and nine other faults on certain Hyundai car models, citing 250 pages of internal documents. In March of this year, Hyundai expanded its previous U.S. recall to 572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles with its "Theta II" engines. Meanwhile, Kia recalled 618,160 Optima, Sorento, and Sportage models which use the same engine.

The federal government opened a probe on May 18 into "both the timeliness and scope" of the "Theta II" engine recalls and their "compliance with reporting requirements."

A Hyundai spokesman in Seoul, Korea said the company "has conducted recalls in compliance with U.S. regulations and procedure" and will "sincerely" cooperate with the investigation.


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