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May 2, 2017 News of the Day: The Detroit Three sees declining sales, Zoox hires longtime Ferrari Executive

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【Summary】News of the Day for May 2, 2017.

Original Claire    May 02, 2017 3:31 PM PT
May 2, 2017 News of the Day: The Detroit Three sees declining sales, Zoox hires longtime Ferrari Executive

GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler all post declining April sales

The three largest U.S. automakers, known as the Detroit Three, all released decreasing sales data for month of April, compared with April of last year.

General Motors sold 244,200 vehicles in the U.S. in April, which is a 4% decrease in retail sales from April of last year, yet the company said it expects to gain market share in the retail sales category. Ford sold 213,436 vehicles last month, which is a 10.5% drop from its April 2016 sales, and Fiat Chrysler sold 172,960 vehicles last month, a 3% decrease over the same month last year. Fiat Chrysler's fleet sales tumbled 21%, which the company partially blamed on the discontinued Chrysler 200, a model popular with rental car companies.

Autonomous Car Startup Zoox hires longtime Ferrari Executive

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California car start-up Zoox recently added one more expert to its engineering team. Corrado Lanzone, the former operations director of Ferrari SpA's racing division, has joined the autonomous car company as its vice president of manufacturing operations.

Lanzone had a two-decade career at Scuderia Ferrari, and "oversaw manufacturing, purchasing, quality assurance, and managed relationships with more than 100 Tier-1 suppliers." said the Menlo Park, California company in a statement. 

The company added that Lanzone's expertise could help "execute on our ambition to deliver autonomous mobility, without compromise."

This is the second senior executive that Zoox recruited into its squad, after hiring former head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Mark Rosekind, as its chief safety innovation officer last month. 

Elio Motors asking for $376 million to fund its production

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The three-wheeled vehicle company Elio Motors filed its recent reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying it hopes to begin production in 2018. However, the company said it still needs $376 million to begin production. This is a $64 million increase compared with its previous estimate of $312 million. 

The Arizona startup founded in 2009 has ambitious plan of developing its ultra fuel efficient three-wheeled vehicle, which can get up to 84 miles per gallon. The vehicle is expected to be priced at $7300. 

"At this time the Company is focusing its efforts on raising capital through a combination of debt and equity offerings. Once capital has been raised, the company will resume engineering, manufacturing, and sales and marketing efforts."

Currently Elio has 28 employees on its payroll. It is not known when the company plans to begin its next round of fundraising. Elio Motors has been delaying the release date of its three wheeled vehicle since 2014, making industry analysts question whether Elio could deliver its car on time. 

A New Recycling Company related to Tesla

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A new filing processed by SEC(Securities Exchange Commission) suggests that Tesla might be working on another new company. A $2 million investment from Tesla in a company called Redwood Materials in Redwood City, California is shown in the filing. The company describes itself as focusing on "advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing and reuse."

Tesla's cofounder and CTO JB Straubel and Tesla's head of special projects, Andrew Stevens are both executives officers at Redwood Materials. 

Moreover, in a keynote speech given at Carnegie Mellon University last month, Steven highlighted that "rethinking the materials supply chain" is an area that Tesla was currently targeting. Other areas of concentration include "selling sustainable energy", "scaling its service and support", and "recruiting and education."

Lexus reveals its future fuel cell concept

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Japanese automaker Lexus filed a new trademark with United States Patent and Trademark Office, to protect the "LS-FC Concept" name from others, specifically intended for use with "automobiles and structural parts thereof." That move hints at a fuel cell (FC) variant of the recently revealed Lexus LS flagship sedan. The auto giant is eyeing the year 2020 to introduce a fuel cell version of its flagship sedan. Its parent company Toyota, hopes to reach its sales goal of 30,000 fuel cell vehicles by the same year. 

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