May 16th, 2017 Car News of the Day: BMW tops Chinese luxury market, SolarCity founder leaving Tesla

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【Summary】Car News of the Day for May 16th, 2017.

Original Claire    May 16, 2017 4:32 PM PT
May 16th, 2017 Car News of the Day: BMW tops Chinese luxury market, SolarCity founder leaving Tesla

BMW tops the luxury car chart in China

BMW and its Mini marque have seen a jump of 39% last month in total unit sales in the Chinese market, to 48,869 units, topping Mercedes sales increase of 35% and 47,627 vehicles sold, and Audi sales decrease of 6.9% with 46,166 units sold.

For the first four months of 2017, BMW's sales surged 18% compared with last year, and reached a total of 191,697 units. In order to keep the good score, BMW plans to double its production in China to 600,000 vehicles over the next 5 years. Meanwhile, the company will upgrade its assembly factories so that they can make electric cars.

The luxury brand is in a joint-venture partnership in China with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

SolarCity founder Lyndon Rive leaving Tesla in June


Lyndon Rive, CEO and co-founder of SolarCity before it got acquired by Tesla, will leave the EV company in June. He announced the departure on Monday, saying he wants to spend more time with family and to spin up a new company sometime next year.

Rive is Elon Musk's cousin, and co-founded SolarCity in 2006 with his brother Peter. Tesla acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion in August last year, paving the way for Musk's ambition for a green energy and transportation company.

In his interview with Reuters, Rive said he is more interested in "starting and running companies," but it's also true that Tesla has changed strategy and impacted Rive's original vision of providing low-cost, widespread distribution of aftermarket installations for everyday people.

Tesla in an open statement thanked Lyndon's 11-year contribution to SolarCity, and wished him "the very best on his next venture."

Ford to cut 10% of its workforce in Asia and North America


After its first quarter profits dwindled and its stock price sliding, an insider told Reuters on Monday that Ford Motor Company plans to cut 10% of its salaried employees in North America and Asia.

According to the tipster, Ford will provide generous early retirement plans to reduce its salaried staff by October 1st. However, for its hourly workforce, the company does not have any plans to cut jobs.

Currently, Ford has about 30,000 salaried workers in the United States, and 200,000 globally. The cuts are part of a shrinking strategy to reduce $3 billion in spending, as new car auto sales in the U.S. are showing signs of declining after 7 years of consecutive growth.

The company declined to comment on the job cuts, but stressed it will stick to its core strategy of "driving profitable growth."

Intel, BMW and Mobileye now adding Delphi into their self-driving league


The Intel-BMW-Mobileye league is adding one more partner into their driverless squad: automotive giant Delphi. The four will work together to build an autonomous driving platform.

According to TechCrunch, Delphi will provide key computer components for the system, and has already provided a prototype of the platform which will ultimately be supplied to the collaborative team. Delphi will work directly with Intel and Mobileye on sensor fusion and highly automated driving software.

The companies have set the year 2021 as a target to put their automated driving platform into production. Rather than building a system exclusively for BMW cars, they hope the platform can also be used by other automakers and automotive systems developers.

Delphi earlier this month has spun out its powertrain department to a new company and will remain focused on autonomy and EVs.

NASA to work with FAA on drone management control


According to Los Angeles Times, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry partners, to research requirements needed for drone control.

The regulations will focus on commercial drones that fly at heights or areas where commercial airplanes are operating. Unlike human-controlled air traffic system, the drone operators will use electronic systems to get constraint notifications and flight information.

The NASA will apply the results of its research into testing this summer.

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