It’s not just Volkswagen – Daimler is also radically shifting gears from fuel-combustion engines to electric power. CEO Dieter Zetsche’s first in a new generation of e-cars will be based on Mercedes’ GLC model SUV. According to our sources, it will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this fall. We give you all the details and an advanced look at the car in today’s exclusive coverage.
Normally, Volkswagen shareholders gather once a year to praise solid sales growth and robust returns. As you read this, they are hearing about the automaker’s €1.4 billion loss in 2015 – the biggest in its history – and a drastically reduced dividend. On top of that, investigators this week announced a probe into whether ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn and other top managers violated their duty to shareholders by withholding news of Dieselgate. The supervisory board must decide today which side of the barricade it is on – the side seeking the truth or the one perpetuating VW’s problems.
While Germany’s traditional carmakers tinker with what’s under the hood, Tesla CEO Elon Musk already knows the future is electric – and sunny. The Silicon Valley scion offered to buy SolarCity for $2.8 billion in an experiment to merge e-cars and solar roof technology into a lifestyle package. Investors responded by sending Tesla shares down 13 percent. Seems Musk’s vision of the future will have to wait for brighter days.
Instead of endorsing Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron is focusing on the consequences of leaving it. His “Project Fear,” as Britons are calling it, has left the man at the top isolated. Tomorrow’s vote is not only on whether Britain should remain in the European Union, but also on whether Cameron should remain in office. His Conservative Party allies will grab the opportunity by the hair – or in this case, Cameron’s scalp.
To understand the British mood, pack your bag and head to the countryside. Our reporters have visited factories and farms around the country, including Hull, where a Siemens plant manager received over 14,000 applications for 1,000 open positions. Unemployment and the number of foreigners have doubled, turning this former industrial stronghold into a hotbed of E.U. resentment. South of Edinburgh in Scotland, Marion Tilson, who owns 2,000 farm animals, also harbors a grudge against Europe. The bureaucratic dictates from Brussels have quadrupled, she says. Now, 75 percent of U.K. farmers will vote to leave the E.U. Our conclusion? Anti-E.U. sentiment is not just a mood – in many parts of Britain it is a way of life.
Handelsblatt Global Edition’s Allison Williams of Wales makes a heartfelt appeal to her countrymen to give future generations the same advantages she had: “I want to stay. I’m a Brit, but a European at heart. I first came to work in Europe after I left school and, young and clueless, went to Rome. I later moved to Germany, thrilled at the chance to explore the country, its society and values. I’ve been lucky. What right has this generation to take away the benefits we have from future generations?” She visited Wales recently to see if residents there agree.
Our makeshift London headquarters is buzzing with the who’s who of the City. Yesterday Lenny Fischer, an investment banker, stopped by for an interview with Handelsblatt Global, as did MEP David McAllister. Today Financial Times editor Lionel Barber lends us his insight, and tomorrow we meet with Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan, a native of northern England. Between the heavy discussions, we will keep the mood lively with jazz, pop and folk band performances. Work hard, play hard, party hearty. To join us, just send an email to Handelsblatt Club Manager Frederike von Tucher at email@example.com.