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Inside Automotive (Mar 9th, 2018)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted President Trump to push China on car tariffs. Musk responded to Trump’s tweet about a trade deficit with China by saying, “Do you think the US & China should have equal & fair rules for cars? Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints & other factors.” Musk went on to explain that American auto exports going to China are subject to a 25 percent import tariff. American and other foreign automakers that do want to build cars in China are subject to a joint venture with Chinese automakers. During a press conference announcing his steel and aluminum tariffs, Trump read Musk’s tweets and said that at some point he would enforce a “reciprocal tax,” where the U.S. would match Chinese tariffs. Tesla has been trying to open a factory in China, so it could avoid heavy tariffs, but the government will not allow it to operate it without a Chinese joint venture. — THE VERGE

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Uber wants to partner with Waymo on self-driving cars. The Information reports that Uber executives want to allow Uber passengers to ride in Waymo’s self-driving vehicles after settling a lawsuit with Waymo. In 2013, the companies had planned to work together, but former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick decided Uber had to develop its own self-driving cars. There is no indication that Waymo is ready to strike a deal with Uber, as it has already struck a similar deal with Lyft. Waymo has yet to provide any rides to Lyft customers. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is likely aware that Waymo’s technology is more advanced than Uber’s and a partnership would accelerate the deployment of autonomous cars on Uber's network. — THE INFORMATION

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Eric Branderiz, Tesla’s chief accounting officer, is exiting the company. Branderiz also served as the automaker’s corporate controller stepped down for "personal reasons" on Wednesday, according to a regulatory filing. In the filing, the company said "Tesla appreciates Eric’s service to the company," but declined to comment further on the matter. This follows a series of departures for high-profile executives at the company, including chief financial officer Jason Wheeler and president of global sales and service Jon McNeill. — BLOOMBERG

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Uber filed patents to allow self-driving car riders to experience VR. The ride-hailing company filed two nearly identical patent applications in 2016, both titled "Virtual Reality Experience For a Vehicle," which were published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office last month. Uber’s system would use self-driving car sensor data to generate a unique virtual environment for riders. For example, it could be a game that is synchronized with the car’s motions. Uber has worked on tools to fight motion sickness in its cars and has filed for a few patents in that area. — MOTHERBOARD

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An executive for Subaru’s UK division has cast doubts on the future of the manual transmission. Subaru’s managing director for its UK division, Chris Graham, said that the company may decide to eliminate manual transmissions as it focuses on its safety technology, like EyeSight. “I’m not sure if it’s compatible at all with a manual gearbox,” he says about EyeSight. “There are certainly no rumors we’ve heard that manual [transmissions] will continue, or Eyesight will be [offered] with manual.” This decision could be limited to the UK and not pass into the United States, one of Subaru’s most profitable markets at the moment. — AUTOBLOG

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