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Inside Automotive (Aug 14th, 2019)

1. Tesla is now selling its Model 3 sedan in South Korea. The company’s vehicles usually cost more overseas, due to additional transportation costs and import tariffs, but the South Korean government is offering subsidies to make EVs more affordable to buyers. The national government offers an incentive of about $7,465, while individual provinces offer subsidies of up to $9,120. This would make an entry-level Model 3 for around $27,000 for buyers that qualify for the maximum incentives. By comparison, an entry-level Model 3 costs $35,000 in the U.S. and the federal government offers a tax incentive of $1,875. — CNET

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2. Automakers are making a push to expand electric vehicles in South Africa. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, which includes South African automaker subsidiaries of BMW, Toyota, Nissan and Volkswagen, says it is preparing a unified stance on EVs, which it will present to the government by the end of the year. One of the goals of the group is to drop a 23 percent import tariff on electric vehicles, while also rolling out expanded, reliable vehicle charging infrastructure. — BLOOMBERG

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3. Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that Rivian is working with Ford on an electric vehicle. Ford recently struck a deal with Volkswagen to use its MEB electric vehicle platform, making it the first outside automaker to use MEB. This is while it also made a $500 million investment into Rivian, which is also developing vehicles under its own brand. Hackett said Ford is focused on using MEB's platform to expand its European vehicle lineup, while using its partnership with Rivian to develop larger vehicles for the U.S. market. — MOTOR TREND

Your take: Do you think a partnership with Rivian will be a game-changer for Ford? Hit reply and let me know your thoughts. Your comments may be published in Friday's Inside Auto. 

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4. GM and Volkswagen are committed to developing battery-electric vehicles, skipping production of hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles. This comes after GM discontinued production of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid sedan. Executives at both Volkswagen and GM say are concentrating their investment on battery-electric technology, in an effort to skip hybrids and plug-in hybrid production altogether. This is while Ford and Toyota continue to be committed to plug-in hybrid vehicles. — WSJ

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5. Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased that the automaker is working on upgrades to “Sentry Mode.” Musk’s tweet was in response to a Tesla driver who asked if he would be able to watch Sentry Mode video on the car’s in-vehicle screen. Sentry Mode is a Tesla security feature that captures video, but users must import a USB into their computer in order to watch. Musk’s tweet indicates that the automaker may be working on that upgrade for the system, and potentially more. — @ELONMUSK/TWITTER

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6. A Canadian legislator is proposing a fine for drivers who block access to electric vehicle charging stations. An MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament) for Markham-Stouffville in the Canadian province of Ontario, Paul Calandra, is proposing a $125 fine for vehicles that take up EV charging spaces but are not plugged in. The legislation would affect all drivers throughout Ontario, which includes the biggest city in Canada, Toronto. — THE STAR

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7. Financial Times profiles DeepBlue, an AI company developing self-driving technologies in China. The company has developed a self-driving “Panda” bus that is operating in 10 cities across China. DeepBlue will expand to 10 more cities by the end of the year. The company is expanding outside of China, securing deals to deliver buses on a trial basis to Greece and Thailand. — FINANCIAL TIMES

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8. Automotive News’ Michael Martinez tweeted that Ford is extending the clutch warranty on select models of the Ford Focus and Fiesta. The warranty will be extended by two years and 40,000 miles for select models with dual-clutch transmissions. Ford also said it would reimburse customers who paid for clutch repairs that are now covered by the extension. The vehicles have reportedly been having myriads of clutch issues. — @MIKEMARTINEZ_AN/TWITTER

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9. Former Volkswagen Group Canada CEO Daniel Weissland will lead Audi of America. This comes after Mark Del Rosso abruptly stepped down from his position at the automaker. He was replaced on an interim basis by COO Cian O’Brien, who will remain in the COO position. In Canada, Weissland led Volkswagen to record sales in 2018, selling 118,448 new cars in 2018. — AUTO NEWS

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10. FEEDBACK

I asked you all about a “yellowing screen” issue affecting Tesla drivers. Here’s what some of you said (some responses may be edited for brevity). Thanks again for chiming in! 

Julian O: Our screen has had the yellow band for a long time but we don't notice it any more. If Tesla can find a fix, well and good, but it's not worth making a fuss about.

Greg B: Tesla absolutely must fix the yellowing screens under warranty as it does not sound like wear and tear. The screen is essential for use of car. 

Dana S: We have this issue with our S and heard the same response at the Service Center. What is infuriating is that 12 months ago we needed to replace the MCU (screen plus computer) outside of warranty at a cost of $2K. I think the est. cost to Tesla for the screen repair is well under $2K. My question is why can they not push the cost burden to the supplier?

My take: This is actually a good point. Tesla is not likely the producer of these screens. If they are defective, why not bring it to up the supplier and try to get them fixed that way? Hmm…

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including Forbes and The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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