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Inside Automotive

Inside Automotive (Oct 25th, 2019)

1. Car subscription startup Fair has laid off about 40 percent of its staff. CFO Tyler Painter (the brother of CEO Scott Painter) will be one of those leaving the company. Fair did not confirm the final number of layoffs, but TechCrunch estimated it will be about 215 people. It is unclear which specific parts of the company will be affected, but CEO Scott Painter said there are no plans to shut down any operations. The company has raised about $500 million in equity from prominent investors, including SoftBank, and has worked closely with Uber on its leasing program. —TECHCRUNCH

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2. After Tesla’s stock rise this week, CNBC reports that short sellers collectively lost about $1 billion. The stock had its best day on Wall Street since 2013 on Thursday, rising over 16.5 percent, closing at $299.68 per share. As a result, the stock increase wiped about 70 percent of short sellers year-to-date profits, according to estimates from S3 Analytics. Tesla is the most shorted stock in the U.S. — CNBC

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3. Follow Friday: Peter Campbell

One person that I recommend that you should follow is Peter Campbell, who is a motor industry correspondent for the Financial Times. Peter has done some killer reporting on both legacy automakers, like Nissan and BMW, and disruptive companies, Tesla. 

For instance, Campbell was the one to report that Dyson was pulling the plug on its electric vehicle project. He also reported on a major shutdown at a Jaguar Land Rover production facility, while also covering an internal “civil war” at Nissan over the replacement of its former CEO. 

Campbell shares many of his stories on his Twitter account, along with other relevant auto stories from the Financial Times. In one of his tweets, he indicated that stories about Tesla outstrip interest of any other story on the FT website. 

You can follow him on Twitter here or read his Financial Times stories here

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4. One of the most interesting Twitter threads I have found in a while: A Tesla short seller said he is no longer shorting the company, explaining what he learned about his experience as a short seller using gifs from "The Simpsons.” @RyanDoherty47 said he lost the majority of his net worth shorting the company, but ended up seeing this as a positive experience. He admitted his mistake was chasing his losses rather than investing, taking “bigger swings” to make back what he lost. He did say he still believes Tesla is “operationally deficient” and cannot sustainability. — @RYANDOHERTY47 - TWITTER

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5. Nissan is considering the sale of two European production facilities and discontinuing the Datsun brand. Bloomberg reports that the automaker is reaching out to potential buyers for its facilities in Spain and the UK, amid falling Nissan sales in the region and a shift to electrification, which will require substantial investment. However, publicly, the company said it has no plans to sell those facilities. — BLOOMBERG

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6. Some workers at GM parts production facilities are opposing the deal negotiated by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. GM has a class of workers who aren’t paid equally with others in this deal, including about 3,000 employees of a GM subsidiary, General Motors Components Holdings (GMCH). While the tentative agreement between the UAW and GM said full-time employees could eventually reach $32.32 per hour by the end of their contract, the deal with GMCH employees tops out at $22.50 per hour, after eight years of employment. The majority of the GMCH facilities that have held a vote whether to ratify the deal have overwhelmingly voted no. — AUTO NEWS

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7. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has proposed a $454 million, 10-year plan that would help Americans buy electric vehicles. The assistance would come in the form of cash vouchers, which would offer buyers $3,000 or more in an effort to transition about 25 percent of the US-based vehicles to electric powertrains, in an effort to reduce the impact of climate change. The proposal would follow similar rules to 2009’s “Cash for Clunkers” program. — REUTERS

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8. Uber is updating the “Beacon” gadget found in the ride-hailing company’s vehicles. The display is designed to sit on the car’s dashboard and resembles a similar tool used by Lyft vehicles. Uber’s original Beacon does not have a display for text, while the new version of Uber’s does. The tool will glow a specific color, as selected by the passenger, in an effort to better identify vehicles. The digital display will also remind drivers to wear their seat belt, along with other common courtesy gestures. — THE VERGE

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9. Volkswagen is re-designing the Golf hatchback with more advanced connectivity and automated driving features. The re-designed vehicle will be available in Germany in 2020, while the re-designed Golf vehicles will not be available in the US market until 2021. The Golf will be equipped with a travel assist function that can actively steer, accelerate and stop the vehicle on highways, at speeds up to 130 mph. Much like Tesla’s “Autopilot” system, drivers must keep one hand on the wheel. The Golf will also be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, capable of predicting hazards. — AUTO NEWS

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10. Over on /r/TeslaMotors, Redditors discuss the future of the upcoming Tesla pickup truck. Redditor iltdiTX argues that the pickup is going to “absolutely change the game,” as its a departure from conventional thinking. This thought sparked a conversation of over 285 comments, with many others excited, but nervous about the design and range. — /R/TESLAMOTORS - REDDIT

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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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