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Inside Transportation (Jan 16th, 2020)

1. Joby Aviation has raised $590 million in its Series C round of funding, led by a $394 million investment from Toyota. Joby is developing an electric air taxi service and is also creating its own eVTOLS in-house. As a part of Toyota’s investment, Joby will be able to benefit from the automaker’s expertise in vehicle manufacturing. Joby has raised a total of $720 million from investors, including Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures and Toyota AI Ventures, among others. Toyota’s EVP Shigeki Tomoyama will also join Joby’s board. — TECHCRUNCH

2. Three senior Uber finance managers are leaving the company. Among those departing: Delphine Bernard, who ran finance operations for the company and played a role in Uber’s IPO; Sujoy Haldar, who was the head of finance for Uber's core ride-hailing service; and Sam Sharma, who served as the head of finance for Uber Eats in the U.S. and Canada. All three employees have spent more than four years at the company, meaning their stock compensation packages likely would have vested by now. Despite their departures, Uber’s finance organization has grown by about 200 people in the last year. — THE INFORMATION

3. Throwback Thursday: Kia Enters The U.S. Market

Before 1986, there were no South Korean automakers present in the American car market. That quickly changed when Hyundai arrived and introduced a low-priced subcompact vehicle, the Excel. Although Hyundai initially experienced unprecedented growth, independent tests and complaints by Excel owners showed issues with reliability and quality. Hyundai's sales eventually plunged.

Not to be discouraged, competing underdog Korean automaker Kia expressed its interest in entering the U.S. market in 1992. Kia promised “Japanese” vehicle quality, but at sticker prices 10 to 15 percent lower than comparable Japanese automaker models.

Eventually, Hyundai acquired a controlling share of Kia by 1998, but both auto brands remain active in both the U.S. and globally today.

Read more about Kia’s emergence into the U.S. market in the New York Times.

4. To commemorate the window shattering at the Tesla Cybertruck unveil, the automaker is now selling a t-shirt. The t-shirt is emblazoned with a graphic of the shatter that occurred on the Cybertruck’s driver-side window, when Tesla lead designer Franz von Holzhausen threw a steel ball in an attempt to show the window’s durability. The t-shirt retails for $45 and features the “Cybertruck” logo on the back of the shirt. — TECHCRUNCH

5. After its IPO lockup period expired, Goldman Sachs sold off its stake in Uber. On the bank’s earnings call, Goldman Sachs chief financial officer Stephen Scherr said Uber closed its position in the ride-hailing company in Q4 of 2019. Goldman Sachs owned about 10 million shares of Uber at the time of its IPO and the bank was restricted from selling shares until six months after the offering. — BLOOMBERG

6. The Trump administration reportedly threatened to impose a 25 percent tariff on European automobiles if Germany, France and Britain did not warn Iran of breaches in the nuclear deal. Within days of the threat, all three countries formally accused the country of violating the deal, which triggered a provision that could reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran. President Trump previously used the threat of 25 percent tariffs on cars as a way to obtain a more favorite trade agreement with the European Union. — WASHINGTON POST

7. Chinese automaker GAC said it was in early discussions with EV startup Nio about a financing proposal. Nio said it was exploring strategic opportunities with GAC, but did not specify the size of the potential funding. Reports speculated that the deal would be worth north of $1 billion, but GAC later clarified that any potential investment would not exceed $150 million. The deal has not been finalized. — REUTERS

8. GM has selected a site in Lordstown, Ohio for its new battery production facility it will run with LG Chem. GM previously owned the 158-acre property located near its Lordstown assembly site, but sold it in 2014 to the developer of an industrial park. The park was never developed, which led to GM’s re-purchasing of the site. GM and LG Chem jointly plan to invest $2.3 billion into the facility. — DETROIT NEWS

9. Some transportation advocates worry that changes made in California to Uber’s policies could lead to discrimination. Drivers can now see where they are transporting passengers and can decline rides without penalty. While this is good for drivers, it may also lead to some discrimination against people who are traveling to less desirable neighborhoods. Uber implemented these changes to shield itself from being forced to re-classify its drivers as company employees under Assembly Bill 5. — SF CHRONICLE

10. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ranked the best (and worst) airlines of 2019. The publication ranked Delta Air Lines highest, giving them high rankings in on-time arrivals, a lower rate of canceled flights and few occurrences of involuntary bumping. Surprisingly, WSJ ranked two budget airlines, Spirit and Frontier, higher than legacy airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines. — WSJ

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

Edited by Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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