New Ford CEO scores pay hike, $1 million signing bonus

Ford’s Jim Hackett got a nice bump in pay to go with his new CEO title.

His annual base salary will now be $1.8 million, up from the $716,000 he was earning as the head of the Ford unit developing self-driving cars. Since he’s assuming the new job roughly five months into the year, the raise will take his base pay for the year to just over $1 million.

He’ll also get a $1 million signing bonus, as well as a performance-based bonus worth up to $3.6 million.

In addition, he’ll get stock grants that could be worth as much as $6 million that are also tied to job performance.

Hackett’s new annual base salary is roughly on par with what his predecessor Mark Fields received in 2016, though Hackett is getting $12,500 more.

Fields’ 2017 salary?? has yet to be reported. But his total compensation last year came to $22.1 million including stock and bonuses. Hackett total package could end up being of comparable value when the shorter time in the top job this year is taken into account.

Ford’s shares plummeted nearly 40% during Fields’ tenure, and he was replaced by Hackett on Monday. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the great-grandson of the company founder, said the company needed to move faster to develop a new generation of electric and self-driving cars.

Follow this story

Elon Musk says Tesla can’t yet launch in India

It looks like Tesla won’t be coming to India anytime soon.

CEO Elon Musk suggested on Monday that plans to begin selling cars in India as soon as this summer have been delayed.

“Maybe I’m misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply doesn’t yet exist in India to support that,” Musk tweeted in reply to a question about whether Tesla would launch in India this year or next.

The billionaire entrepreneur didn’t go into detail, but Musk’s response suggests the company is no longer targeting a summer launch, a possibility he suggested in February.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

India has traditionally pushed foreign firms to make their products in the country, or source a high percentage from local markets.

Last year, the government changed the rules in an attempt to make the country more attractive to foreign retailers.

Single-brand retailers were given additional time to meet a requirement that 30% of merchandise be sourced locally.

Many foreign firms still find the relaxed regulations too onerous.

There are other potential hurdles for Tesla to overcome. If its cars were imported from abroad, they would likely be subject to hefty import duties.

India’s crowded roads and unreliable electricity grid are also not well suited to Tesla’s sleek battery-powered cars.

Musk has had his eye on the market of 1.3 billion potential buyers for some time, even including India in the list of countries where Tesla’s new Model 3 was available for pre-order.

In another tweet in March last year, Musk said he wanted to build a network of superchargers — the roadside stations that replenish Tesla batteries — across India.

If Tesla does make it to India, its electric cars could help make a big dent in the country’s notorious air pollution.

The experience of another Silicon Valley firm could be instructive, however.

Apple’s efforts to set up retail stores in the South Asian nation have so far been stymied by the rules on local production.

After prolonged negotiations with the Indian government — and a visit by CEO Tim Cook last year — the company finally decided to start making iPhones at a plant in Bangalore run by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron.

Last week, Apple confirmed that it would soon start selling those iPhones in India. Retail stores could be next.

Follow this story

Elon Musk says Tesla doesn’t ‘deserve’ market value

Elon Musk thinks the value of his electric carmaker, Tesla, has gotten out of control.

“I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve,” Musk was quoted as saying in an interview published in The Guardian on Thursday.

Tesla’s stock has soared by more than 40% this year based on investor optimism about prospects for the company’s first mass market car, the Model 3.

That’s pushed Tesla’s market capitalization above $50 billion, meaning the money-losing company is worth more than Ford and General Motors.

Tesla made about 84,000 cars last year, equivalent to just 1% of Ford or GM’s annual sales.

It plans to ramp up production to 500,000 electric cars a year. But that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the millions churned out by bigger auto industry players.

And Tesla is losing a lot of money. Earlier this month, the firm reported a loss of $330 million for the first three months of the year. That was worse than expected.

Launching a car company is “the worst way to earn money, honestly,” Musk told the newspaper.

This isn’t the first time he’s warned investors that they may be getting ahead of themselves. Back in 2013, he used very similar language about the company’s market value after a 400% gain in 10 months.

At other times, he’s appeared to talk up the valuation.

In early 2015, he predicted the automaker could be worth $700 billion by 2025 — roughly as much as Apple. That was when Tesla was worth just $25 billion.

Follow this story

Volkswagen’s CEO now under investigation

German prosecutors have opened an investigation into whether Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller kept investors in the dark about the automaker’s massive diesel emissions scandal.

The Stuttgart prosecutor confirmed Wednesday that it was investigating Müller on suspicion of market manipulation following a complaint from the German financial regulator, Bafin.

Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn are also under also investigation.

Müller was head of Porsche when the scandal broke in 2015, but was elevated to group CEO following the resignation of Winterkorn.

All three men were directors of Porsche SE, the holding company that owns 52% of Volkswagen. Porsche SE is controlled by the Porsche and Piëch families but a small number of its shares are listed on the Frankfurt stock market.

Jan Holzner, a prosecutor in Stuttgart, said that companies listed on the stock exchange have an obligation to immediately disclose to investors any information that is likely to have a significant impact on share prices.

Bafin says it has grounds to believe that VW executives were late to inform investors about the financial consequences of the diesel scandal.

Volkswagen and Porsche did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The automaker has tried to turn the page on its massive emissions scandal in recent months, agreeing to pay billions of dollars in federal fines and pleading guilty to criminal charges in the U.S.

But legal problems have continued to dog the firm, which sold more cars than any of its global rivals last year.

Last year, German prosecutors said they were investigating Winterkorn on suspicion of manipulating the market in the company’s shares.

Volkswagen later confirmed Pötsch was also under investigation.

In March, German prosecutors raided the headquarters of Volkswagen and Audi as part of a continued investigation into the group’s use of software to cheat diesel emissions tests.

Follow this story