Karma Automotive sues the new DeLorean car company over trade secrets, the Infiniti Q60 will soon die, transit authorities across America are getting grants for greener buses. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Karma Automotive Sues DeLorean Over Alleged Trade Secret Violations
Just when you thought the saga of the new EVs with DeLorean badges couldn’t get weirder, the project gets embroiled in new drama. Automotive News reports that Karma Automotive is suing “DeLorean Automotive Reimagined” over alleged intellectual property theft, a fairly serious allegation.
The lawsuit names heaps of people in DeLorean Motors’ C-suite as defendants. The full list of defendants goes as follows: DeLorean Motors CEO Joost de Vries, COO Alan Yuan, Vice President Neilo Harris, and Chief Marketing Officer Troy Beetz, along with Reimagined Automotive and DeLorean Motors Reimagined.
The suit alleges that the high-ranked executives started Reimagined Automotive while “some or all” of the defendants were still employed at Karma. According to the suit, Karma was in the process of negotiating a partnership with DeLorean Motor Co. to electrify the reinvented DeLorean vehicle when the defendants formed their new company and took confidential Karma materials. The suit alleges the defendants “actively concealed information from Karma to keep Karma from pursuing the project or from finding out what individual defendants were doing.”
The suit then claims that the defendants soon left Karma to form Reimagined Automotive, inked a deal with DMC Texas using Karma’s “trade secrets or other confidential information,” and breached fiduciary duties. If these allegations prove true, the defendants could be in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. These are some serious allegations, and one defendant fired back with a statement that alleges some serious issues with Karma.
In a statement obtained by Automotive News, de Vries said: “The potential Karma/DMC project died due to Karma’s inability to fund or produce deliverables necessary to even move forward talks with DMC. DeLorean Motors Reimagined is a completely new entity with a completely new fully electric vehicle unrelated to the low volume replica project. We anticipate the Court seeing through this baseless litigation in short order.”
With parties trading barbs this early, I have a feeling that this saga could get messy. Karma Automotive has previously filed suit against Lordstown Motors alleging trade secret violations, so it’s not like the suit against DeLorean Motors Reimagined came out of nowhere. We’ve reached out to DeLorean for official comment and will update this post as soon as we hear back. Whether or not this suit has merit, we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, would anyone care for some popcorn?
The Infiniti Q60 Will Reportedly Die Next Year
It’s no secret that consumers prefer crossovers to coupes and it looks like Infiniti is taking this market shift seriously. Car And Driver reports that the Infiniti Q60 coupe will exit production in 2023 as the marque refocuses on vehicles with more mass appeal.
The company expects retailers will have units for sale well into 2023. The move is motivated by the increased shift toward purchasing larger crossovers and SUVs by so many American drivers. “We are focusing on the most popular luxury automotive segments such as crossovers and SUVs, as well as the upcoming EV we recently announced that will be built here in the U.S.” according to an Infiniti spokesperson.
With the new Nissan Z sharing an engine and platform with the Q60 and taking over the role of halo car for the Nissan and Infiniti family, I can’t say I’m surprised that the swoopy coupe’s days are numbered. It’s particularly hilarious to see that Infiniti expects supply to last well into 2023. Either they’re ramping up production to get units on lots, or Q60 coupes trickle out of showrooms slower than molasses flows down an iceberg. Pour one out for a great-looking car with an awesome engine, hampered by an outdated gearbox and an appalling optional steer-by-wire system.
U.S. Transit Authorities Get Big Grants For Greener Buses
Let’s give it up for buses, the humble workhorses of public transportation. While they aren’t as ideal as rail transit, buses can be run along existing infrastructure and enable some rather wonderful things. I’m not just talking about affordable transportation, I’m talking about backup for when your unreliable car breaks, cheap pub crawl transportation, and increased commuter density. In an effort to clean up America’s bus fleet, Reuters reports that the U.S. Transportation Department is offering $1.66 billion in grants so transit authorities can buy cleaner, greener buses.
The grants will fund 1,100 zero-emission buses, which will nearly double the existing 1,300 zero-emission transit buses, the White House said.
The funding for 150 bus fleets from the $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law will help cities and states retire older polluting buses.
The funding will also buy 700 buses, which include hybrid-electric, natural gas and diesel models. “These grants are going to be used in every corner of this country,” White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters.
I’m going to give this bit of news a big “hell yeah.” Newer buses are always nice, as old units can feel a bit janky after years of heavy use and unruly passengers. Plus, fewer urban emissions means cleaner air for everyone, definitely not a bad thing by any means. Electric buses are also massively quieter than diesel buses which is really nice for riders and pedestrians. Cheers to greener buses that help us run to the auto parts store on the oft chance that none of our cars are running. Hey, it’s cheaper than ordering an Uber.
Porsche Production Held Up By Headlights
Headlights are supposed to light the way, but a supply chain shortage is leaving Porsche in the dark. Automotive News Europe reports that Porsche production has been stalled by component availability troubles including high-end matrix headlights on the Macan and Panamera.
“Currently we have retrofit vehicles again,” Porsche production boss Albrecht Reimold told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.
Reimold said that in Leipzig, Germany, where the Panamera and Macan models are produced, several hundred vehicles on the factory floor cannot be completed because of the supply bottleneck with the headlights.
Reimold said the situation was still tense in the supply chain: “At the moment it is really very tense because we have to be constantly vigilant,” he said. “It is difficult to forecast when the situation will fundamentally improve.”
Matrix headlights are great, so it really sucks to see availability issues at Porsche. For some, this issue is easy to brush off as a concern of the rich, but there are real people from supply chain factory workers to retail-side employees who may be affected by these vehicle completion issues. Let’s hope that for the sake of everyone, the supply side of the industry picks up soon.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. I’ve recently realized that today marks the longest I’ve ever owned a car, which begs a question: what’s the longest you’ve ever owned a car, and what was the car? Maybe you’re in it for the long haul, maybe you’re like me and get bored every few years. In any case, I’d love to hear what your long-haul ride is and why you’ve kept it around for so long.
Lead photo credit: DeLorean