The Nord Stream Pipelines That Supply Gas To Europe May Have Been Sabotaged

Morning Dump Nord Stream

The critical Europe-supplying Nord Stream gas pipelines have sprung suspicious leaks, Mazda considers pulling out of Russia, a Carvana executive faces criminal charges. 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.

The Nord Stream Pipelines Have Sprung Suspicious Leaks

Nordstream
Photo credit: By Samuel Bailey – Own work, CC BY 3.0

A bit of news on gas pipelines may seem strange to see on an automotive website, but bear with me. New car production in Europe relies fairly heavily on gas-fired electricity, and a shortage of gas could really throw a wrench in the works. The BBC reports that the Russian-owned Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines have sprung three leaks, and that sabotage can’t be ruled out.

The operator of Nord Stream 1 said the undersea lines had simultaneously sustained “unprecedented” damage in one day.

Both pipelines have been flashpoints in the energy tussle between Moscow and Europe.

While these leaks won’t immediately impact European energy supply due to Russia shutting off the Nord Stream pipelines’ flow to Europe, the possibility of sabotage makes for an unsteady future.

The operators of Nord Stream 2 warned of a loss of pressure in the pipeline on Monday afternoon. That led to a warning from Danish authorities that ships should avoid the area near the island of Bornholm.

The Danish energy authority told the Reuters news agency that the leak could continue for several days, and perhaps even a week.

Hours later, the Swedish Maritime Authority also issued a warning over two leaks in Nord Stream 1.

The timing and damage seem quite suspicious, so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the leaks were intentional. In any case, this brings more urgency for European legislators already considering a shift in energy policy to ensure safety of citizens and industry.

Mazda Considering Ending Russian Production

2022 Cx 5 2.5 Turbo 01
Photo credit: Mazda

Wait, Mazda’s still making cars in Russia? Apparently so. Reuters reports that the Japanese brand is in talks to sell its stake in a Russian joint venture to partner Sollers.

Mazda, which sold 30,000 cars in Russia last year, said in March that exports of parts to the venture’s Vladivostok plant were going to end and production would cease when stocks ran out. The Nikkei newspaper on Saturday first reported the talks with Sollers.

Sollers said it was in talks with Mazda over stopping car production in Vladivostok and on buying out Mazda’s stake in the venture.

“At the same time, Sollers Auto has already developed a plan to relaunch the factory for production of other automobile brands and negotiations on this issue are currently being finalised,” Sollers said in a statement.

Well, that’s another company hopefully pulling out of Russia. Things are a bit tricky when it’s a joint venture compared to an in-house plant as joint ventures generally exist to share knowledge. From the sounds of it, even though Mazda may be out, the joint venture seems like it may have been successful. Now Sollers can do its own thing, assuming it has the people and parts to do it.

More Chaos At Faraday Future

Faraday Future Ff 91
Photo credit: Faraday Future

Some companies never seem to make the news for good reasons, and Faraday Future is one of those companies. After allegations that its executive chairperson was reportedly pushing the company into bankruptcy, Reuters reports that this arc in the electric vehicle startup’s soap opera should be winding down.

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc said on Monday the electric-vehicle startup had reached an agreement with its largest shareholder to resolve a governance dispute, adding that Sue Swenson will step down as executive chairperson.

The company said it had raised $100 million to start the production of its FF 91 electric luxury car, adding that Brian Krolicki will also step down Faraday Future’s board.

The company, whose shares rose 30% in trading before the bell, said Adam He has been appointed as a new independent board member.

I’m not a financial analyst, nor do I care to think much about a company that still hasn’t made a single consumer vehicle yet, but shares rising 30 percent must be good, yeah? Either way, the world will generally continue to forget about Faraday Future until the company actually starts production or until the next scandal breaks. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Carvana Exec Faces Criminal Charges

Carvana Vending Machine
Photo credit: Carvana

It took absolute ages, but something seems to actually be happening as a result of Carvana woes. Automotive News reports that one executive faces dozens of criminal charges in Illinois.

In mid-May the Illinois Secretary of State filed several motor vehicle-related charges against Paul Breaux, who is identified on Carvana’s investor relations website as a vice president and the company’s general counsel since August 2015. Illinois court records show regulatory officials in a May 13 filing charged Breaux with 27 counts of failure to transfer vehicle titles by a dealership and 50 counts of improper use of titling and registration.

Let’s see what Breaux has to say about these allegations. Maybe he’ll approach them with humility and sincerity.

Breaux, who has been ordered to appear in an Illinois court on Nov. 1, denies any wrongdoing.

“The State of Illinois has charged me because Carvana delivered a car to a customer’s home,” Breaux said in a statement provided by Carvana. “This is surprising and confusing both because it feels extremely anti-consumer and because I proactively met with several Illinois officials in 2017 to describe this exact practice and they did not then nor have they since raised any concerns, during which time we’ve delivered tens of thousands of cars to Illinois homes and provided exceptional customer experiences.”

Uh-huh. Sure.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on this particularly steaming edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Tuesday, which means absolutely nothing now that I think of it. Anyway, let’s play a game. Let’s say you’re given a blank check to buy one race car and its road-going counterpart. The twist is that it doesn’t have to be a homologation special. Will you tow your NASCAR truck with a Chevrolet Silverado? Perhaps a Super Touring car for the weekend and a sensible sedan for the weekdays? Whichever way you go, let me know what pair of vehicles you’d pick in the comments below.

Lead photo credit: Pjotr Mahhonin, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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43 Responses

  1. “The timing and damage seem quite suspicious, so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the leaks were intentional. In any case, this brings more urgency for European legislators already considering a shift in energy policy to ensure safety of citizens and industry.”

    Either intentional or accidents related to their incompetent military. Pipeline damage isn’t any different from fiber damage in that most problems are caused by simple accident or incompetence. Small container ships have cut off entire continents just by dropping anchor in the wrong place.
    On the other hand, deliberate self-sabotage and repeatedly lying that it was Ukraine would be peak Russia.

    “Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc said on Monday the electric-vehicle startup had reached an agreement with its largest shareholder to resolve a governance dispute, adding that Sue Swenson will step down as executive chairperson.”

    Cue lack of surprise. Faraday Future’s finances were always at best a house of cards, and has been rife with fraud. “Governance dispute” in this case is just politely saying “accounting fraud.” (Doubt me? Ask the SEC. Sue Swenson was personally subpoenaed about making false statements to investors.) And there’s still questions about founder Jia Yueting’s involvement, despite stepping down as CEO.
    Add to that, any cash they have is coming from China. The partnership with Geely never materialized, nor the deal with Foxconn. But there was the deal with The9 (who used to publish WoW in China before the government forcibly moved licenses around) that went nowhere. Oh, and the $854M stake from Evergrande Groupe that ended in arbitration just before everyone realized Evergrande themselves was a bankrupt scam.

    “In mid-May the Illinois Secretary of State filed several motor vehicle-related charges against Paul Breaux, who is identified on Carvana’s investor relations website as a vice president and the company’s general counsel since August 2015. Illinois court records show regulatory officials in a May 13 filing charged Breaux with 27 counts of failure to transfer vehicle titles by a dealership and 50 counts of improper use of titling and registration.”

    Unfortunately, we all already know how this will go. Even though it’s a criminal case, not a civil case. (And a felony at that.) Carvana will pay a settlement and pinky swear never to do it again, and will change nothing at all.
    How do we know this? Because Carvana and Paul Breaux himself have been the subject of more than two dozen civil and criminal suits since 2020 alone, almost all centered on fraud, failure to deliver titles, and breach of contract. (Ethics? lolno.)

    But don’t you worry about Paul. He somehow miraculously knew to sell nearly all his shares just before the stock crashed from 374 to 32.
    As the joke goes: can’t pass the ethics portion of BAR, go be a corporate counsel instead.

    Anyway, let’s play a game. Let’s say you’re given a blank check to buy one race car and its road-going counterpart. The twist is that it doesn’t have to be a homologation special.

    Oh, this one’s a challenge. Somebody’s gonna say 911RSR I’m sure, but man.
    I think I’m gonna go with the DTM Alfa 155 – scientifically proven as the only way to make the Busso sound better – with the 155 GTAZ (which packs 50HP more than the street Busso) for the roadgoing version.

    1. Ironically, the DTM car is the cheaper and easier to find of the two. The GTA-Z is incredibly rare and can easily be confused for a Ti.Z. But it’s not. The GTA-Z packs an upgraded Lancia Delta Integrale drivetrain (including permanent 4WD) with 220HP.

      Finding pictures of a genuine GTA-Z is hard. But for you all, I found an entire video. It’s in Japanese because the GTA-Z was only ever sold in Japan. (And they didn’t change the Euro plate housings. Because Alfa.)
      https://youtu.be/YzJQvsHxSBE

    2. Important Addendum to Nord Stream news.

      The answer was, indeed, peak Russia. Seismologists reported data consistent with explosions, and directly linked to Russian submarines operating in disputed territorial waters. Russia blew up their own pipeline, in other words, and we have the receipts.

      Meanwhile, Russian commentators and Fucker Carlson have gotten on TV claiming it was a NATO attack and actively providing information and suggestions for how Russia should retaliate through the use of state-sponsored terrorism against financial institutions and power utilities.

  2. I’ll take an early-’70s Plymouth Duster funny car and design my own paint job for it. I just want to make one good pass down a dragstrip in it, and then clean it up and admire it. And I’ll take the cleanest slant six powered Gold Duster I can find for a weekend cruiser, because honestly, that’s more my speed.

        1. Yeah, but if I’m getting one as the tow vehicle and the other as the racer, I’m definitely taking Le Monstre.

          It’s nice that we won’t have to fight over them. 😉

  3. I’m not a financial analyst, nor do I care to think much about a company that still hasn’t made a single consumer vehicle yet, but shares rising 30 percent must be good, yeah?

    Nothing says “sound long-term investment” like a 30% bounce on the news of [current executive] being replaced with [anyone besides current executive].

  4. Some excellent choices here, but I have to go with my heart: Volvo 240 Turbo. Classic four-blue-stripe livery on the Group A car, forest green or underwear blue for the street 242.

  5. “Let’s say you’re given a blank check to buy one race car and its road-going counterpart.”

    This is easy. Al Holbert’s IMSA-spec Porsche 962 in Lowenbrau livery and a Dauer 962 roadgoing counterpart.

  6. They helpfully put “Future” right in their name so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding about when they would be ready for prime time.

    Good news though is we’ll have fusion chargers by then.

  7. So does the blank check include long-term maintenance?
    If so, Mercedes CLK-GTR and its homologation version.
    If not, then Mark Donahue’s 71 AMC Javelin and a 72 Pierre Cardin Javelin.

  8. Race car/Street car?

    Thomas Saf-T-Liner® C2 School Bus with a Detroit DD5 engine and a Thomas Saf-T-Liner® C2 School Bus with a Detroit DD5 engine.

    Just kidding. There’s no way I’m voluntarily doing Figure 8 school bus racing.

  9. So I actually am going to go with a homologation special. 1960 Ford Starliner – Galaxie hardtop created specifically for Ford’s NASCAR entry that year. To tow it, an F350 from the same year, or if I’m feeling particularly feisty, I’ll track down a Canadian Mercury M350 for towing duties instead.

    1. Well, I apparently don’t have the greatest reading comprehension. I’m still going to go my own way and tow the Starliner with an F350. They’ll be painted in the same livery. Let’s go with Pan Am as the sponsor, because their color scheme was phenomenal.

  10. Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale + Alfa Romeo Tipo 33

    Reminder: Feb 7, 2022 – “If Russia invades — that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine, again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” – President Biden

    The main objective of the war has been achieved: Fracking LNG buyers secured!

  11. Race car: 1967 Panhard CD Peugeot 66C

    Road car: Panhard CD

    I really only want the race car, and would probably sell the road car. You see, the race car has a drag coefficient of only 0.13. I’d then proceed to take the money made from selling the road car to buy tooling to make molds/plugs from the race car, and try to start selling kits to fit over existing frames.

    If you were to take a 2000s-era 1.9L VW TDI engine and put it in something with the aero and weight of said race car, you could have a 100+ mpg sports car that could do 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds. Or build an electric version of said car with a small 20 kWh battery, and still get over 200 miles range real-world driving, but have the capability to do 0-60 mph in 2 seconds with a modern Tesla drivetrain. Or, if you can make it fit, put in a smallblock V8 and still get like 60 mpg highway and 30+ mpg city.

    All kinds of possibilities.

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