Volvo by 2030 will be all electric
Volvo Cars one-upped larger rivals like General Motors Co. and added momentum to the movement toward electric vehicles Tuesday by saying it would convert its entire lineup to battery power by 2030, no longer selling cars with internal combustion engines.
The declaration by the Swedish carmaker is the latest attempt by a traditional auto company to break with its fossil fuels past. It is also one of the most ambitious proposals and ratchets up the pressure on others to follow suit.
The auto industry has been moving toward electrification for years, but the shift has taken on new urgency in recent months. President Joe Biden's election, along with his commitment to fight climate change, has raised expectations that the United States will offer the kind of incentives that helped make electric cars the fastest-growing segment of the European market last year.
GM said in January that it would go all-electric by 2035. Ford said last month it would sell only battery-powered cars in Europe starting in 2030, and the maker of Jaguar luxury cars made a similar promise.
"If you want to be in the game you have to transform fast," said Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo. "Otherwise you get stuck in a shrinking segment."
Volvo, owned by Geely Holding of China, has been ahead of larger rivals in converting to electric power. All the models it sells in Europe are either hybrids or run solely on batteries. But some of the Volvos are so-called mild hybrids, which have an electric motor that assists the gasoline engine but are not capable of running solely on battery power.
Bankrupt Hertz eyes $4.2 billion buyout
In a deal to jettison itself from under bankruptcy protection, Hertz said Tuesday that it may sell a controlling stake in the company to two investment firms for $4.2 billion.
Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Opportunities will have the chance to buy the entire reorganized car rental company, but no less than a majority of its shares, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. said.
Hertz was among the first major corporations to be felled by the pandemic last year as infections surged and shut down travel on a global scale for both companies and vacationers.
Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020. Sales growth went into negative territory almost immediately, but the 100-year-old company was already experiencing some turmoil. When it entered bankruptcy protection, Hertz named its fourth chief executive in six years.
However, with the rollout of a suite of vaccines for the coronavirus, pent up wanderlust is expected to explode. Investors are pouring money into almost any company that caters to travelers. In this atmosphere, Certares and Knighthead recently formed the CK Opportunities Fund, which concentrates on investments in travel and leisure.
Hertz, based in Estero, Florida, said the proposed investment, combined with a new $1 billion first-lien financing, a new $1.5 billion revolving credit facility, and a new asset-backed securitization facility to finance its U.S. vehicle fleet, will provide the funding needed for the company to complete its restructuring and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early to mid summer.
Delta pilots return in full force by fall
Delta Air Lines plans to have all of its pilots back at work this fall, as it looks toward a recovery in travel from steep drops in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delta last year put about 1,700 junior pilots on inactive status, and now plans to start bringing the first pilots back in March, according to the Air Line Pilots Association union.
The Atlanta-based airline previously said it would bring 400 pilots back to work by summer.
Delta has roughly 12,000 pilots. It had about 14,000 pilots before more than 1,800 took early retirement packages last year.
Jason Ambrosi, the Delta pilots union's new chairman, called the company's recent staffing decisions "positive signs" in a memo to pilots.
While the recall process starts this month, it will take time to train pilots on the specific aircraft type they'll be flying in the airline's flight schedule. Delta has restructured its fleet by retiring hundreds of older planes.
Pandemic loans at risk for fraud
Emergency loans made to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic have been added to the list of government programs considered at high risk of waste, fraud or mismanagement.
The most common of those emergency loans, PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans, are provided at a low interest rate and can be fully forgivable if a certain percentage is spent on payroll costs. The loans have proven popular as businesses that rely on foot traffic try to survive the pandemic.
The Government Accountability Office said Tuesday that millions of small businesses benefitted from the program, but the speed with which the programs were set up limited safeguards necessary to identify risks including potential fraud.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner