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Tuesday Ticker: January 5, 2021 

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— In this week’s Tuesday Ticker, Magna’s new CEO takes charge, PSA shareholders announce an overwhelming ‘ye’, DesRosiers preps to unveil new data and Volkswagen initiates the first phase of its Takata recalls.

Moves at Magna

Alongside the ringing of the new year, Magna International officially welcomed Swamy Kotagiri as the company’s new CEO, according to a press release from Monday.

The Aurora, Ontario-based parts manufacturer has promoted the 21-year company veteran, Kotagiri, to the top position, recognizing his knack for leadership and his experience in Magna’s R&D department back in October 2020.

“Our industry is increasingly high-tech, complex and changing. In our 60-year history, Magna has continued to evolve with it, and I am confident we will continue to do so,” said Kotagiri. 

“How we look at and address the future of mobility will have far-reaching consequences, not just for people, but for society as a whole. My vision for the company is to continue advancing mobility for everyone and everything while shaping a better future for all. Magna, our strong management team and our entrepreneurial-minded employees are up for the challenge.”

Kotagiri was recently featured in Business Insider’s 100 People Transforming Business, an annual list and series highlighting those across industries who are changing the way the world does business.

A PSA on PSA

On Monday, shareholders of the PSA Group voted overwhelmingly to approve Peugeot’s proposed merger with Fiat Chrysler.

During the online meeting, 99.85 percent of PSA’s investors voted in favour of the deal ahead of the vote by Fiat Chrysler shareholders, scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The new company, called Stellantis, will see PSA CEO Carlos Tavares as CEO while FCA’s John Elkann will serve as chairman. Current Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley will run the North American operations.

Stellantis will be the world’s fourth-largest automaker by volume, with a portfolio of over a dozen brands and joint ventures including Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Opel.

If approved by Fiat Chrysler shareholders, the merger could be reportedly completed by the end of January.

DesRosiers’ data

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. is scheduled to release its December auto sales data for Canada on Tuesday. 

The company previously reported that sales of cars and trucks fell in November 10.4 percent from the same time the previous year as COVID-19 restrictions returned.

With the year expected to close out somewhere above 1.5 million units sold, all provinces remain well below their 2019 sales levels. 

Ontario, as of Nov. 2020, had sold an estimated 24.3 percent fewer vehicles thanin 2019, marking the largest year-to-date decrease among the provinces and a deficit of nearly 190 thousand units.

Das Trouble

Volkswagen is the latest automaker to see itself land in Takata troubles as more than 105,000 Beetles are recalled in North America for the risk of exploding airbags.

The 2012 through 2014 VW Beetles and Beetle Convertibles are equipped with Takata airbags that may be dangerous due to propellant degradation caused by heat and humidity.

The airbags do not contain a chemical to keep the propellant dry, and VW says studies show the airbag and inflators are not safe. 

In May 2020, Volkswagen announced that it would be recalling more than 370,000 Beetle and Passat models with Takata airbags on a five-year schedule. This recall, announced in late December, marks the beginning of the first phase.

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