Welcome to The Grid, R&T's quick roundup of the auto industry and motorsports news you should know this morning.
Alex Zanardi Is Reportedly Speaking Again
Months after getting hit by a truck while hand-cycling, Alex Zanardi seems to be making a remarkable recovery. The Drive brought our attention to a story from Italian outlet Autosprint, which says that after successful surgery, Zanardi is once again able to speak. "It was a great emotion when he started talking, no one believed it. He was there! And he communicated with his family," the surgeon, Dr. Federica Alemanno said. Of course, this isn't the first extraordinary recovery Zanardi has made. After losing his legs in a horrific IndyCar crash in 2001, Zanardi eventually took up hand cycling, becoming a Paralympic gold medalist, and returned to racing sports and touring cars with hand controls.
NHTSA Asks Tesla to Recall 158,000 Cars for Touchscreen Failures
Typically, automakers voluntarily recall cars when major issues are found, filing a report with NHTSA in the process. Reuters (via Automotive News) reports that NHTSA is taking the rather unusual step of requesting that Tesla recall 158,000 cars over touchscreen failures in the 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model Y. As part of an investigation, NTHSA said that Tesla confirmed "that all units will inevitably fail given the memory device’s finite storage capacity." Given that many vehicle functions are controlled only via this touchscreen, this is a safety issue—not just a case of being unable to change the radio station. Tesla has until the 27th to issue a recall, or explain why it thinks that won't be necessary.
Renault Announces Turnaround Plan
Renault, like so many other automakers, needs to cut costs, boost profitability, and invest in electric cars. Today, Renault CEO Luca de Meo—who took over the company last July—outlined a turnaround plan, which per Automotive News consists of reducing platforms from six to three, a simplification of offerings from Dacia and Lada, production capacity cuts from 4 million in 2019 to 3.1 million in 2025, and new electric models from Alpine. All of this is a change from the path Renault followed under Carlos Ghosn, which saw the French automaker chasing volume. "We grew bigger but not better," De Meo said. His goal is to "steer our business from market share to margin."
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