These are the items of interest that caught my attention this week:

1 – Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG are exploring how they could team up on commercial vehicles to cut costs and compete effectively.  Just think – one day, you might be able to buy a FoMoCo VW.

2 – Rental car startups Turo and Getaround Inc – companies whose apps allow individual car owners to rent their cars to others through their platforms are being seriously challenged by rental car companies, who want the new entrants in the rental car business to be regulated just as the rental car fleets are.  Stay tuned.

3 – Last week saw a sad change in the Dow Jones Industrial Average with the removal of GE from the lineup and its replacement by Walgreens.  It is widely reported that Jeffrey Immelt was too busy playing politics and acting like the “big guy” to actually run the company that Jack Welch built up.  Unfortunate – only a few years ago, no one would have imagined Walgreens even being able to breathe the same corporate air with GE.  Except those of us who are change strategists, of course – and who realize how fragile the marketplace really is – so fragile that it requires constant vigilance by its CEOs and leadership in order to stay at the apex.

4 – It’s going to be interesting to watch the transition of the Los Angeles Times now that Patrick Soon-Shiong has completed his purchase of the company.  Dr. Soon’s announcement on Tuesday, after the purchase had been completed on Monday, of Norman Pearlstine as the new executive editor described Pearlstine as “one of the most forward-looking journalists I have ever met.”  The future of the Times was described by Soon as protecting the publication’s editorial integrity and independence and as “needing to rebuild the newsroom both with editorial and technological investment.”  “We really are looking to create a more national and international footprint,” Soon reported.

5 – On a more sober note, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested this week and jailed without bail because prosecutors in Berlin were worried that he would try to interfere with a probe into whether he was involved in the VW diesel emissions cheating scandal.  He is the third person to be arrested by authorities thus far in connection with the scandal.

6 – Apple Inc is developing production plans for its next iPhones that aim at cheaper liquid-crystal displays in an acknowledgement of consumer sensitivity to the prices of a smart phone.  Apple expects the older version of phones, the LCD-equipped phones, will make up the majority of sales for its iPhone lineup this Fall.



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