High-speed crash kills Tesla thief

A man who stole a Tesla Model S on July 4 in Los Angeles died this week from injuries sustained in a high-speed crash that hurt at least seven other people.

Joshua Michael Flot, 26, of Inglewood, Calif., died Monday, Ed Winter, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s department, said Thursday. Flot’s identity and death were not disclosed until Thursday to allow time to notify family members, Winter said, who confirmed that Flot was the driver of the car.

“We are saddened by the harm that resulted from the July 4 theft and crash,” said Simon Sproule, a spokesman for Tesla Motors, the electric-car maker based in Palo Alto, Calif. “We are assisting the authorities as needed as they continue their investigations.”

The driver took the car early July 4 from Tesla’s service center in west Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department said Wednesday. He outran police before crashing at high speed into vehicles on La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood. The vehicle also struck a steel pole and split in two, igniting a fire in the luxury sedan, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire Department reports. The driver was thrown from the Model S, Fire Captain Rick Flores said.

The holiday-weekend incident revived questions about the safety of electric-car technology. Crash-related fires involving two Model S sedans last year triggered a safety review by U.S. regulators, who required no changes to the $71,000 vehicle beyond the titanium shield that Tesla added to strengthen the car’s battery pack.

Co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk has said that despite the fires, the crashworthiness of the Model S and absence of fatalities in last year’s accidents underscore the car’s safety.

— Associated Press

Sponsors’ World Cup is claimed by Adidas

With Adidas sponsoring both teams in Sunday’s World Cup final, the German sportswear brand has declared victory over U.S. rival Nike in the latest round of its battle to remain the biggest global soccer brand.

The two companies dominate a soccer equipment industry worth more than $5 billion a year, sharing more than 80 percent of the market for many products, but Nike has been threatening Adidas’s leadership, including in its home territory of western Europe.

While Adidas has supplied the match ball for the World Cup since 1970, Nike outfitted more teams at the competition in Brazil for the first time: 10 of the 32 teams, including the host, compared with nine for Adidas.

However, the three stripes of Adidas will dominate the pitch on Sunday. It will be on both teams’ jerseys for the first time since 1990 and on many of their star players’ shoes, as well as the match officials’ clothing and the ball.

“Adidas will be the most visible brand by far in the World Cup final,” said chief executive Herbert Hainer, who had predicted a Germany-Argentina final well before the two teams beat Nike-backed Brazil and the Netherlands in the semis.

Adidas expects record soccer sales of $2.7 billion in 2014, topping the $2.3 billion Nike reported for its financial year ending in May. While the periods are not directly comparable, Nike has suggested the Portland, Ore.-based firm could exceed the Adidas’s 2014 figure in its fiscal 2014-15.

Chief executive Mark Parker says Nike has overtaken Adidas in shoe sales in most countries and predicts a repeat in the current fiscal year of the 21 percent rise in soccer sales the company saw in 2013-14.

— Reuters

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