Category: High Finance

By on May 22, 2017

Mark Fields, Image: Ford Motor Co.

Mark Fields has reportedly been fired from his position as CEO of Ford Motor Company, to be replaced by a man he appointed as head of the automaker’s mobility subsidiary.

According to Forbes, the company will announce the appointment of Jim Hackett as CEO this morning, part of a broader shakeup of the company’s upper ranks. Hackett, former CEO of Steelcase, served on the automaker’s board for three years before being named head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC in March, 2016.

Fields, a 28-year Ford veteran who replaced Alan Mulally in mid-2014, was reportedly booted by the company’s board amid a continued decline in share values. Two weeks ago, the CEO was grilled by board members and shareholders alike over the direction he has taken the company. Read More >

By on May 19, 2017

Aston Martin Logo Emblem

Rumors that Aston Martin is destined for an initial public offering, either eventually or imminently, have persisted ever since former parent Ford offloaded the British luxury marque in 2007.

The brand has come a long way since Ford dropped it off at the orphanage by expanding into new segments, spawning a sub-brand, and entering the non-automotive realms of merchandise and luxury speedboats. As its trajectory increasingly mirrors that of recently spun-off Ferrari, sources claim an IPO is right around the corner. Read More >

By on May 17, 2017

Mark-Fields (Image: Ford)

A day after media reports described an impending mass layoff of Ford Motor Company employees, the automaker has clarified who gets to keep a job.

While the scale of the job reductions is less than previously reported — a 10-percent global workforce reduction is off the table — Ford does plan to cull its salaried North American and Asian workforce by one-tenth in a bid to cut costs.

The move comes after last week’s tense shareholders meeting during which investors and analysts grilled CEO Mark Fields over the company’s sinking market valuation. Since taking the helm three years ago, Fields has seen the company’s stock price sink by roughly 40 percent. Hourly workers aren’t affected by the plan, though the same can’t be said for white-collar employees. Read More >

By on May 9, 2017

paul-elio

As TTAC reported recently, Elio Motors disclosed in its most recent annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission it needs an additional $64 million to begin series production of its first vehicle at a former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. This is on top of the $312 million it previously stated it required to bring the high-mileage trike to reality.

That isn’t the worst news.

In the filing, Elio Motors announced it was laying off sales and engineering personnel to conserve resources as it focused on securing more financing, primarily through the sale of stock and taking on more debt. An unnamed vendor is also in a payment dispute with Elio Motors, and the company is running a $100+ million deficit.

“Sure, there’s bad news,” Elio said on a phone call with TTAC, “but there’s also good news in the annual report that people are ignoring.”

Read More >

By on May 4, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

If supermarkets, gasoline retailers and a slew of other automakers can offer branded credit cards, why not Nissan?

The Japanese automaker most closely associated with the word “value” is throwing a perk at its customer base, rolling out a consumer credit card program to turn those fuel and meal purchases into real Nissan cents.

The Nissan Visa card, offered through Synchrony Financial, allows dedicated brand loyalists (with good credit) to collect points towards a new or pre-owned Nissan vehicle, or servicing. While some owners might entertain thoughts of gassing and eating their way into a new Armada, the card’s other features are probably a bigger draw. The fine print, however, might prove less tempting. Read More >

By on May 3, 2017

dealership

April was the fourth consecutive month to see U.S. auto sales underperform compared to 2016, leading many to speculate that the long-awaited slump has finally arrived. New car sales aren’t the only thing slipping, as used vehicle values — diminished by a flood of off-lease stock and new car incentives — is on the same downward trajectory.

At the same time, the country’s biggest auto lenders have taken a look around and do not like what they see. No bank wants to be stuck with a low-value repossessed car, so purse strings are tightening across the United States. Securing that next loan just became harder.

Of course, this is the last thing any automaker wants to hear. Read More >

By on April 28, 2017

2017 Ford F-150 Lariat - Image: Ford

What a difference a few (hundred thousand) recalls make. In a sales market best described as stagnant, a widespread vehicle glitch can dog an automaker’s balance sheet. That seems to be the case at Ford Motor Company, which saw its first-quarter profit fall 35 percent on a combination of factors — not the least of which was a pair of recalls of engine fires and faulty door latches.

Elsewhere in the domestic market, General Motors rode to the financial finish line with a record post-bankruptcy net income while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles climbed further into the black. Read More >

By on April 26, 2017

[Image: Audi AG]

After history’s largest and most expensive automotive scandal forced a sudden pivot at Volkswagen Group — from expansion-minded to profit-focused — the German automaker might let go of a cherished toy.

According to insider sources who spoke to Reuters, VW is exploring the sale of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati as part of a company-wide streamlining effort. After shoveling over $20 billion to the United States in a bid to end its diesel debacle, the company is in full penny-pinching mode.

The revered boutique motorcycle company was a long-awaited feather in ex-VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch’s hat, but after just five years of ownership, it may be time for Ducati to find a new home. Read More >

By on April 4, 2017

tesla factory fremont

Workers are likely spinning in office chairs and there’s probably a second frozen yogurt machine on its way to Fremont as you read this.

After hitting a springboard on Monday morning, Tesla’s stock market value has now surpassed that of the former top-ranked U.S. automaker General Motors. This comes just a day after the electric automaker’s surging shares pushed past Ford, placing it in the number two spot.

There’s nowhere to go except down. What, too cynical? Read More >

By on April 3, 2017

tesla model-s-rear

For a car company that sells a tiny fraction of the volume put out by the likes of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Tesla’s investors have given the electric automaker clear bragging rights.

Despite generous debt, tight timelines and razor-thin profitability, Tesla’s stock market value sprinted past Ford today, placing it in the number two spot among domestic automakers. The company, which has yet to offer a vehicle most normal Americans can afford, holds a market cap of $47.81 billion at last count. Read More >

By on March 29, 2017

keys car sale

A third of all subprime car loans are now being categorized into the ominous-sounding “deep subprime” group. The designation has become progressively more inclusive since America clawed its way out of the recession and now accounts for 32.5 percent of all high-risk loans — up from just 5.1 percent in 2010.

While consumers have fallen behind on most subprime auto loans, the deep classification is responsible for the most serious cases of nonpayment. Delinquencies surpassing 60-day periods have tripled since 2012 and indicate little sign of stabilizing.  Read More >

By on March 16, 2017

2018 Volvo XC60, Image: Volvo Cars

Volvo denies that it wants to return to publicly listed status, but a new round of fundraising has many believing the Swedish automaker is about to end its 20-year absence from the stock market.

According to the Financial Times, the Geely-owned company hopes to raise about $500 million from a new batch of preference shares. Unlike the last time it held out its hat, this time Volvo wants Chinese buy-in. Read More >

By on March 13, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Sonic, Image: General Motors

General Motors isn’t finished slashing products or dialing back plans to bolster its financial standing.

After unloading its near century-long Opel and Vauxhall holdings to France’s PSA Group, a move that came after failed attempts to return the European brands to profitability, GM plans to turn its focus on underperforming products in North America. There’s a chance that a model you hold dear could find its way to the chopping block. Read More >

By on February 7, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Midnight Edition

The grim memories of 2008 and 2009 only plague Renaissance Center denizens in the form of night terrors now, as General Motors finds itself on financial ground that’s oddly solid, considering some of the factors effecting the company.

Faced with a slowdown in the automotive market in 2016, the automaker — like so many others —boosted incentives on its vehicles. Meanwhile, the U.S. public’s insatiable thirst for SUVs and crossovers left some of the General’s cars high and dry, sending inventories soaring to very unhealthy levels. While new crossovers were in the pipe in 2016, those lucrative models weren’t scheduled to land until this year. GM’s European division, meanwhile, struggled to rise out of the red.

Despite all of this, the company posted record income and revenue in 2016, according to an earnings report released today. Read More >

By on October 8, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Prototype on road, Image: Tesla Motors

The brief uptick in share price Tesla enjoyed after beating production estimates this week was swiftly erased by a newly critical Goldman Sachs Group.

The investment bank downgraded the company on Thursday, sending its stock back down the hillside, Bloomberg reports. It’s bad news for CEO Elon Musk’s fundraising plans. Read More >

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