Category: High Finance

By on November 1, 2021

Now that fuel prices are popping off and it’s becoming glaringly obvious that we’re falling into another recession, one would hope that automakers would be prioritizing their more economical models. Unfortunately, most manufacturers operating in North America spent the last decade culling the smallest models from their lineup. Domestic brands took the practice so far that several no longer offer traditional cars, opting instead for compact crossover vehicles yielding higher price tags and broader profit margins. Foreign brands were only marginally more reserved with the ax.

This has helped move the average vehicle transaction price beyond $42,000 in the United States, according to Edmunds, with used rates sitting somewhere around $28,000. Though the cause isn’t entirely down to there being a complete lack of econoboxes on the market. Increased regulations and the industry’s newfound obsession with connectivity/tech have also increased pricing. But it doesn’t change the fact that we’re now confronting a situation where almost nobody is selling the kind of small, affordable vehicles that cater to shoppers needing to be thrifty right when they really need them.  Read More >

By on October 12, 2021

While nobody needs to tell you that the economy isn’t in good health, we should at least hip you to the latest automotive trends relating to the financial purgatory we’re currently living through. Ford sent a memo to dealers last week indicating that it would be removing the minimum FICO requirement for 84-month financing, indicating that the industry may soon normalize auto loans that are even longer than the 72-month whoppers that have grown in popularity over the last several years.

Meanwhile, those needing a vehicle intermittently will find that rental rates have not been declining as hoped. Despite analysts previously suggesting that auto pricing may stabilize through the fall, we now look to be going into the holidays facing familiar high-priced troubles — and there’s really no reason to think that’s going to change after 2022 gets here.  Read More >

By on May 12, 2021

corroded 2021 Land Rover Defender owners, are you unhappy with your SUV’s finish? Heritage Customs will give you corroded parts with real rust.

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By on April 7, 2021


pandemic

The pandemic has changed car buying plans for nearly three out of four shoppers who intended to buy in the next six months. New research from Comscore Automotive Data Mart, cited in a story today by Auto Remarketing, indicated the pandemic tops the concerns of four out of ten who had intended to buy.

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By on October 1, 2018

Analysts and investors are quick to point out a key similarity between Ford Motor Company’s stock and the terrain between the Appalachians and Outer Banks, viewed from west to east. Unlike Tesla’s recent share price plunge(s), Ford’s decline has been gradual, remaining stubbornly unaffected by the automaker’s attempts to turn it all around.

While he’s faced questions about his performance before, Ford CEO Jim Hackett is growing frustrated with the idea that, under his leadership, the company is focused too much on the future, with not enough going on in the present. Read More >

By on September 26, 2018

Ford’s decision to construct the current-generation F-150’s body purely of aluminum paid off in terms of lightweighting, fuel economy, and sales, but rising commodity costs over the past couple of years eroded some of the financial benefit. There’s far greater headaches facing Ford these days, as the industry grapples with tariffs on not just imported aluminum and steel, but vehicles as well.

A second income-sucking tariff hit in July, when the U.S. applied an import duty of 25 percent on a slew of Chinese goods, prompting China to up its own tariffs on American goods, including automobiles. Ford isn’t having it. Having already lost $1 billion in profit, CEO Jim Hackett has a message for President Trump. Read More >

By on September 10, 2018

After hiring financial advisors earlier this year, a move many believed was a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO), Volvo parent company Geely now claims the waters are too choppy to float any shares in the resurgent Swedish automaker.

First reported by the Financial Times this past weekend, the Chinese holding company says there’s too many uncertainties and headwinds in the industry right now. Thus, no Volvo stock for you. The biggest uncertainty is the one that’s keeping automakers on edge the world over. Read More >

By on August 30, 2018

Ford’s been wringing its corporate hands over stock prices for ages. While the market itself is generally rising, the Blue Oval seems to perpetually find itself in Wall Street’s basement. It is arguable that lackluster performance on this front cost Mark Fields his job earlier this year.

Things are not looking up in that department. Yesterday, FoMoCo’s credit rating was cut to Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, just a single notch above junk status.

Read More >

By on August 27, 2018

Friday night’s not-so-surprising move by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in which he wheeled around his plan to take the company private like an angry father cutting short a family vacation, has many angles.

First and foremost is the money factor, which matters more than anything else in this drama. According to two new reports, money eventually became available, just not from the sources we were led to expect. And not from sources Musk wanted. Read More >

By on August 25, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Fear not, there’ll be plenty of moaning about short sellers in the weeks and months — and probably years — to come. Late Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pulled an about-face, issuing a blog post in which he claimed a couple of weeks of study revealed he shouldn’t take his publicly traded automaker private.

Apparently, the trip from “funding secured” to “the funding totally would have been there”* (not a direct quote) takes 17 days. Read More >

By on August 15, 2018

Tesla Model 3

While the U.S. and now Canada enjoy carrying out international diplomacy via tweet, the business world lays out a few ground rules. If you’re the head of a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company, maybe it’s best to not announce your intention to take the company private — while stating there’s funding on hand to pull it off — in a tweetstorm, especially if there aren’t details to back it up. Dry, boring, but concise media releases or regulatory filings alerting shareholders usually do the trick.

After looking into Tesla’s going-private plan, announced August 7th by CEO Elon Musk over Twitter, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission now wants hard answers. While it might be willing to overlook the tweet (Musk, a prolific tweeter, previously told investors that announcements could happen this way), the SEC wants Musk to back up his “funding secured” claim. What person, persons, or entity made this deal possible?

Maybe a round of subpoenas will clear things up. Read More >

By on August 14, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

A truly bizarre rumor is just one of the issues facing Tesla CEO Elon Musk as questions swirl following the August 7th announcement that he wants to take the publicly traded company private.

As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looks into Musk’s claim that there’s “funding secured” for the potential buyout, Musk was forced to confront a claim involving, of all things, a rapper, drugs, and spontaneous tweeting. Always a sideshow with this company…

The financial world, on the other hand, wants to know more about this Saudi business. Read More >

By on August 9, 2018

Image: Electra Meccanica

A small automobile company headquartered in a city with outrageous house prices wants you to buy shares. Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp., the Vancouver-based builder of three-wheeled electric vehicles, has announced its listing on the NASDAQ.

The company’s $10 million public offering went live Thursday, listed as SOLO (common shares) and SOLOW (warrants). As you probably figured, Electra Meccanica calls its vehicle the “Solo,” which, as you also probably figured, carries a single occupant.

Looking like all three-wheelers do (strange), the Solo targets the cost-conscious commuter. Read More >

By on July 26, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 , Image: Ford

It’s generally agreed that former Ford CEO Mark Fields was shown the door after failing to turn around the company’s steadily declining stock, but his successor hasn’t had any success on that front, either.

Jim Hackett took over in May of 2017 and, despite an ongoing cost-cutting program and numerous new model (and technology) promises, Ford’s share price shows no lift. Wednesday’s earnings call was easily the worst of Hackett’s tenure. Read More >

By on June 16, 2018

GM Cruise self-driving Testing

The small San Francisco startup bought by General Motors in 2016 could generate a lot of money for the automaker in the near future.

According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, GM wants to unlock the value of its self-driving Cruise Automation division (officially GM Cruise LLC) — a 50-person company valued at $600 million at the time of purchase. Japan’s SoftBank, which recently pledged a $2.25 billion investment in the division, now values Cruise at $11.5 billion.

To put that figure into context, GM’s market capitalization hovers around $50 billion. The word “Cruise” should be accompanied by an old-timey cash register sound. Read More >

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