Uber Death Watch: Ride-hailing Firm Cuts 3,000 Additional Jobs
Uber Technologies eliminated an additional 3,000 jobs on Monday, closing offices around the world as certain regions revealed less growth than the outfit had hoped for. We covered the ride-hailing firm’s financial situation last week, as reports circulated that it wanted to drop a few billion to acquire Grubhub and enhance its own food-delivery service in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, the firm had already cut 3,700 jobs pertaining to customer support and human resources. Even in the absence of people shunning shared transportation and local governments forcing citizens to stay indoors, Uber’s preexisting inability to turn a profit would probably have forced the company to restructure eventually. The pandemic pinned the accelerator to the floor mat, however, likely forcing additional cuts by the company’s own admission. Considering Uber has already axed about a quarter of its global workforce, it’s probably time to place it on death watch.
Uber Reportedly Wants to Acquire Grubhub
Uber Technologies has reportedly made an offer to buy Grubhub — a food delivery service that links local restaurants directly to customers via a convenient app. Considering Uber Eats is as unprofitable as the company’s core ride-haling business, dropping a bunch of money to acquire a similar business seems silly… until you realize Grubhub is pretty much the only food-delivery outlet to occasionally turn a profit.
Buying up the only legitimate threat to your side business could be wise, even if it’s also somewhat monopolistic, but large, unprofitable tech entities with slick-sounding business plans and massive stock valuation seem bulletproof right now. They can buy up whatever outfits they want and nobody bats an eyelash until an isolated incident pops up that the media can temporarily harp on.
Even with the coronavirus rattling Uber’s share price in March, with ride frequencies more than halved in major metropolitan areas around the globe, its value crept back up in subsequent months. The company also enacted cost-cutting measures, eliminating 3,700 jobs and shuttering 180 driver service centers, with more cuts presumed to follow later this year. While dropping a few billion on Grubhub seems at odds with corporate thriftiness, it may prove beneficial in the long term — especially with investors heaping pressure on Uber to provide evidence it can someday become routinely profitable.
Uber to Launch Pet-based Pricing in Select Cities
Uber is testing pet pricing in North America to see if it can minimize surprise cancellations stemming from unexpected animal passengers while simultaneously hoping to make itself some money. The program, entitled Uber Pet, launches in select cities on October 16th and tacks on a small surcharge while giving drivers the right to refuse service in advance.
As difficult as it is to believe, not everyone loves animals — and even fewer like having strange ones making a mess of their personal vehicle. One of the most common complaints among Uber drivers is people bringing aboard pets unannounced.
Dealerships Looking at Loaner Car Alternatives
You’ve just taken your vehicle to the dealership for servicing and find yourself in need of a loaner car. Fortunately, the vehicle is still under warranty and you should be able to get into something without too much trouble. This does not mean loaner vehicles aren’t a major stressor for the dealerships providing them, and it doesn’t guarantee you a car.
Small dealers likely won’t have a surplus of such vehicles and may attempt to bar you from access, especially if you didn’t originally purchase your automobile from that particular store. Luxury brands are more likely to fork over a loaner to keep customers happy. Of course, they want something representative of the brand, not some random hunk of junk sitting idle on the lot. Maintaining a loaner fleet is tedious and opens dealers to all manner of additional expenses they’d rather not have to deal with. It’s expensive and people tend to bring back the vehicles on their own time, not when the dealer needs it for someone else.
So what’s a high-end automaker to do when a customer needs a replacement vehicle while theirs is in the shop? Think laterally. It turns out there’s a multitude of loaner alternatives currently being vetted by dealers, some of which don’t involve providing a replacement vehicle at all.
Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi Hunting for Robo-taxi Deals With Tech Companies
The alliance consisting of Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi Motors is currently searching for partners for a plunge into the robo-taxi business. While chairman Carlos Ghosn claims mobility will never replace traditional ownership, he acknowledges the need to explore other avenues to remain competitive.
“A lot of people think this is substitution. It’s not — it’s addition,” Ghosn said in November. “The traditional business of building cars and selling cars and owning cars is going to continue.”
However, the supplemental businesses aren’t going off half-cocked. Ogi Redzic, Alliance senior vice president, has said he’s personally overseeing about 1,000 employees tasked with developing connectivity services for the automotive group and intends to announce the partners for the new autonomous cab service in the coming months.