By on July 29, 2019

Denis Le Not 2019 Nissan Altima unveil - Image: Nissan

As you read last week, Nissan is busy sharpening its axe, ready to chop the company back to sunnier balance sheets. Some 12,500 positions, or more than 9 percent of the automaker’s global workforce, are poised to disappear as Nissan attempts to recover from a serious slump.

News of the cull came on the heels of a dismal first-quarter earnings report in which the company revealed a net income loss of 94.5 percent. Its operating margin? A prosciutto-thin 0.1 percent, down from 4 percent a year earlier. Something needs to give.

What will give are jobs, a lot of them, and numerous car models — roughly 10 percent of the brand’s global lineup by 2022, the automaker said. Most of those models will be el-cheapo offerings in developing markets. As for sales, the automaker finds itself sliding in a major market where bright points of light are hard to find.

Let’s search for those stars. (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

Image: Tesla

There must be more than a few half-grins among the cynical, perpetually grumpy denizens of Finance Twitter today. For the first time since late 2016, Tesla’s stock price opened below $200. Compared to the sky-high valuation the company’s enjoyed a year or two ago, Tesla’s sinking shares reflect the weight of reality.

Tesla needs cash. Years after it began building electric cars for the fairly well-off masses, the company’s actions in recent months stands in stark contrast to the rosy predictions of the past, and it seems people are taking notice. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2019

Elon Musk

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Tesla cash-raising bonanza, the electric automaker is looking to boost the size of its stack once again.

After Thursday’s shelf offering of stock and convertible notes, Tesla announced Friday it wants to boost its injection of capital from $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion, issuing further common stock and debt. CEO Elon Musk now says he’ll buy $25 million of the new stock, up from $10 million yesterday. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2019

Financial Twitter and Tesla Twitter — groups that are often one and the same — are in hardcore prediction mode after Tesla announced plans to raise $2 billion through the sale of stock and convertible bonds.

The automaker’s move comes after a first-quarter earnings report showed a steep drop in deliveries and automotive revenue, plus a $702 million net loss. Tesla’s cash pile dwindled, quarter over quarter, to $2.2 billion — its smallest stack in years. Among those snapping up shares will be CEO Elon Musk, who promises to buy $10 million in common stock. (Read More…)

By on April 26, 2019

That headline was unavoidable, by the way. On the same day Ford Motor Company released a better than expected first-quarter earnings report, it also revealed the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into its emissions certification process — a probe that could see fuel economy ratings rolled back.

Wall Street seemed much more interested in the financial news, however, giving the company’s stock a much-needed lift. In the Glass House, Jim Hackett must be smiling. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2019

tesla-model-3

Analysts and investors, who were already warned to expect disappointment, didn’t walk away disappointed from Tesla’s first-quarter 2019 earnings report. The automaker’s two-quarter streak of profitability came to a crashing halt, with the company warning that next quarter might bring with it another loss.

Quite an about-face from the rosy projections issued at the start of the year. It wasn’t all that long ago that CEO Elon Musk was only mildly worried about Q1. Now, as the company reports a $702 million loss, the onus is on Musk to restore investor enthusiasm the hard way. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

2019 Ram Power Wagon

Talking heads have been warning for days that the auto industry should prepare itself for a rougher than usual ride in 2019, speculating that sales for the first quarter would be softer than what we’ve seen in past years.

This proved to be true, as players such as the Detroit Three, Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda all conspired to drag the industry down by just over three percent compared to this time last year. Fortunes were better at places like Kia, Hyundai, and Honda, each of whom recorded jumps in volume – two of them quite healthy.

(Read More…)

By on March 16, 2019

After a fiscally damaging year that Ford CEO Jim Hackett implored employees to forget, cuts are coming to the automaker’s workforce, and America won’t be spared. But America can wait, as that region remains a major profit generator. Other regions aren’t, and the automaker’s axe has already fallen in South America.

Now it’s Germany’s turn, with Ford announcing the loss of “more than 5,000” workers in that country. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2019

The whisperings from earlier this week panned out, but only partway. Amazon, the e-commerce giant that’s probably sending a cookbook to your neighbor’s house as you read this, is leading a $700 million investment in Michigan-based automotive startup Rivian.

What’s missing from this news is General Motors, which, according to sources who spoke to Reuters and Bloomberg earlier in the week, was looking to sink its own cash into the company.  (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2019

Image: GM

Despite a year-over-year sales drop in the fourth quarter of 2018, a higher average transaction price spurred by growth in high-margin vehicle sales in North America returned better than expected Q4 earnings for General Motors.

The company’s strong showing comes as its overseas ventures sank and headwinds gathered at home and abroad; mainly, predictions of a slower 2019. That’s GM’s outlook, too, which explains why CEO Mary Barra isn’t backpedaling on her plan to shutter five North American plants. (Read More…)

By on October 30, 2018

2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 EcoDiesel

With Fiat Chrysler’s third-quarter earnings report, released Tuesday, the automaker showed it could improve on the boosted North American profitability seen under late CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The automaker posted an EBIT (earnings before taxes and interest) profit margin of 10.2 percent in the region, helped by heady Jeep and Ram sales and the 2016 decision to cull its unpopular small cars. That’s up from the record 8.4 percent margins seen in the second quarter of last year, and a 51 percent increase from Q3 2018.

Good times? Overall, yes, but net profit took a hit from last year’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel saga. FCA expects to pay the federal piper for its undeclared auxiliary emissions control devices, with a dollar figure now attached to its penance. (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2018

China, Europe, and South America all conspired to sink Ford’s profits in the third quarter of 2018, with the automaker posting a 37 percent net income drop compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The earnings report came the same day Ford announced the creation of a standalone Chinese business unit, Ford China. Dismal overseas performance didn’t come as a shock, however, as these headwinds were also felt in previous quarters, albeit not as strongly. That hasn’t stopped a barrage of questions directed at CEO Jim Hackett over how he plans to build a successful operation outside of America’s borders. (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 September 7, 2018

Image: JRE/YouTube

Today’s installment of “This Week in Elon” sees the Tesla CEO appear on the top-rated Joe Rogan Experience podcast and partake in drug consumption that’s legal in the state in which it was filmed. One hopes Musk didn’t pile into his Model S afterwards and drive away while baked.

Normally, what happens in an executive’s private life remains private until it hits the papers ahead of an impending trial, or perhaps fills the pages of a tell-all bestseller. This being Musk, however, questionable antics seem to occur all the time, usually in a public forum, and shareholders, analysts, and no doubt the company’s board aren’t too pleased with it.

It’s not on the same level as Lee Iacocca showing up on the Merv Griffin Show and railing a line of blow, but Musk’s podcast appearance, combined with two high-profile departures, sent Tesla shares tumbling. (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…)

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