By on May 5, 2021

On Tuesday, Nissan Motor Co. announced that it would be selling its shares of Daimler AG. The Japanese firm owns about 1.5 percent of Germany’s oldest automaker and the move is something many were predicting after Renault did the same in March.

Nissan’s offloading will mimic its partners and likewise use an accelerated bookbuild offer that basically means dumping shares as quickly as possible with help from an underwriter. Investors were to expect shares to be priced around 69.85 euros apiece, netting the automaker at least $1.2 billion if everything goes smoothly.  (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2021

Ford badge emblem logo

On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. said it would be putting $185 million toward the construction of a research and development site focused on electric vehicle battery development in southeast Michigan. The facility will be called Ford Ion Park and employ roughly 150 full-time employees that will be focusing on small-scale projects that it hopes might lead to technological breakthroughs offering it a competitive advantage.

While the facility was said to also be capable of manufacturing cells, Ford made it clear during the teleconference that it won’t be operating as a battery plant. Any packs assembled at the R&D center are likely to exist exclusively for evaluation, with the luckiest batteries being installed into concept or test vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2021

Lotus Cars has announced that the Emira sports car will be its next and final internal combustion model as it prepares itself to become an exclusively electric brand. The historically British manufacturer says its Chinese owners, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, are preparing a cash injection of $2.8 billion to swap to EVs and expand its footprint.

While the present market makes those items feel as though they could conflict with each other, Lotus thinks that the climate will be different a few years from now and plans on going EV only by 2028. In the meantime, the Emira is scheduled to launch in July. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2021

General Motors backed autonomous vehicle startup Cruise has reportedly scored $2.75 billion from its last round of funding, with Walmart again taking a particular interest in the company. The multinational retail corporation previously participated in a pilot program where Arizona-based shoppers could call upon a Cruise AV to have their groceries delivered. While just one of several autonomous programs Walmart is involved with, the relationship with Cruise must be in fairly good shape to throw that kind of money into a business that seems to have missed more deadlines than it has kept — even if that does seem to be the trend for AV startups.  (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2021

Goldman Sachs is creating a joint venture that will help it capitalize on automotive technology firms while they’re consistently being overvalued on the New York Stock Exchange. Automotive startups have become a hot item, so long as they’re trading on the assumed merits of new technologies, and there’s no shortage of new companies being propped up by established players. The last few years have been a merry-go-round of establishment automakers and financial intuitions investing in startups on the off chance they might have something useful.

Meanwhile, burgeoning electric vehicle companies are using special purpose acquisition firms (aka blank-check companies) to maximize their advantage. Even though some have argued this is being done unfairly, there’s not much accountability in general. The iron could not be more primed for striking if you happen to be one of America’s largest banks.

(Read More…)

By on February 10, 2021

Rivian Automotive is seeking to go public in the fall and targeting a valuation of at least $50 billion, according to the latest reports. The all-electric startup company, supported by Amazon and the Ford Motor Company, has already amassed around $8 million from investors and was valued at $27.6 billion less than a month ago.

While we couldn’t possibly say what it’s actually worth, burgeoning EV manufacturers have performed incredibly well on the stock market lately. Rivian would almost assuredly see its valuation balloon to the targeted sum through an initial public offering. It already has a product line, 3,600 employees spread between the Midwest and California, some serious marketing under its belt, and a relatively strong relationship with a few of the world’s largest companies. We’ve seen more done with far less on Wall Street.  (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2021

General Motors will reportedly be making a $75 million investment into Toledo Transmission later this year. This follows an earlier $39 million investment from GM set aside for the eight-speed rear-wheel-drive transmission, which came as a package deal offering another $32 million for Defiance Casting Operations.  (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2020

With Ford and Unifor having agreed to a new three-year contract last month, Oakville Assembly (which currently manufacturers the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus) is slated to be retooled to manufacturer electric vehicles and their batteries. While the first example wouldn’t roll off the assembly line until 2026, according to the agreement, Canada is excited about the prospect of green jobs. In fact, the Canadian government has committed itself to an ambitious program aimed at boosting electric vehicle sales in order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We’re always suspect of central planning, as regulatory changes often have unintended consequences for the associated industries, but need to praise Canada for actually putting some money where its mouth is. Barring a mishap in 2023, the nation has promised to contribute $447 million (split evenly between the Ontario and federal governments) toward Ford’s 1.4-billion program to convert the facility.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2020

Mercedes-Benz looks poised to retreat from high-volume compacts. During an online corporate strategy meeting held on Tuesday, Daimler CEO Ola Källenius indicated that the luxury subsidiary may have overextended itself.

“Maybe we went at a bit too far to cover each and every space into each and every segment. Compact particularly comes to mind,” he explained. “This is not where the main thrust should go, we should not become a competitor of the volume makers.”

But the company only has itself to blame for that. Around a quarter of the brand’s annual sales come from compact vehicles and they’ve been taking up a larger share of its product portfolio. Källenius seems to think Mercedes has done enough to broaden its appeal and need to refocus on higher-end vehicles with better margins. “Our [current] strategy is designed to avoid non-core activities,” he said, adding that funds will be prioritized for more profitable products.

“We’re not chasing volume, we’re targeting profitable growth.” (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2020

As the manual transmission gradually joins the wheel-mounted throttle lever in the automotive history trash bin, we’ve been wondering which manufacture would be the next to take a bold stance against be-clutched vehicles. Today we have our answer, thanks to a tweet explaining the brand’s research boss had indicated Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have room for manuals in its current restructuring program.

“The head of @MercedesBenz’s R&D operations, Markus Schaefer, has confirmed the company will ‘eliminate manual transmissions’ as part of cost-cutting initiatives that will also see a ‘substantial reduction in platforms’ and a ‘very dramatic reduction in combustion engines,'” automotive journalist Greg Kable explained via social media on Tuesday.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2020

General Motors announced it will be taking an 11-percent stake in Nikola on Tuesday. It even said it would be actively helping the startup produce the hydrogen/battery-powered Badger pickup, sending the firm’s already-insane share price through the roof. Nikola shares were up 30 percent before the trading day even began, with the General seeing some positive changes in its own stock. Things only improved from there for both companies as news of the partnership continued to spread.

The deal is costing GM $2 billion and allots it one board member of its choosing in exchange for its manufacturing expertise.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2020

Amazon

As you read earlier this morning, Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe isn’t all that impressed with the ability of some EV startups to wow Wall Street with lofty talk and exciting, but perhaps empty, promises. He’s more concerned with getting product out the door.

It’s perhaps because of Rivian’s conventional approach to car building that big-name firms seem more than willing to put their cash behind it. On Friday, the EV startup landed another bundle, and it’s a big one. (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2020

Fisker Inc. is reportedly in talks to go public after seeing how well other electric vehicle manufacturers (prospective or otherwise) have performed on Wall Street this year. In case you missed it, Tesla became the most valuable automaker on the planet this summer, while startup Nikola saw its shares explode through the ceiling ⁠— despite having never manufactured a single product for purchase.

It seems like complete madness, so it aligns perfectly with just about everything else that’s happened in 2020.  (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2020

Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced Monday that his company amassed $2.25 billion in its external investment round. Considering Waymo is owned by Google parent Alphabet, one of the richest companies in the world, you’d think it’d be able to float some extra funding into autonomous development. However, even a company worth an estimated $1 trillion knows it’s better to source capital from outside the business — that must be on the first page of every tech company’s playbook.

Seen widely as the firm currently riding the tip of the autonomous spear, Waymo already operates self-driving shuttle programs (with a safety driver) in Arizona, with plans for expansion. The new funding aims to further those goals; however, with autonomous targets being missed by just about every company that bothered making them, we’ll wait to see what happens. The company is currently focused on getting its Waymo Driver system into more vehicles, starting with EVs and Class 8 trucks.  (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

Subaru Ascent

In an effort to build more things where they’re needed, Subaru of Indiana Automotive will spend $158 million expanding its Lafayette plant. Construction begins this summer.

The cash covers a standalone service parts facility and an add-on to the existing plant, home to the Ascent, Outback, Legacy, and Impreza. That addition will see the automaker’s only non-Japanese facility build the transmissions needed to serve a growing market.

As you’ve read here, Subaru expects to spend 2020 selling. (Read More…)

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