Tag: investors

By on July 18, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has returned to Twitter, this time to issue an apology to British cave diver Vernon Unsworth. Musk had maintained radio silence on the social media platform ever since calling the Thailand cave rescuer a “pedo” in response to comments Unsworth made about the viability of his hastily prepared mini-sub. Musk later added that he’d bet money that his accusation was true.

The weekend tweets were subsequently deleted.

Yes, it’s a wholly ridiculous situation, but imagine yourself in Unsworth’s shoes. The diver claimed he received calls from lawyers in the UK and United States, and was considering legal action against Musk upon his return to Britain. Meanwhile, major Tesla investors entertained their own thoughts — troubling ones, as Musk’s out-of-the-blue attack on a man widely regarded as a hero raised serious questions about his leadership. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2018

It would be unfair to criticize Tesla Motors’ CEO without also illustrating just how important he is to the company. Were it not for Elon Musk, Tesla would have never made it this far. He was not only integral in its foundation but also the driving factor as it picked up investors. While the company was building innovative products, he has kept shareholders looking toward the horizon and keeping the faith.

Unfortunately, 2018 hasn’t been a great year for Musk. While the brand has managed to keep its exceptionally loyal fan base, bad publicity has shaken investor confidence. No automaker is free from ugly stories but Tesla has been deemed semi-miraculous for some time — making any failures that much more glaring. The bar has been set unreasonably high and unkept promises have caused issues. Tesla has itself a PR problem and, like most things, it looks like it’ll be up to Elon to fix it. But it’s going to be a monumental task, Musk is already putting out fires everywhere and the pressure is only expected to build over the next 24 months.  (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2018

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel, Image: Ford

It’s no secret Ford Motor Company cut its previous CEO, Mark Fields, loose after the company’s stock price fell 40 percent during his time at the helm. Eager to attract investors, Fields’ superiors must have looked at General Motors’ and Tesla’s valuation and wondered, Dammit, if a very profitable company and a very unprofitable company can do it, then hell, so should we.

Out the door Fields went. Since taking the big chair in Dearborn, CEO Jim Hackett has pissed off automotive purists with his “future cities” and mobility talk, and word that the Mach 1 will return as an electric crossover hasn’t done anything to endear him to the pony car crowd. The new Mustang Bullitt does not erase this sin.

Animosity aside, Hackett has managed to place a checkmark next to a top item on his to-do list: get Wall Street’s attention. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2018

tesla model 3

Tesla claims it’s closing in on its goal to produce 2,500 Model 3 sedans a week, even though the original deadline for that target is a few months past. However, a problem remains. Despite having all the tooling needed to hit its mark, some of the essential components are still in Germany when they should be in the United States.

While the automaker still claims it can reach 2,500 unit per week by the end of March, the new automated system for module production needs to be shipped from Grohmann Automation in Dausfeld, Germany, to the company’s Gigafactory, located outside Reno, Nevada. That’s a long distance to ship a lot of hardware in roughly a month’s time, leaving many wondering if Tesla is about to break another promise to investors.  (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2017

All-New 2018 Ford F-150 - Image: Ford

At a Detroit Economic Club event held last night in the Motor City, Blue Oval Chairman Bill Ford opined that Ford Motor Co. may have been too forthcoming with Wall Street in past years.

“In the past, maybe we said too much,” Ford said Tuesday.

(Read More…)

By on October 23, 2017

GM Cruise self-driving Testing

“Mobility” is easily the most overused term in today’s automotive vernacular. Despite being incredibly nonspecific, executives can’t help but make it the bookend of most speeches involving long-term goals and production stratagems. But why?

The term itself pertains more to the industry itself than the specific products it’s developing. While “mobility” can be applied to any conveyance with a technological bent, the word also represents a company’s ability to move into other areas of business. And that’s what gets the investors and market analysts tugging at their collective collar, damp across the brow, so red hot they can’t help but raise the stock valuation of any company that seems poised to make a big move.

Tesla’s entry as novel manufacturer with a unique product was enough to send its share price through the roof, and established automakers took notice. Despite Mark Fields’ best attempt to rebrand Ford as a tech company, he couldn’t bottle that same lightning and paid the ultimate price — getting fired. However, General Motors may be succeeding where Ford initially failed. The proof of the pudding is how high its share prices continue to climb.  (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Ferrari emblem logo

Despite months of denial, Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will put a sport utility vehicle into production on Monday. “We’re dead serious about this,” Marchionne said at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week. “We need to learn how to master this whole new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product, then we’re going to balance this desire to grow with a widening of the product portfolio.”

The working title for Ferrari’s SUV is “FUV” and its confirmation undoes months of Marchionne’s claims that it would “never be built.” In February of 2016, the CEO even said he would have to be shot and killed before Ferrari made an SUV. For his sake, we hope that is no longer a provisional aspect of the build.  (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2017

renaissance center Detroit

Promoting a future for wide electrification appears to be the Achilles’ heel for bearish investors. Despite some bad publicity last week, Tesla Motors’ already sky-high share price resumed its relentless upward trend after a brief September slump. However, Tesla isn’t the only domestic company benefiting from electrification. Both General Motors and Ford have also seen marked improvements on Wall Street following tech-forward corporate announcements.

For General Motors, that meant the promise of widespread electrification. CEO Mary Barra pressed the issue by reaffirming GM’s three-tiered policy of, “Zero Crashes. Zero Emissions. Zero Congestion.” On a LinkedIn posting, Barra elaborated on the company’s vision where technology minimizes accidents via driver’s aids and autonomous hardware, nullifies emissions through alternative powertrains, and reduces congestion using inter-vehicle connectivity.

In addition to GM’s proposal to launch 20 new electric or fuel cell vehicles by 2023, the company has seen its share price jump twice in the same week. But Ford saw similar, although more modest, improvements in value following it’s own announcement of a tech-driven future.  (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

2017 Ford Taurus

Ford’s new CEO, Jim Hackett, has been milling around the company trying to get a sense of what the automaker needs to thrive in today’s car market. Conducting a summer-long assessment of the company’s current status and action points, Hackett is setting himself up with a greater understanding of where Ford stands in order to share his vision of the automaker’s future with investors in early October.

However, we already have some sense of what that future entails. Hackett has already spoken with leadership from the United Auto Workers, easing union fears that he might try to clean house and cut jobs. But his reassurance that there probably won’t be massive layoffs under his leadership doesn’t guarantee low-margin automobiles won’t be at risk.

This isn’t entirely down to Hackett’s management style, either. Investors were becoming annoyed with former CEO Mark Fields’ lofty long-term strategy, which featured fewer near-term goals aimed at bolstering profitability. Some analysts expect Hackett to end production of models that aren’t big earners — which includes just about everything that isn’t an SUV, crossover, or pickup truck. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Image: TechCrunch/Flickr

Uber’s founder is stepping away from the company — not for the summer, as originally planned, but for good. CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned after a relentless string of controversies caused the company to lose face for all of 2017 thus far.

On Tuesday, five of Uber’s largest investors demanded that the chief executive resign. This was followed by Kalanick’s official confirmation and a posting from the company’s head of U.S. operations outlining a 180 day strategy to turn things around. While the plan made no mention of Travis’ departure, the resignation certainly seems to jibe with its objectives.

Other more official aspects of Uber’s cleverly named “180” include trials for driver tipping in several major cities and a surcharge for teenagers because everyone hates them. The ride-hailing firm is also adding Driver Injury Protection Insurance and a way to bill passengers for making them wait. None of these changes appear to be all-inclusive, however. Uber has also made it fairly vague as to when and where some of these changes will occur.  (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Volkswagen AG announced at its annual shareholders meeting this week that it will not be publishing the findings of an external investigation into its diesel emissions scandal conducted by the Jones Day law firm. The reason for VW’s secrecy is due to an underlying fear among management that the information held in the report would lead to further lawsuits and fines.

VW Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch addressed the thousands of shareholders by first thanking the U.S. legal team for its hard work and then explaining there was no way in hell anyone outside of the company would benefit from its findings — tossing any promised transparency out the window. (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 September 21, 2016

2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI-011

It’s not the podium an automaker wants to find itself on top of.

After marking the first anniversary of its emissions debacle, former “clean diesel” builder Volkswagen finds itself staring down the barrel of $9.15 billion in investor lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal reports.

When it comes to being sued by investors, no German company can match Volkswagen’s performance. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2016

Tesla Model S In Hero Blue, Image: Tesla

Was the fatal May crash of a Tesla Model S driving in Autopilot mode significant enough for the automaker to inform its shareholders? The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to find out.

The federal agency recently opened an investigation into Tesla to determine if the automaker broke securities laws by not notifying investors of the crash, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2016

2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI-011

Investigators are still probing Volkswagen’s actions in the diesel emissions scandal, but the board that oversees the actions of the company’s top brass isn’t too concerned.

The supervisory board, made up of investor and labor interests, just cleared Volkswagen’s management of any breaches of duty in 2015 in preparation for their annual shareholders meeting, Bloomberg reports.

To say 2015 was an eventful year for Volkswagen is akin to saying Neil Armstrong had fun in the late ’60s. It was so eventful, its CEO took a permanent vacation. Many medicine cabinets in Wolfsburg were likely renovated to handle an influx of new prescriptions. (Read More…)

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