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Long-Term Outlook for US Auto Sales — Stable

Only a major event would impact sales.

by on Mar.20, 2018

New vehicle sales are expected to stabilize in the 16.8 million to 17 million unit range.

Barring a sudden shock such as a financial crisis like the one in 2008 or another foreseen disruption of the economy in the U.S. or other parts of the world, the auto industry appears headed for a long period of stability, according to an updated forecast by IHS Markit.

Sales appear to have reached a very sustainable plateau quite similar to the that started in the early 1990s and survived the bursting of the “” bubble and 9/11, Peter Nagle, an IHS analyst noted in a briefing for reporters in Detroit. The long period of steady, stable sales could stretch out to 2025.

News You Can Trust!

Sales in the U.S. market have been slowing since the middle of 2016, he added. “We’re entering a replacement cycle but at a very level even as the plateau tilts slightly downward.  IHS expects total sales in the U.S. to reach 17 million this year and tail off to 16.8 million in 2019. (more…)

Self-Driving Uber Test Vehicle Kills Pedestrian

Company halts all autonomous testing.

by on Mar.19, 2018

An Uber Volvo XC90 was involved in a minor crash, getting flipped onto its side, during a test program near Phoenix last year.

Company’s testing autonomous vehicles and self-driving technologies have one giant fear, a fatality. That fear became a reality last night for Uber as one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The incident occurred when the vehicle was in autonomous mode; however, there was a safety engineer behind the wheel, which is standard Uber practice. There were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time.

Autonomous News!

According to a USA Today report, the woman, who has not yet been named, was crossing outside the designated crosswalk at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said. (more…)

Chinese Automaker Nio Aims for $2b U.S. IPO

Move underscores China’s aggressive aims for American auto market.

by on Mar.01, 2018

Nio is selling its ES8 battery-electric SUV in China. Will it be the company's entry vehicle for the U.S.?

It has yet to sell a single car in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio from putting together a consortium of American banks charged with setting up a U.S. IPO that could raise as much as $2 billion in capital.

While that’s a fraction of the $25 billion stock offering floated in 2014 by China’s massive e-commerce service, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., it underscores the ambitious goals of Chinese automakers aiming to crack into the world’s second-largest automotive market.

Global News!

So far, only a handful of Chinese-made vehicles have come into the U.S. and, like the Buick Envision, they’re offered by Western brands such as Buick and Volvo. But a number of domestic Chinese manufacturers are hoping to crack the code over the next few years, including GAC which showed off a variety of models at the North American International Auto Show in January. (more…)

Geely Chairman Shufu Shaking Up Auto Industry

Daimler may have gained a new strategic partner.

by on Feb.26, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Shufu, left, and Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby after Shufu signed the papers to take the majority interest in Volvo Cars.

Daimler AG and its principal Chinese partner, BAIC, plan to invest almost $2 billion in a state-of-the-art factory in China, even as Li Shufu, the ambitious entrepreneur, who has made Geely into an automotive power begins to digest his purchase of a 9.7% stake in the company.

Adding to the intrigue, Daimler and BAIC, the company built around Beijing Jeep and a key Geely competitor, plan to use the money to revamp a factory they jointly own to build both Mercedes-Benz luxury and electric vehicles from Mercedes new line of electric vehicles.

An Electrifying News Source!

The investment was clearly planned prior to Li Shufu’s dramatic disclosure he had quietly acquired 9.7% of Daimler AG’s shares. The Chinese entrepreneur, who has built his company into the largest privately owned auto company in China, also hinted that he was prepared to acquire more shares even as he prepared to visit Germany for a round of talks with Daimler executive in Stuttgart and officials from the German government in Berlin. (more…)

Geely Buys 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 Billion

Chinese company now Daimler's largest shareholder.

by on Feb.23, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Khufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion.

Li Shufu, Geely’s chairman and majority owner, continues to sample different flavors from the automotive industry buffet, spending $9.2 billion for a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG.

The purchase, which was revealed in a regulatory filing, makes Shufu Daimler’s largest single shareholder ahead of the Kuwait Investment Authority, which holds 6.8%. Nearly 71% of Daimler shares are held by institutional holders, like Shufu.

The Last Word!

“We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler’s innovative prowess, strategy and future potential,” a Daimler spokesperson told Reuters. “Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking.” (more…)

Dyson’s EV Efforts Following a Familiar Path

Entrepreneur plans to start with a low-volume, premium car then add two.

by on Feb.14, 2018

James Dyson confirmed plans to produce an electric vehicle by 2020.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a quirky entrepreneur decides to get into the automotive business by developing an electric vehicle, even though he has no real experience in that arena. The grand plan calls for three vehicles to anchor the company.

Sound familiar?

Stay Plugged In!

Yes. But it’s not Elon Musk and Tesla, but rather James Dyson, the famous inventor of the Dyson vacuum and many other products. Dyson recently revealed plans to produce an EV using a solid state batteries rather than the lithium ion panels currently used by automakers. (more…)

Tesla Loses Big Money in 2017: $1.96B

Model 3 production issue escalate expenses, offsetting record revenues.

by on Feb.07, 2018

Production of the new Model 3 has run into some snags, according to Tesla.

Tesla reported its revenues rose in the final quarter of 2017 to $3.3 billion, which was better than last year’s Q4 result of 2.3 billion. However, the increased revenue also brought a bigger loss of $675 million, or 4.01 a share, compared with $619 million, or $3.70 a share.

For the full year, revenue rose 55.7% to $11.7 billion due in large measure to achieving record sales results for its Model S and X electric vehicles; however, the company still lost money for the year and is well behind early production goals for the Model 3.

An Electrifying News Source!

The company lost $1.96 billion, or $11.83 a share, this year compared with $694 million, or $4.68 a share, in 2016 as its operating expenses were nearly double from the year-ago figure. (more…)

Accounting Adjustment Masks Record Full Year Earnings for General Motors

Workers will get $11,750 in profit-sharing.

by on Feb.06, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra has pushed for major changes in GM's strategy, and the 2017 numbers suggest her approach is paying off.

General Motors officially reported a net loss for 2017, but the real numbers were masked by a series of accounting adjustments and actually climbed into record territory for the year.

The adjusted, $12.8 billion in pretax profits, which worked out to $6.62 a share – an 8.2% year-over-year gain – comes as good news to workers as well as investors at a time when economic uncertainty has shocked Wall Street. About 50,000 U.S. hourly employees will share the maker’s success with profit-sharing checks averaging $11,750 apiece. That bonus actually dipped from $12,000 last year.

Business News!

“The actions we took to further strengthen our core business and advance our vision for personal mobility made 2017 a transformative year,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, in comments during a media and analyst conference call. “We will continue executing our plan and reshaping our company to position it for long-term success.”


Ferrari Will Ride Hybrid, SUV Sales to Debt-Free Status

Marchionne says new vehicle sales will make company debt-free a year early.

by on Feb.02, 2018

Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company will be debt-free sooner than expected.

What Oprah Winfrey is the giving away free cars, Sergio Marchionne is to promising to make automakers debt-free!

Marchionne told investors in a conference call today that the Italian sportscar maker will be debt-free a year earlier than he predicted, while pushing earnings to $2.5 billion by 2022. The sweater-wearing leader told FCA investors that the company would be debt-free by the end of the year.

The Last Word!

He believed that the increased production levels and coming products, especially hybrids, EVs and the sport-utility vehicle will drive the increase in earnings. (more…)

German Union Digging in for Tough Auto Negotiations

IG Metall preparing for industrywide strike as part of talks.

by on Jan.31, 2018

German workers are being prepared to take a strike vote in talks with automakers.

German carmakers and suppliers are in a major battle with IG Metall, the powerful metalworkers union, which is demanding higher wages and shorter hours. The negotiations are turning into the biggest confrontation between labor and management in more than a decade.

So-called “warning strikes” – short-term walkouts lasting no more than 24 hours – have already hit Daimler AG and Porsche this week as well as major suppliers such as Bosch and ZF. In all, an estimated 260 metalworking firms have been targeted by IG Metall and more than 120,000 workers at Volkswagen AG are poised to go on strike for 24 hours, starting Thursday.

Global News!

The walkouts, which stretch across Germany’s industrial centers, follow a failed set of negotiations, where neither the employers nor the union could agree on a formula for a new wage agreement, observers in Germany noted. (more…)