A story in AM online today caught my eye. Shares are starting to be traded in Pendragon as it was reported that a Swedish investment company had acquired nearly 10% of the group. This came seven days after another investment company, TCP, had increased its stake to 21%. Speculation is rife that the company is ready to be taken over, all of this coinciding with Trevor Finn’s decision to step down from his role as head of the group at the end of March this year. Given that they are the U.K.’s largest retailer by some way, this could send shockwaves through the retail sector.
It may not be big news over here, but in the US there is much talk about Tesla’s new Chinese venture. They have just “broken ground” on their new Giga-Factory, as they are calling it, which is set to produce 500,000 vehicles a year. They expect it to be in production by the end of this year. Now we know that the company has promised some ambitious figures before, and has then struggled to keep up, but the Chinese market for electric vehicles is already more than half the total UK market for cars, at 1.2 million. Grabbing a share of that is certainly tempting.
And China has recently relaxed its rules on local ownership, meaning that Tesla will be the first car manufacturer to open a wholly owned facility in China, giving it technological and financial protection from local interests. On the other hand it means that it will be a pioneer in working with local government and breaking through local bureaucracy to ensure things go as smoothly as they can.
Finally it seems that Renault and Nissan have both decided that their future lays beyond Carlos Ghosn. It has certainly been a rapid fall from grace for the world’s largest automotive superstar. If proven innocent then conspiracy theorists will point to a hidden agenda. In fact they already have, and many analysts are wondering whether the triple alliance of the Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi can survive over the coming years. And whether this was ultimately what drove the crisis in the first place.
Finally, talking around my clients, the start of the year has not been quite as disastrous as they were expecting it to be. The retail market has been more buoyant than expected, stockpiling before a hard Brexit perhaps? Or merely that there are some fantastic deals on offer in the market? Time will tell whether we can maintain this momentum through the year, no doubt driven by events outside the influence of the motor industry.
Have a great weekend, at least the cricket back on.
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If nobody spoke unless he had something to say, the human race would very soon lose the use of speech.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965), The Painted Veil, 1925
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them.
The case has, in some respects, been not entirely devoid of interest.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930), (Sherlock Holmes)
The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.
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