I always like to take a look through the week’s headlines to see if any of the manufacturers appear more than once. And how their news changes during the week. This week there are three manufacturers that are worth looking at, Ford, Tesla and Nissan. It is fair to say that each have had mixed weeks.
Let’s take Tesla for example, on Tuesday Elon Musk announced that the electric car maker would turn very, very cash positive as soon as a self driving network of “Robotaxis” launches. By Wednesday John Gapper in the Financial Times, was accusing the company of going too fast as they sought to dominate the world of self driving cars. By Thursday the company had announced enormous losses in the first quarter of this year, $702m, and was already indicating that it needed a further cash call. By today analysts were worrying about the company’s ability to continue to raise cash. Just a normal week in the life of Tesla’s Chairman I reckon.
There was good news for Ford on Wednesday, as they announced that they had managed to beat GM in securing a partnership with Rivian, the auto technology company. By Thursday the company was predicting confidently a much stronger 2019. Their concentration on pickups and trucks were yielding dividends, especially in the US. However, today the Wall Street Journal announced that US regulators are to probe the manufacturer over vehicles emissions tests.
Finally Nissan opened the week with their second profit warning in two months. Analysts were blaming both the fallout from the Carlos Ghosn saga and poor performance in the United States. By yesterday their former CEO had been released from jail, subject to a number of very strict conditions. Not unnaturally Nissan was mentioned at regular intervals. By today it was announced that relations between Nissan and their previous sister company Renault had sunk to pretty low levels. Nissan had report reportedly rejected calls for a merger, something that Mr Ghosn himself has suggested has been at the heart of their attacks on him.
And to add to everyone’s woes this Friday, it seems that many manufacturers have recognised that there is a global stall in output. Trade relations with China, withdrawing from Iran, squeezed margins and the need to tool up rapidly in the change to electric vehicles have put pressure on almost every manufacturer. Daimler and the aforementioned Renault were amongst those who hit a gloomy note in the news today. Still, I am sure your April registrations are far better?
Have a great weekend – time to get the kite out again.
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Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962)
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