Archive for the ‘Investors’ Category

Musk Lights Up – But Tesla Shareholders Are Turned Off

Increasingly erratic behavior raises concerns about Musk's leadership.

by on Sep.07, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to court controversy, smoking a joint on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast.

Elon Musk has always generated plenty of buzz, but he may have taken it to new highs this week, sipping whiskey and lighting up a joint during an appearance on California comedian Joe Rogan’s widely followed podcast.

Unfortunately, Tesla shareholders seem to be having something of a bad trip, the 2-1/2 hour interview just the latest in what some see as increasingly erratic behavior by the carmaker’s chief executive. And investors aren’t alone.There has been an escalating exodus of talent from Tesla in recent months, including the July departure of its chief engineer.

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On Friday morning, two more top executives, including its human resources director and its chief accountant revealed they are joining an escalating exodus of top Tesla talent. (more…)

Tesla Takes Heat as Musk Lashes Out

Company’s stocks, bonds seesaw as CEO again attacks cave diver hero.

by on Sep.06, 2018

CEO Elon Musk has started getting himself into hot water again, putting the company's board in a tough spot.

Tesla’s stock price took an upward bounce on Thursday morning after tumbling sharply for several days following another series of explosive tweets by the battery-carmaker’s increasingly mercurial CEO Elon Musk.

On Tuesday, the 47-year-old Musk sent out an e-mail to a news site alleging that Vernon Unsworth, a British diver who helped rescue a youth soccer team from a flooded Thai cave was a “child rapist.” The two had previously tangled, though Musk issued an apology after declaring Unsworth a “pedo guy,” slang for pedophile. The latest flap comes shortly after the Tesla CEO abandoned a questionable bid to take Tesla private, a move that has led to growing concerns about his stewardship of the company.

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On Wednesday, Tesla stock dropped to the lowest level in nearly six months, and its bond prices fell to a record low. But Thursday’s share price rebound – the first in eight trading sessions – came as Musk announced some strong sales numbers for the new Model 3 and Tesla’s other product lines. (more…)

FCA Upgrades Proving Grounds for Self-Driving Vehicle Testing

Late to the game, FCA races to make up lost time with $30 mil project.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested $30 million to upgrade its sprawling Chelsea Proving Grounds, an hour west of Detroit to expand its ability to develop and test both autonomous vehicles advanced driver assist system technologies.

The automaker has been slow to embrace self-driving vehicle technology, though it has been able to leapfrog some of its competitors with an expanding tie-up with Waymo, the self-driving spin-off of Google. The new project will allow FCA to test technology from Waymo and other potential partners, as well as systems it may develop in-house.

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“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year,” said Mike Manley, who took over as FCA’s CEO just two months ago. “Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.”

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Ford Denies Plans to Slash European Car Line-Up

Mondeo to get upgrades, no plans to eliminate other car models.

by on Sep.04, 2018

Ford says it will update, rather than eliminate its European midsize sedan, the Mondeo.

Ford Motor Co. is denying a report by the British newspaper, The Times, that it plans to radically cut back its European line-up and shift focus to more profitable SUVs – echoing steps it plans to take in the U.S. market.

The Times reports that Ford would eliminate production of the Mondeo – the global name for what, in the U.S., is known as the Fusion – as well as its Galaxy and S-Max people-movers. The paper said Ford also wants to reduce the number of dealerships its products are sold through in Europe.

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A cutback in passenger car models abroad would follow plans for the U.S. outlined by Ford CEO Jim Hackett earlier this year. Reflecting a dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs, CUVs and pickups, Ford will eliminate virtually all of the passenger car models sold in the States, with the exception of the Mustang “pony car.”

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Tesla Under Assault as Wave of New EVs Come to Market

Mercedes-EQ’s first entry set to target Model 3.

by on Aug.30, 2018

Tesla's Model 3 production has been the focus of the company much of the year, but now Elon Musk is going to need to look over his shoulder.

Its been a rocky road for Tesla during the past year, the automaker struggling to get production of its critical Model 3 under control. But just as the factory in Fremont, California, gets into gear, Tesla is facing a new problem that could prove equally challenging.

Jaguar fired the first shot recently with the launch of its I-Pace battery-electric vehicle. Now, Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to plug in, but rather than target a pricey niche, the electric EQ C crossover the German maker will introduce next week takes direct aim at Tesla’s mainstream-priced Model 3.

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And the assault will only accelerate in the months to come, new long-range EV entries popping up at an ever-increasing pace over the next few years to the point that, by some estimates, there could be as many as 100 alternatives in U.S. showrooms by very early in the decade. (more…)

Foot in Mouth? Musk Raises New Concerns About Leadership by Publicly Reviving Old Spat

Calls it “strange” that “pedo guy” cave diver hasn’t filed suit.

by on Aug.29, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk is back on Twitter and raising more questions about his state of mind.

After slurring as a “pedo guy” someone who had been widely hailed as a hero, most folks would likely be pleased the case didn’t wind up in court.

But, it seems, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a very different opinion about his very public spat with Vernon Unsworth, one of the divers who earlier this summer helped rescue members of a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave. At one point, Musk referred to Unsworth as “pedo guy,” slang for a pedophile, prompting the British diver to threaten to sue for slander. Musk subsequently apologized, but the fact that Unsworth hasn’t sued, the Tesla CEO said in a tweet this week, is “strange.”

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Bringing the issue back up might normally have gone by unnoticed, but it comes at a time when the 47-year-old executive’s actions are coming under much more scrutiny – and criticism – than normal. One reason is the way he handled the announcement that Tesla might take itself private, Musk going so far as to suggest “funding (is) secured,” though that assertion now appears quite questionable and has triggered several lawsuits and an SEC investigation. (more…)

Ford Smacked with Ratings Cut by Moody’s

Automaker's rating is just above junk now.

by on Aug.29, 2018

Moody's cut Ford's rating today from Baa2 two Baa3 — a level above junk status.

It wasn’t long ago that Ford Motor Co. executives were being lauded for having faith in their recovery plan, which included offering the Blue Oval as collateral, and enjoying the full support of the financial community.

That was then. This is now: Moody’s Investor Service downgraded Ford from Baa2 to Baa3, which is one step above a junk rating.

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In announcing the move, Moody’s noted the “erosion in the company’s global business position and the challenges it will face implementing its Fitness Redesign program.” The Fitness Redesign program is Ford’s $11 billion, five-year plan to revitalize the company. (more…)

Bonded: Aston Martin, 007′s Favorite Carmaker Planning IPO

Will investors look past British maker's troubled past?

by on Aug.29, 2018

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, will put his Second Century Plan to the test with a potential $9 billion IPO.

Forget Bond, or bonds, anyway. What Aston Martin is looking at now is stock. The British automaker, best known as the car of choice for super-spy 007, is acting on long-standing rumors and planning to go public.

The company, which has gone bankrupt as many as eight times since it was founded 105 years ago, has staged a major turnaround during the last several years, and it now plans to float as much as a quarter of its existing shares, a move that would raise an estimated £5 billion, or nearly $9 billion for current shareholders. The IPO will be a test of the “Second Century Plan” put in place by CEO Andy Palmer, who joined Aston in mid-2014.

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“Today’s announcement represents a key milestone in the history of the company, which is reporting strong financial results and increased global demand for its award-winning sports cars,” Palmer said in the statement. (more…)

Toyota Investing $500 Mil in Uber, Will Aid in Autonomous Vehicle Efforts

Move could help ride-sharing service in anticipated IPO plan.

by on Aug.28, 2018

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO and Toyota EVP Shigeki Tomoyama shake over their new alliance.

Toyota confirmed  reports it will invest $500 million in Uber and partner with the nation’s largest ride-sharing service on the development of the autonomous and fully driverless vehicles Uber believes will slash its costs and make it a viable alternative to personal vehicle ownership.

The announcement comes barely a week after Uber wrapped up its search for a new chief financial officer, something that, along with the new Toyota alliance, could help move closer to a widely anticipated IPO. The Japanese maker’s investment puts a value of $72 million on Uber.

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“This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company. “Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility.”

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Tesla Staying Public; CEO Musk Facing Further Scrutiny

“The sentiment, in a nutshell, was ‘please don’t do this.’”

by on Aug.25, 2018

CEO Elon Musk has abandoned his plan to take Tesla private, citing investors' concerns.

Less than three weeks after suggesting he was ready to take Tesla private – in the process triggering an SEC investigation – CEO Elon Musk advised employees late Friday night that he has bowed to pressure and will keep the automaker a publicly traded company.

The latest move caps an increasingly turbulent period for the South African-born entrepreneur who has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. That is, in part, due to his frequent tweets, but also because of some of the spats Musk has gotten involved in, at one point using a slang term for pedophile to describe a diver who helped rescue a young soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave. He has also been called out by rapper Azealia Banks for alleged drug use on the night Musk first tweeted about taking Tesla private.

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“Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was ‘please don’t do this,’” Musk wrote in a late Friday e-mail to the automaker’s employees.

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