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  • Today, 10:42 AM
    • While Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) may have grabbed some headlines this week for its ambitious goals with autonomous driving (SAE level 5), the technology is being widely discussed across industries as a potential future reality.
    • At a real estate conference in New York this week, a panel member called autonomous vehicles the biggest tech news concerning real estate in the last ten years. Some see a future reversal of urbanization trends in a development that could have significant investment implications.
    • City planners and architects are already thinking of next-gen design. A paper titled "Beyond Google's Cute Car" (.pdf version) is a good example of how cities are being reimagined.
    • Then there's this from the man who designed the 2015 Ford Mustang. "The next 10 years in this business is going to be the biggest change and challenge since the turn of the last century when cars took over for horses," said Ford design chief Moray Callum. Ford (NYSE:F) aims to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021.
    • Self-driving car development is a topic of discussion on FedEx (NYSE:FDX), UPS (NYSE:UPS), Lyft (Private:LYFT), Uber (Private:UBER), Hertz Global (NYSE:HTZ), Google (GOOGL, GOOG), Avis Budget (NASDAQ:CAR), Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). Earnings season is just heating up, but a host of companies -- including OTCPK:TMOAF, OTCPK:DDAIF, OTCPK:VOLVY, MXIM, CPRT,  WBC, GNTX  and XLNX -- have already talked up the trend on their conference calls. GM reports earnings this week and will update on any self-driving Chevy Bolt plans.
    • Looking ahead, insurance companies, chipmakers, truckers and cybersecurity firms (NYSEARCA:HACK) will be firmly in the self-driving conversation.
    • So who has a profitable trade idea off of the evolution of cars?
    | Today, 10:42 AM | 52 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 8:28 AM
    • Shares of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) are lower in early trading after the company announced it is loading all new cars with self-driving hardware.
    • Elon Musk told reporters last night that he envisions that by the end of 2017 a Tesla vehicle will be able to drive from Los Angeles to New York without the driver touching the wheel. He also said the software system will be built by Tesla and run off of Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) chips.
    • Tesla's timetable is aggressive in relation to the stated plans of some rivals. Earlier this year, Ford (NYSE:F) said it aims to bring a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle to the ride sharing industry by 2021, while Nissan has a target of 2020 for "commercially viable" autonomous models. General Motors (NYSE:GM) already has a pre-production Bolt EV out in the wild, but hasn't set a specific timetable for a fully autonomous version.
    • Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is the company that has posted the most information about the challenges of the self-driving car initiative. A scan of Google's monthly reports is not a bad way to catch up on the burgeoning technology.
    • Previously: Tesla announces all vehicles to be loaded with self-driving hardware (Oct. 19)
    • TSLA -1.74% premarket to $200.01.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 8:28 AM | 242 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 19, 12:14 PM
    • JPMorgan raises its Q3 EPS estimate on General Motors (GM +1.5%) to $1.59 vs. $1.54 prior and $1.44 consensus.
    • "Our stronger General Motors estimate is in large part a result of General Motors production having tracked stronger during the quarter (+14% y/y vs. expectation of +10% y/y at the time of 2Q earnings)," reads the firm's note.
    • GM is due to spill numbers on October 25. Shares of GM are up roughly 2% since the Q2 report was issued.
    | Wed, Oct. 19, 12:14 PM | 9 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 19, 11:35 AM
    • The focus on Apple's (AAPL -0.2%) influence in the automobile sector has shifted away from straight manufacturing to ways the tech company could integrate software, information systems, or automated driving capabilities into next-gen models.
    • The recent developments with Project Titan also raise the stakes on which automakers strike a significant partnership with Apple if the venture makes it past 2017 (the reported AAPL deadline).
    • While many auto industry watchers think major automakers won't convert to the Apple ecosystem across their portfolio, high-end "Applefied" models are seen as a realistic possibility.
    • "A luxury automobile with 'Apple Inside'? That could be hit, and a profitable one yet," writes Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik.
    • SA contributor Bret Kenwell also dug into the Project Titan issue earlier this week.
    • Previously: Bloomberg: Apple scales down automotive strategy, plans to build car postponed (Oct. 17)
    | Wed, Oct. 19, 11:35 AM | 64 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 12:45 PM
    • Oil producers such as ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) must prepare for radical change as adoption of new technologies like electric cars could happen faster than originally anticipated, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings.
    • "Widespread adoption of battery-powered vehicles is a serious threat to the oil industry," and an acceleration of the electrification of transport infrastructure could create an "investor death spiral" as investors flee the oil patch, Fitch warns.
    • Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) upcoming Model 3 will start at $35K before rebates and begin production in late 2017 and is aimed at a broader market, GM's Chevrolet Bolt starts at $37.5K before government incentives and will be available later this year, and other automakers are offering affordable all-electric vehicles, as Fitch estimates battery costs have plunged by 73% since 2008.
    • Fitch notes that some oil majors have taken steps to diversify their offerings, including Total (NYSE:TOT), which has invested in batteries via its $1.1B purchase in May of Saft Groupe and bought a 60% stake in solar panel maker SunPower in 2011.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 12:45 PM | 229 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 14, 7:45 AM
    • Opel (NYSE:GM) car registrations +3.8% to 103,134 units in September, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
    • Overall EU + EFTA registrations +7.2% Y/Y to 1,455,810 units in September on broad gains across the continent. Registrations were up 9% in Germany and 17% in Italy.
    • Opel market share: 6.9% vs. 7.1% a year ago.
    • Opel YTD registrations +6.5%.
    • Results include the Opel, Vauxhall, Chevrolet and other GM brands.
    • EAMA release (.pdf)
    | Fri, Oct. 14, 7:45 AM | 3 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 12, 9:24 AM
    • General Motors (NYSE:GM) acquires a stake in Chinese car-sharing tech specialist Yi Wei Xing Technology Co. for an undisclosed amount.
    • "Yi Wei Xing has solid technologies and innovations that will help us explore more efficient and personalized mobility solutions for consumers in China," says GM Urban Mobility exec Julia Steyn.
    • GM press release
    | Wed, Oct. 12, 9:24 AM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 11, 5:34 PM
    • General Motors (NYSE:GM) says it will add a third shift and 650 jobs at its factory in Spring Hill, Tenn., to meet strong demand for its recently launched Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia crossover SUVs.
    • The XT5 has become Cadillac's best-selling model with more than 22K sales in the U.S. and ~37.5K globally; a plant in China builds the model for that country and the Spring Hill plant makes for other markets.
    • The Acadia's 2016 U.S. sales are down 22% Y/Y at ~58.5K through September, in large part because of the introduction of the 2017 version of the crossover and the sell-down at lower volumes of the older model earlier this year.
    • There were ~3,265 hourly and salaried employees at the Spring Hill factory as of Sept. 1.
    | Tue, Oct. 11, 5:34 PM | 7 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 10, 4:45 PM
    • A development to watch in the automobile industry is the reaction to the vote last week in Germany by the Bundesrat to ban vehicles powered by gas and diesel by 2030.
    • The non-binding resolution will place more pressure on the European Commission to promote zero-emission mobility, even with the long time frame in place.
    • The relative ease with which the 16 German states on the council came to pass the measure could explain the very strong electrification push recently out of Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY), Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF), and BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY).
    • Other automakers including Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), and Toyota (NYSE:TM) will also keep a watch on the efforts in Europe to cut out ICE models.
    | Mon, Oct. 10, 4:45 PM | 267 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 10, 3:49 PM
    • General Motors (NYSE:GMannounces deliveries in China rose 16% in September to 343,773 units.
    • Cadillac deliveries rose 63% to 12,539 units, a new monthly record for the brand in China.
    • Baojun deliveries were up 33% Y/Y to 62,719 units.
    • Chevrolet deliveries lagged with a 2.6% gain to 51,932 units for the month.
    • YTD retail sales for GM are up 9% to 2,718,315 units.
    | Mon, Oct. 10, 3:49 PM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 10:35 AM
    • General Motors (GM +1.2%) is higher after besting estimates with its report on September U.S. sales.
    • Sales by brand: Chevrolet -0.3% to 170,237 units; GMC -8.7% to 43,268; Buick +14.1% to 20,922; Cadillac +3.1% at 15,368.
    • Sales volume leader: Silverado-C/K pickup -15.5% to 45,380 units.
    • Sales growth leader: Volt +114% to 2,031 units.
    • "We continue to lead the retail truck industry and gained share in the two largest car segments," said Sales VP Kurt McNeil. "We are achieving these results while maintaining disciplined incentive spending and commanding the industry’s best average transaction prices for any full-line manufacturer," he noted.
    • Previously: General Motors September U.S. sales: -0.6% (Oct. 3)
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 10:35 AM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 10:20 AM
    • General Motors (NYSE:GM) unit sales -0.6% to 249,795. Kelley Blue Book forecast a drop of 1.7% for the month.
    • The company says retail market share increased 30 bps during the month as the automaker's sales outpaced several major peers. GM has now gobbled up market share in 15 out of the last 18 months.
    • The average transaction price of a GM sale in September was up 3.4% Y/Y to $38,794 off an improvement in mix.
    • GM ended the month with 79 days supply vs. 74 days at the end of August.
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 10:20 AM
  • Fri, Sep. 30, 11:02 AM
    • General Motors (GM +0.9%) plans to introduce a new sub-brand within Buick called Avenir.
    • The Avenir nameplate will debut in 2018 and is said to include futuristic models.
    • "Avenir will be Buick's signature, the highest expression of the luxury experience we're delivering now and in the future," says a top global sales exec.
    • Avenir Concept sneak peek
    • Buick sales in the U.S. are down 0.4% YTD through the end of August.
    | Fri, Sep. 30, 11:02 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 2:09 AM
    • The union representing Canadian auto workers has won approval for a new four-year contract with General Motors (NYSE:GM), securing future support for Canada's weakening auto sector and eventually giving GM more capacity for its pickup trucks in the U.S.
    • The deal, which was ratified by 64.7% of Unifor workers, clears the way for $544M in local investment, better job security and wage increases, but less favorable pensions than before.
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 2:09 AM | 4 Comments
  • Sat, Sep. 24, 9:00 AM
    • General Motors (NYSE:GM) hopes to fill a void in the U.S. diesel market created by the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Volkswagen's sales in the U.S. have plummeted since the company admitted using an emissions test defeat device.
    • The Detroit automaker plans to offer a diesel option of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and next year's Chevrolet Cruze. Execs feel there is still some underlying demand with consumers who prefer the advantages of diesel.
    • GM has its bases covered with the development of the all-electric Bolt off to a strong start. The Bolt could be mass produced down the road if high gas prices stoke EV demand.
    | Sat, Sep. 24, 9:00 AM | 11 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 23, 3:36 PM
    • General Motors (GM -0.5%) is offering a buyout to 400 of its 925 Cadillac dealers, a key step to a coming brand overhaul to improve Cadillac's competitive outlook.
    • The dealers were informed of the plan, which targets the smaller Cadillac dealers, this morning.
    • Targeted dealers typically sell fewer than 50 models a year.
    • They're being offered up to $180,000 in "transition assistance" aimed at those unwilling to invest in new standards -- "Project Pinnacle" -- that the company rolled out.
    • Despite heavy investment, Cadillac sales have fallen far behind German rivals and those of Toyota's Lexus mark.
    | Fri, Sep. 23, 3:36 PM | 33 Comments