Tesla added to Uber London plan to boost electric car uptake

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesla cars from Wednesday will be available to Uber drivers in London looking to buy or lease a green vehicle as part of an incentive scheme to boost electric car use, the ride-hailing app said.

Since Uber introduced a clean air fee, which adds 3 pence (4 cents) to every mile of a passenger trip in London, more than 135 million pounds has been collected for drivers to use towards environmentally-friendly models at discounted rates with partners such as Nissan and Kia.

Tesla will join the scheme, Uber said on Wednesday, just over a week after announcing a partnership with rental company Hertz to offer 50,000 Teslas as a rental option for its ride-hail drivers by 2023 in the United States.

Over 4,000 Uber drivers have switched to electric vehicles in London, giving the app more fully electric cars there than in any other major global city.

“There is still a lot of work to do to drive a green recovery and clean up urban transport, but the progress we are seeing in London is significant and as a city we are leading the way globally,” said Uber’s Northern and Eastern Europe boss Jamie Heywood.

 

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Sarah Young)

Tesla Price Prediction: A Blow-off Top Followed by Epic Collapse

  • Hertz Announced an initial order of 100,000 Tesla’s to be filled by year-end 2022.
  • Tesla skyrocketed from a $913-billion market cap (October 22, 2021) to $1.21 trillion.
  • The bullish response added $300 billion, implying a $3-million price tag per vehicle ordered (not sold).

Tesla Daily Chart

Tesla shares skyrocketed above $1000 on the Hertz announcement. Tesla is now worth more than all the auto manufacturers combined. More on that later.

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Tesla Market Cap

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Gross Profit

Let’s say Tesla makes a generous $20,000 profit per vehicle ($20,000 X 100,000). That indicates a gross profit of $2 billion, far shy of the $300-billion increase. What is going on here?

Ford Motor Company

By comparison, Ford Motor Company currently sports a $72-billion market cap, so Tesla adding $300 billion in market cap is like adding four (4) Ford Motor Companies.

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Major Auto Companies by Market Cap

Below is a quick rundown of all major auto manufacturers by current market cap. Tesla is worth more than all and sells less than 1% of the vehicles.

With a market cap of $1.21 trillion, TSLA is trading at a 25% premium above all auto manufacturers on the planet!

Tesla looks, acts, and smells like a bubble. The question is…when will it pop?

AG Thorson is a registered CMT and expert in technical analysis. He believes we are in the final stages of a global debt super-cycle. For regular updates, please visit here, or follow AG on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ag_thorson

Nissan Raises Earnings Outlook, Optimistic Chip Crunch Will Ease

By Norihiko Shirouzu

The company also warned that a global shortage of semiconductor chips will significantly hurt sales volume in the July-September quarter, but added that demand for its newly launched, pricier models will mitigate the impact on profits.

Nissan hopes to make up for production and sales losses during the latter half of the fiscal year ending March 2022 and expects semiconductor shortages to ease during that period, Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta told reporters.

“Nobody has got a crystal ball. Nobody. But there are some assumptions,” he said, referring to an expected easing of the crisis, partly because a fire-hit Renesas Electronics chip plant in Japan is functioning again.

Nissan, Japan’s No. 3 carmaker, maintained its global sales target of 4.4 million vehicles that it had set for the year in May.

Nissan sold 1.048 million vehicles in April-June, up 63% from a year earlier, when global demand was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It sold 378,000 vehicles in North America (U.S., Canada and Mexico), up 70% from a year earlier, while sales in China totaled 352,000 vehicles, a 71% increase.

Sales in the United States totaled 298,000 vehicles, up 68% from a year earlier.

Chief Executive Makoto Uchida said Nissan will have to live with business uncertainties, including higher raw materials costs, for the remainder of the year.

The auto industry has been grappling with a months-long shortage of semiconductor chips, which has forced them to cut production and delay car deliveries.

Some companies such as Stellantis, owner of brands including Peugeot and Jeep, have said they expect the shortage to easily drag into next year.

Some, though, like Taiwan chipmaker TSMC and Volkswagen said they are seeing some signs that the crunch is easing.

Despite that, Nissan had a good start to the year, Gupta said, attributing the surprise first-quarter profit partly to the company efficiently managing supply chains and strategically using its chip stockpile, minimizing the impact of the shortage.

Nissan reported an operating profit of 75.68 billion yen ($688.6 million) for the first quarter ended June 30. Analysts had expected a loss of 42.72 billion yen, according to Refinitive SmartEstimates.

For the year ending March 2022, Nissan now expects an operating profit of 150 billion yen. In May, the company had forecast that it would break even in the period.

($1 = 109.9100 yen)

(Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu, editing by Louise Heavens and Kim Coghill)

UK Vauxhall Factory Gets New Lease of Life With Electric Vans

By Costas Pitas

Nissan pledged last week to invest further in the country with plans for a new giant battery plant, as companies electrify their line-ups ahead of looming bans.

The future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory had been uncertain since its owner said in 2019 that it wanted to make the new Astra car there, but that would depend on the outcome of Brexit, which was only settled in December 2020.

Stellantis said it had been “supported by the UK government”, having sought a binding commitment from the authorities to make fresh investment. Some car companies have received around 10% towards their spending.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence in our economy, in the people of Ellesmere Port and in our fantastic post-Brexit trading relationships,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Trade barrier fears prompted some to halt investment in recent years but a Dec. 24 agreement secured zero-tariff trade for the sector, subject to vehicles containing a minimum level of parts sourced from the region.

From later in 2022, the site will produce the Vauxhall/Opel Combo-e, Peugeot e-Partner and Citroen e-Berlingo vans and their passenger car variants, making the location Stellantis’ first site dedicated to battery electric vehicles for the brands.

Cells will be imported from its affiliate ACC in continental Europe or other suppliers although the company said it did not rule out UK production if it later needed additional capacity.

Van demand has risen more quickly than for cars this year in Britain following store closures and an increase in online shopping.

Vauxhall, which trades as Opel in continental Europe, already produces vans at its southern English Luton factory where it made just over 62,000 vehicles last year.

In May, Stellantis said the site would gain a third shift to meet demand for the Vivaro, Citroen Jumpy/Dispatch and Peugeot Expert.

More spending could come as it intends “to consult on further investment into the Ellesmere Port site with the creation of a new UK parts distribution centre”.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden and Barbara Lewis)

Nissan Bets Big on Uk With Ev Battery Plant and New Crossover

By Guy Faulconbridge and Paul Sandle

Facing the most profound technological shift in a century, the titans of the auto industry are racing to secure battery supply close to the factories where they will make the new cleaner electric vehicles of the future.

Nissan’s backing for the 9 gigawatt hours (GWh) plant cements its wager on Britain five years after the Brexit vote threatened to block off the rest of the European market.

The 1 billion-pound investment by Nissan, its Chinese partner Envision AESC and local government in northeast England will create 6,200 jobs at the Sunderland plant and in British supply chains.

“Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

“This is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution and securing its future for decades to come.”

The capacity of the new plant is on a par with one announced by France’s Renault and Envision earlier this week.

Nissan will spend up to 423 million pounds to produce a new-generation all-electric crossover vehicle at the plant where it already produces the LEAF electric vehicle and the Qashqai crossover SUV.

As world powers try to slash carbon emissions by scrapping the fossil-fuel guzzling internal combustion engine, one of the icons of 20th Century capitalism, Britain has pledged to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030.

Going electric, though, is hard.

ELECTRIC FUTURE

China dominates the production of electric vehicle batteries and the processing of the core minerals such as rare earths used to make them, though the United States and Europe and are trying to catch up, albeit slowly.

Western leaders, including Johnson, are loath to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of automotive jobs – often in politically sensitive constituencies – in exchange for importing batteries from China.

But unless Britain can build both battery production and supply chains, it risks losing its four-decade reputation as the investor-friendly gateway of choice for top companies seeking to export to the rest of Europe.

Envision could invest an additional 1.8 billion pounds in the battery plant to generate up to 25GWh and create 4,500 new jobs in the region by 2030. There is potential on site for up to 35GWh, Nissan said.

Nissan said its new crossover built in Sunderland, on the Alliance CMF-EV platform shared by partners Renault and Mitsubishi, would be exported to European markets.

BREXIT

Japanese capital has used Britain as a gateway to Europe since the early 1980s, when then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher persuaded Nissan bosses to build their plant in the northeastern English city of Sunderland on an old air force airfield.

As British automakers withered, Nissan flourished: Thatcher personally opened the plant in 1986 and was pictured sitting at the wheel of a Nissan Bluebird.

Japanese investors worried that the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote – which was particularly strong in Sunderland – would scupper their bets, though the worst ravages of a tumultuous no-deal Brexit were avoided.

The Brexit trade deal agreed with the European Union last year allowed the free trade of cars but with a dangerous twist about rules of origin: at least 40% of the value of a car has to be produced in the United Kingdom or EU to be sold in the EU.

The rules rise to 55% from 2027 – a crucial detail that would mean an imported battery, which can make up half the vehicle’s showroom sale price – would close off the European market to British-based car factories such as Nissan.

It was not immediately clear if the British government had given any guarantees or incentives for the Nissan investment. The government declined to comment.

Nissan’s Sunderland plant was one of the first in Europe to build electric vehicle batteries, though its stake in the joint venture was bought out by Envision AESC.

“Our announcement today comes out of lengthy discussions held within our teams, and will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality,” Nissan Chief Executive Officer Makoto Uchida said.

(editing by John Stonestreet)

Self-Driving Startup Weride Deepens Ties With Nissan, Raises $310 Million

WeRide, led by founder Tony Han, is pursuing what is known in the auto industry as a level 4 autonomous standard, in which the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

WeRide, which is testing vehicles in California, its headquarters in China’s southern city of Guangzhou and the central city of Zhengzhou, did not disclose details on the size of the funding.

Investors for the $310 million funding round include Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and China Structural Reform Fund, WeRide said in a statement.

Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer of Nissan, said, “As China stands at the forefront of helping define the future of mobility, we are delighted to partner with WeRide to bring even more innovative technologies and services to enrich people’s lives in China.”

Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of mobility.

In Guangzhou, where several COVID-19 cases were reported in recent weeks, WeRide and several other autonomous driving companies, including Toyota-backed Pony.ai, are delivering essential goods to residents in locked-down communities using self-driving vehicles.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Renault-nissan’s India Unit Wants State Govt to Set Social Distancing Rules

By Sudarshan Varadhan

It said in a court filing that it was following practices at other automakers including “Maruti, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, BMW” and that increasing the distance between workers to more than two to three feet at some work stations was “impossible”.

M Moorthy, the general secretary of the Renault-Nissan India workers union, said the union will file a counter petition.

“Other manufacturers need to adopt the best practices we are pushing for, not the other way around. We feel unsafe, and that is why we are against what the company is doing,” Moorthy said.

The Renault-Nissan plant resumed operations last week after workers earlier went on strike saying they felt unsafe due to a rising number of coronavirus infections at the factory.

Tamil Nadu is one of the worst Indian states affected by the pandemic and labour unions for Renault-Nissan, Ford Motor Co and Hyundai Motor Co have written letters of protest, arguing that hundreds of workers in the auto manufacturing hub of Chennai have fallen ill with COVID-19 and dozens have died.

Ford and Hyundai also halted work at their plants last month after workers protested and some went on strike.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Indian Court Orders Covid-Related Audit of Renault-Nissan Plant

By Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditi Shah

Workers at the southern Indian factory, jointly owned by Renault and alliance partner Nissan Motor, will not report for duty on Monday over COVID-related safety concerns, a worker union told the company in a letter, extending a halt in production since May 26.

Nissan, which owns a majority stake in the plant, denied the allegations in court, saying it follows all guidelines. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The standoff is a sign of the challenges companies face in resuming operations when new infections in India are rising. Tamil Nadu state is one of the worst affected, with over 30,000 new cases a day.

Hundreds of workers near the auto manufacturing hub of Chennai have fallen ill with COVID-19 and dozens have died, labour unions say.

Renault-Nissan, Ford and Hyundai halted work at their plants last week after workers protested and some went on strike.

Renault-Nissan workers refused to resume work on Monday saying in the letter their demands, including social distancing, rehabilitation of families of deceased workers and medical treatment of those affected by COVID-19, had not been met.

A two-judge bench ordered a senior government official in charge of industrial safety to visit the plant on Tuesday for an inspection, while also asking workers to resume their duties.

The court said this will give workers an opportunity to meet the government official and along with the management they can check safety measures in place.

“Distancing norms have to be maintained without exception, the court said, directing the management and workers to arrive at an amicable solution.

Renault-Nissan said it has reduced production at the plant, its only manufacturing base in India, to 7,129 cars during the 13 working days in May against a target of 18,852 cars. In April, it manufactured 17,207 cars.

“They are disrupting the work which will impact the business and lives of thousands of people including the workmen’s own dependents,” Renault-Nissan said in a filing dated May 31.

The case will next be heard on Friday.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan in Chennai and Aditi Shah in New Delhi; Editing by Giles Elgood and Alexander Smith)

Renault-nissan And Hyundai Face Shutdowns In India Over Workers’ Covid Fears

By Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditi Shah

Workers at Renault-Nissan’s car plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu will go on strike on Wednesday because their COVID-related safety demands have not been met, a union representing the workers told the company in a letter on Monday.

Hyundai, meanwhile, has agreed to send its workers on five days of leave starting on Tuesday during which time its plant, also in Tamil Nadu, will remain shut, said E Muthukumar, president of the Hyundai Motor India Employees Union.

The unrest highlights the challenges companies face in India amid a huge wave of COVID-19 infections and a shortage of vaccines which is making employees more fearful.

Tamil Nadu is one of the worst hit states with more than 30,000 cases a day last week. The state, an auto hub known as India’s Detroit, has imposed a lockdown until May 31 but allowed some factories, including auto plants, to continue operating.

The five-day production halt at Hyundai’s plant comes after several workers briefly staged a sit-in protest on Monday before resuming work for the day, two union sources said.

“The management agreed to close the plant after workers expressed concerns over safety after two employees succumbed to COVID,” Muthukumar told Reuters.

Hyundai Motor India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The strike threat at the Renault-Nissan plant came ahead of a court hearing on Monday over allegations from workers that social distancing norms were being flouted and factory health policies did not sufficiently address the risk to lives.

“Due to unsafe working conditions and as the union demands have not been met … members of this union will not report to work from the first shift on Wednesday,” the union said in a letter dated May 24, reviewed by Reuters.

It said workers would not return until they felt safe. The union represents about 3,500 workers at the plant.

Nissan, which owns a majority stake in the plant, declined to comment.

Renault-Nissan told an Indian court last week it rejected claims that COVID-19 safety protocols were being ignored at the factory, adding it needed to continue production to meet orders.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditi Shah. Editing by Ed Osmond, Mark Potter and David Clarke)

Renault-Nissan fights court battle with Indian workers on operations during COVID-19 surge

By Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditi Shah

Renault-Nissan India and workers at its plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu have been locked in a legal tussle after workers petitioned a court to halt operations because social distancing norms were being flouted and company-provided health benefits were outweighed by the risk to their lives.

In response, Renault-Nissan has argued in a court filing – which is not public – that there was a “compelling need” to continue operations to fulfil domestic and export orders. It said all COVID-19 norms were being followed.

The case will next be heard on Monday at the Madras High Court when the state government, which is also party to the case, is expected to file its response.

A top Tamil Nadu state official told Reuters on Sunday automobile companies will be allowed to continue operations, but action will be taken against violations of social distancing protocols by any company.

The legal battle highlights the challenges big companies are facing to keep operating in India amid heightened worries from employees who fear for their health and safety.

“It is a question of life versus livelihood,” M Moorthy, general secretary of Renault Nissan India workers union which represents all 3,500 permanent factory workers, told Reuters. “We just want social distancing protocols to be followed and the management to be responsible for any risks to the workers or their family members.”

The factory, which produces Nissan, Renault and Datsun cars, also employees 3,000 contract workers, 2,500 staff members and 700 apprentices.

Nissan, which has a majority stake in the Renault-Nissan India plant, declined to comment for this article.

India is currently facing its second wave of coronavirus infections. Tamil Nadu is one of the worst hit states recording more than 30,000 cases each day.

The state, an auto hub dubbed as India’s “Detroit”, has imposed a full lockdown until May 31 but has allowed some factories, including automobiles, to continue operating.

Renault-Nissan’s May 16 court filing shows it has pending export orders of about 35,000 vehicles for the May-October period, which if not fulfilled could lead to penalties and loss of business. It also has 45,000 pending domestic bookings for the recently launched Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger cars.

The company’s petition says it has always prioritised employee safety and “has left no stone unturned” to ensure the infection does not spread.

“The travelling public consider private vehicles as a safe mode of travel … there is a compelling need for the state to ensure the continued operations of the automobile manufacturers,” the petition said.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah and Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Lincoln Feast.)