Tesla Is Gearing Up For The Big EV Battle To Come

Illustration for article titled Tesla Is Gearing Up For The Big EV Battle To Come

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Tesla knows the EV battle is an international competition, Nissan has raised billions and Trump. All that and more in The Morning Shift for September 11, 2020.


1st Gear: Tesla

Tesla’s Shanghai plant opened last year with a mission to churn out Model 3s and Model Ys. Now, Bloomberg reports the plant will export some of its cars abroad.


Via Bloomberg:

Tesla plans to ship cars made at its Shanghai plant to other markets in Europe and Asia, according to people familiar with the matter.

China-built Tesla Model 3s intended for delivery outside the country will likely start mass production in the fourth quarter, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

The people said the markets targeted include Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, as well as Europe, where customers currently have to wait for a Tesla to be delivered from the U.S.

Shipments could start as soon as the end of this year, or early 2021, according to the people.

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This is a sign of Tesla’s ambition, though also may be a sign that Tesla has a surplus in China.

In China, Tesla delivers around 11,000 cars a month, all for the domestic market. Startup Nio has been averaging around 3,500 recently, by comparison.

Analysts at Credit Suisse Group described Tesla’s export plans as positive for the company, noting that China-made Model 3s have a lower cost than those built in the U.S. They said, however, that any move to export may signal that demand in China is below capacity.


2nd Gear: Trump Goes To Michigan To Talk Car Manufacturing

I can remember a time when news articles weren’t written in the style of “the president of the United States just said something and it was a lie” but that’s where we are right now.


Here’s Bloomberg—Bloomberg! As middle-of-the-road news organization as one can find!—reporting on President Trump’s visit to Michigan yesterday:

President Donald Trump made inflated claims at a campaign rally Thursday that he had revived the auto industry in the U.S. and Michigan, at one point suggesting he had forced Japanese carmakers to build factories in the state. They are not.

“We brought you a lot of car plants, Michigan,” Trump said at an airport rally attended by thousands of people in Freeland. “It’s been a long time since you had all these plants being built.”

One new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant is under construction in Detroit, and two others are planned in the state, one by Navya SAS, a French shuttle bus maker, and another by Waymo, an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary working on autonomous cars.

Auto industry jobs declined under Trump because of the Covid-19 pandemic from 956,000 in January 2017, when Trump took office, to about 905,000 people in the sector as of August. Before virus-related shutdowns cut vehicle sales, employment had risen to 994,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Not much else to say at this point, really. I am well past trying to figure out why anyone supports the orange man but the most charitable reason I can think of is that his supporters regard him as a useful idiot.

3rd Gear: Sharp Beats Daimler

Sharp, the company that made the small TV you had in your childhood bedroom, said Friday that it had won a lawsuit against Daimler for patent infringement. Somewhat excitingly, this means Sharp can enforce a sales ban, though the full implications of that are unclear at the moment.


Via Reuters:

A district court in Munich ruled that mobile communications technology used in Daimler vehicles violates a patent owned by Sharp, the Japanese electronics company said.

A source familiar with the matter said Sharp can enforce a sales ban against Daimler if it posts 5.5 million euros ($6.5 million) as a guarantee to cover any damages in the event the ban is overturned on appeal.

Daimler has filed a nullity action against the patent in a separate lawsuit before Germany’s federal patent court in Munich.


4th Gear: Nissan Raises $8 Billion

Nissan has had an especially terrible time of it lately, with sales falling off a cliff and not just because of the pandemic. Today, however, there is some possible good news, with Bloomberg reporting that the company has raised $8 billion in bond sales. Big losses are still in the picture, however.

The automaker sold the dollar securities in four parts, and may debut a public euro note offering as soon as Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. The fundraising comes after Nissan recorded its biggest loss in about 20 years, and underscores broader strength in global credit markets after a rally sparked by monetary stimulus from March.

It adds to record bond sales in the U.S. currency from Asian issuers this year as companies load up on cash amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nissan, which allied with Renault Group in 1999 and later took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors, is cutting jobs and capacity as the crisis hits demand, while seeking to revive an aging lineup and improve margins. For the current fiscal year through March, Nissan is forecasting a 470 billion yen ($4.4 billion) operating loss.

Nissan paid investors additional interest on the notes compared with what similarly rated companies are offering buyers for debt, according to Owen Gallimore, head of credit strategy at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. The shorter maturity dates in the deal started to rally in Asia on Friday, he said.


5th Gear: Volkswagen Group Still Really Wants Navistar

Volkswagen Group is now offering $3.6 billion for the heavy-truck maker, on the heels of news last week that the acquisition attempt had been rekindled. Navistar makes International-branded trucks and lots of other stuff.


Via Reuters:

The German automaker made a $35 per share offer in January to try to increase its stake in Navistar beyond the 16.6% it bought in 2016, but failed to secure a majority stake. Analysts at Jefferies have said Navistar is worth at least $45 a share.

Volkswagen said Traton’s new offer valued the shares in Navistar it doesn’t already own at around $3.6 billion.

“We believe it’s in Traton’s interest to move quickly on NAV (Navistar) as NAFTA truck market recovers,” Jefferies said in a note on Thursday, referring to North American markets.

Navistar said it would review the revised offer.

“Navistar’s Board of Directors and management team are committed to exploring all avenues to maximize value. Consistent with its fiduciary duties, the Board will carefully review the revised proposal from Traton,” Navistar said.


Reverse: 9/11


Neutral: How Are You?

Everyone gets to tell their 9/11 story once and only once. Mine: I was a senior in high school in Kent, Ohio. At some point, after the first plane hit but before the news had spread I left class to go to the bathroom and noticed a couple of kids watching TV in the cafeteria, which was unusual since it wasn’t lunchtime. I joined them and didn’t bother to return to class, since all a sudden it felt pretty insignificant. The rest of the day was spent in other classes, where regularly-scheduled programming was canceled and they wheeled in TVs and we watched CNN and eventually everyone went home, utterly unable to process any of it. Nine years later a kid who grew up on my block died while serving in Afghanistan. In the ‘90s, we were just kids in the neighborhood.

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