A host of factors such as pollution issues, technical superiority and stricter fuel-emission standards have turned the fortunes in favor of electric vehicles (EVs). The demand for electric cars is off the charts. Despite a global deficit in semiconductor supply and other supply chain issues, legacy auto giants like Ford F and General Motors GM are witnessing remarkable growth in sales of green vehicles. EV king Tesla TSLA smashed monthly sales records in China last month. Meanwhile, China’s rising EV star NIO Inc. NIO entered four more European countries after Norway to spur its EV progress overseas. Rivian Automotive RIVN also made headlines as it issued a recall for nearly 13,000 EVs, covering mostly all its vehicles, over loosened fasteners.
While Tesla, Ford, Rivian and NIO carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), General Motors currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Last Week’s Top Stories
Ford’s EV sales in the United States jumped 197.3% year over year to 4,691 units in September. The company’s share of the U.S. EV market increased 3% year over year in September. Sales nearly tripled, led by soaring demand for F-150 e-pickup. Since its launch in June, Ford has sold 8,760 units. In fact, F-150 Lightning is one of Ford’s fastest-turning vehicles at dealerships, averaging just eight days. Ford’s E-Transit commercial van is also gaining immense popularity, securing a 90% share in the electric van market. The F150 Lightning and the E-Transit were the best-selling e-pickup and e-van in September. Sales of the hot-selling Mustang Mach-E model rose 47.3% year over year last month.
Last week, Ford also hiked the starting price of the F-150 e-pickup by $5,000, thanks to supply chain snafus and rising commodity costs. Markedly, the price has been raised for the second time in just less than two months. The base 2023 F-150 Lightning is now priced at $51,974 — up roughly 11% from the previous hike in August. The updated price represents a 30% increase from the original sticker price of $39,974 price in May 2021.
General Motors reported its highest quarterly sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV for the three months ending September. Sales of these models totaled 14,709 units in the third quarter. GM is now set to ramp up production of the EV Chevrolet Bolt and other vehicles.The company intends to bolster Bolt’s global production capacity to more than 70,000 units in 2023 from the current level of 44,000 vehicles. In the first nine months of 2022, GM sold 22,012 Bolts, 782 Hummer EV pickups and 36 Lyriq SUVs. The company plans to increase the production of Cadillac Lyriq in the fourth quarter. It is also contemplating additional production shifts for GMC Hummer EVs beginning next year.
In another development, GM Defense— a subsidiary of General Motors— was selected last week by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to build a battery pack prototype for testing and analysis on Department of Defense platforms. To meet the requirements of the DIU, General Motors will be leveraging its proprietary battery technology, the Ultium platform. This award follows GM Defense’s contract with the U.S. Army in July to provide a GMC HUMMER EV Pickup for analysis and demonstration.
NIO made headway into four more European countries after entering Norway in 2021. At a recent event in Berlin, NIO announced extending its services to Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. The selling strategy, however, is different from the Norwegian market, wherein the automaker sells its EVs directly. Instead, in the new markets, it has introduced a subscription-based model through which customers can lease vehicles and rent NIO’s three models namely ET7, EL7 and ET5.
Deliveries of the flagship ET7 are expected to begin in Germany and the Netherlands on Oct 16, followed by Sweden and Denmark on Nov 15. At the end of January 2023, EL7 will be available in all four markets. The ET5 model is slated to debut at the end of March 2023.NIO eyes the global market to strengthen its electric opportunities. At the Berlin event, the company announced that it will expand its footprint in 25 countries and regions by 2025.
Rivian issued a massive recall of nearly all its EVs on the grounds of a potential problem that could make a driver lose steering control. The EV maker announced that it is recalling about 13,000 vehicles built in late 2021 and through September 2022, after it was discovered that a fastener connecting the front upper control arm and steering knuckle might come loose in some vehicles. The problem could lead to excess wheel tilt and, in some rare cases, separation of the wheel, disabling the driver to steer the vehicle, posing a serious threat to the safety of drivers and passengers.
The affected customers were notified about the recall decision after seven reports potentially related to the structural issue of a torqued fastener came to light. However, no injuries were reported due to the malfunction. Rivian hopes the financial impact of the recall to be negligible and has ensured checks on all its vehicles within 30 days. Although Rivian had a thumping initial public offering last year in November, the automaker has been struggling to some extent to produce vehicles without being affected by quality issues. The ongoing parts shortage is already impeding deliveries and recalls further add to the woes.
Tesla delivered 83,135 made-in-China EVs last month, crossing its monthly sales record in China, per the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). This represents an 8% increase from August sales volumes. September sales units mark a new record for Tesla’s Shanghai factory since December 2019, topping the previous sales record of 78,906 units. The increase is the result of the Shanghai factory upgrade undertaken by TSLA. The company had temporarily halted most operations at the Shanghai plant in July for an upgrade. That brought the factory's weekly output capacity to around 22,000 units, higher than around 17,000 in June, per CPCA data.
Last to last week, Tesla released its third-quarter 2022 production and deliveries update. It produced 365,923 vehicles (comprising 19,935 Model S/X units and 345,988 Model 3/Y units) globally. Third-quarter deliveries totaled 343,830 units (consisting of 18,672 Model S/X units and 325,158 Model 3/Y units) worldwide.
The following table shows the price movement of some of the major EV players over the last week and six-month period.
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research
What’s Next in the Space?
Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming EV models and any important updates from the red-hot industry.
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