|Bid||0.00 x 800|
|Ask||0.00 x 1000|
|Day's Range||10.01 - 10.16|
|52 Week Range||9.70 - 15.10|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||N/A|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- When automakers were first hit with chip shortages at the end of last year, they tried idling factories until the troubles blew over. But with the crisis stretching into its fifth month and getting worse, they’re getting creative to keep at least some production moving forward.Nissan is leaving navigation systems out of thousands of vehicles that typically would have them because of the shortages. Ram no longer offers its 1500 pickups with a standard “intelligent” rearview mirror that monitors for blind spots. Renault has stopped offering an oversized digital screen behind the steering wheel on its Arkana SUV -- also to save on chips.The crisis is an historic test for the century-old auto industry just as it is trying to accelerate a shift toward smarter, electric vehicles. For decades, carmakers moved steadily to include more and better advanced features; now, they’re stripping some of them out -- at least temporarily -- to salvage their sales.That rollback underscores the depth of the issues facing the industry. Just last week, BMW AG, Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. all flagged worsening problems from chip shortages. A failure to secure critical supplies is a massive short-term setback -- millions of vehicle sales will be lost this year -- and bodes ill for the future as competition from tech-savvy internet and consumer-electronics companies intensifies.“This probably gets worse before it gets better,” said Stacy Rasgon, who covers the semiconductor industry for Sanford C. Bernstein. “It just takes a long time to bring this capacity online.”NXP Semiconductor NV Chief Executive Officer Kurt Sievers said the shift to electric vehicles is happening faster than anticipated, which has added to the increased demand for automotive chips. NXP plans to ship at least 20% more auto chips by revenue in the first half of 2021 compared with the first half of 2019, even though car production has dropped about 10% over the period, he said.Mark Liu, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., cautioned the crisis is far from over. His company, which is the world’s most advanced chipmaker and will be critical to any resolution, will begin to meet auto clients’ minimum requirements by June, but expects the car-chip shortages could last until early 2022, he said in an interview with CBS.Automakers can’t just wait. One reaction to the shortage is to allocate the scarce components to more profitable and better-selling vehicles at the expense of other models -- something manufacturers like France’s Renault SA and Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. are doing.Carmakers are also building vehicles with less technology. Peugeot is going back to old-fashioned analog speedometers for its 308 hatchbacks, rather than use digital versions that need hard-to-find chips. General Motors Co. said it built some Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks without a certain fuel-economy module, costing drivers about 1 mile per gallon. Nissan is cutting the number of vehicles with pre-installed navigation systems by about a third, according to a person familiar with the matter.Why Can’t We Just Make More Chips?The Japanese manufacturer, which in early January became one of the first automakers to warn of an impending shortage, is also prioritizing chip supply to the two best-selling models in each major market, the person said. In one instance, Nissan flew chip supplies from India to the U.S. on a chartered cargo flight to help production move forward there. A representative for Nissan declined to comment.Buyers of Renault’s sporty Arkana now have to settle for a smaller display without a navigation map, and forgo an option for a phone charger by induction.Stellantis NV -- formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group -- has modified the Ram 1500 pickup so that the digital rearview mirror that usually comes standard is now available only as an upgrade option, according to a person familiar with the matter. The manufacturer is also using parts that don’t require chips from its more basic Ram Classic truck to keep the pricier version moving down the assembly line.“Given the fluid nature of this complex issue, Stellantis employees across the enterprise are finding creative solutions every day to minimize the impact to our vehicles so we can build the most in-demand products as possible,” spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in an email.The car industry’s predicament dates back to poor planning during the pandemic and limited chipmaking capacity, but it’s been compounded by shrinking available cargo space as the global economy recovers from Covid-19. When automakers can secure orders, their chips often can’t ship.That bottleneck is compounded by the fact that major car-chip makers NXP, Infineon Technologies AG and Renesas Electronics Corp. account for just 40% of supply, with the remaining 60% split between tens of thousands of smaller designers. Those smaller players often lack the influence to get their chips manufactured at foundries when capacity is tight.In at least one case, carmakers are asking a major chipmaker to send microcontrollers that don’t meet standard specifications, a person familiar with the matter said. Those sub-standard chips wouldn’t jeopardize safety essentials, like brakes, the person said, but they could mean in-car entertainment or emissions monitoring systems are more likely to malfunction in extreme weather.Automakers and suppliers can accept whatever chips are available and rewrite the software to give them a new task, said Sig Huber, a consultant at Conway MacKenzie and a former head of purchasing at Fiat Chrysler. Tesla Inc. said last week it alleviated issues by reaching out to new semiconductor suppliers and then quickly writing new firmware for those chips.Stellantis is working on more standardization across its vehicle lineup rather than having to use specific chips for some models, Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said on an call with reporters this week.“More standardization and flexibility, which is key when we have supply constraints,” he said. “We’re managing scarcity.”Manufacturers are also stocking incomplete cars, or “building shy” in industry parlance, to keep production lines humming. In Hamtramck, greater Detroit, an area stretching several blocks is filled with Ford F-150 pickup trucks sans some chips. General Motors said it is also storing unfinished vehicles while awaiting semiconductors.Meanwhile, behind the scenes, car suppliers are going to unusual lengths to try to secure chips. A Stellantis partner called JVIS-USA LLC tried to sue NXP in a Michigan court in April in a Hail Mary attempt to get more chips, but a judge rejected its request. Automotive supplier Visteon Corp. flagged that carmakers may seek compensation because of the shortages. In Japan, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda visited a Renesas plant that had suffered a fire to hasten its return to production.Yet no relief is in sight, with even Apple Inc., whose high-specification iPhones and aggressive demands typically place it at the front of the chip-customer line, saying last week it’s starting to feel the pinch. That may leave carmakers wanting even when chip manufacturers eventually manage to increase capacity.“This has the potential to be a longer-term issue,” said Anna-Marie Baisden, an automotive analyst at Fitch Solutions. “This will only be exacerbated as vehicles become technologically advanced and use more chips.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- When Facebook Inc. asked its independent oversight board to weigh in on the January suspension of Donald Trump, the social network aimed to deflect the responsibility -- and some of the criticism -- for the final ruling to the panel, assembled in 2020 to review the network’s most controversial and challenging content decisions.Instead, the board lobbed the responsibility right back to where it started: At Mark Zuckerberg’s feet.Facebook’s Content Oversight Board, a group of outside lawyers, journalists and politicians, issued its long-awaited ruling on Wednesday, upholding the company’s freeze of then-U.S. President Trump’s account over his posts that helped fuel a destructive riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The panel agreed with the suspension, “given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence.”But the board had harsh words for the company itself, criticizing the tech giant for policies that are too vague and enforcement that is often confusing and lacks transparency. The panel chastised Facebook for trying to avoid responsibility for Trump’s “indefinite” suspension by asking the board to confirm it, and instead said that Facebook should decide whether or not Trump’s account should be reinstated.“In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities,” the Oversight Board wrote on its website. “The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”The rebuke was particularly sharp coming from an organization created by Facebook for the express purpose of diverting the burden of accountability for the most difficult decisions -- and may undermine Zuckerberg’s longtime contention that companies shouldn’t be the arbiters of truth on their own networks.“This is more just kicking the can down the road,” said Katie Harbath, a former Facebook policy executive and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s election fellow.The panel also urged Facebook to take a closer look at the social network’s design and the potentially harmful impacts that its algorithm -- which is built to reward posts that generate a lot of conversation, whether positive or negative -- may be having on the broader political discourse and misinformation.The company, which has 195 million daily users in the U.S. and Canada and 1.88 billion globally, should undertake a comprehensive review of its “potential contribution to the narrative of electoral fraud and the exacerbated tensions that culminated in the violence” in Washington, the board wrote. “This should be an open reflection on the design and policy choices that Facebook has made that may allow its platform to be abused.”Though it found Facebook was justified when it yanked Trump’s ability to post to his 35 million followers, the board primarily took issue with the company’s move to ban him indefinitely, a punishment that isn’t part of the company’s formal rules. Facebook’s current policies offer a handful of different punishments for rule violators, including a temporary suspension for a set amount of time, or a permanent account ban.“They can’t just invent new, unwritten rules when it suits them,” said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a board member and the former Prime Minister of Denmark, on a press call Wednesday.The panel said it “insists” Facebook come up with a new punishment for Trump that aligns with the company’s stated policies, and recommended that the company make a more definitive decision on Trump’s account within six months.Before protesters stormed the Capitol and Trump was booted off Facebook, the company -- along with other networks like Twitter Inc. and Google’s YouTube -- had given him wider latitude to share controversial content and misinformation around the U.S. election. Facebook rarely fact-checked his posts, arguing that messages from world leaders and politicians are inherently newsworthy and thus not eligible for fact-checking. In kicking the decision back to company, the Oversight Board did acknowledge that debate -- should Trump, and other high-profile public figures, be held to the same rules and standards as other users?One recommendation from the board addressed this question. The panel said that Facebook should offer a more transparent method of policing high-profile political accounts like Trump’s, saying Facebook’s “newsworthiness” policy -- a vague carve-out in the rules that means some violating content is left up on the service because it has news value -- needs more clarity.Facebook should “produce more information to help users understand and evaluate the process and criteria” for when it applies this policy, the board wrote, and also recommended the social network “rapidly escalate” political posts from highly influential users to a special staff of content reviewers. “These staff should be insulated from political and economic interference, as well as undue influence.”Still, the panel cautioned that newsworthiness alone shouldn’t be a reason to leave up a dangerous post. “Considerations of newsworthiness should not take priority when urgent action is needed to prevent significant harm,” the board wrote. The board also urged the social media company to publish a new policy outlining how it should respond to crisis situations, including a requirement to review its decision within a fixed time frame. It encouraged the social media giant to continue to suspend or delete accounts of political leaders who pose a risk of harm.Kara Frederick, a former Facebook employee and current fellow at the right-leaning think tank Heritage Foundation, said criticism that Facebook’s policies are too vague is valid. “When we were working at Facebook, we used to say it was like building an airplane in mid-flight,” she said. “I see the manifestation of that now in their content moderation policies.”The board was clear Wednesday in its stance that the company itself needs to make these calls, rather than relying on the outside panel to write the rules. Even if Facebook does create new global policies for elected officials or political crises, the Menlo Park, California-based company is likely to face heightened scrutiny over whether it is evenly applying those standards in different countries. Facebook would have to make carefully calculated decisions about which political standoffs, revolutions, elections and protest movements are dicey enough that a government leader’s posts could impose harm. The ruling was already generating pushback from lawmakers about the company’s uneven enforcement.U.S. Representative Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican, Wednesday blasted the company for suspending Trump while leaving a page from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad intact.“It should be noted that Facebook permits a Bashar al-Assad fan page with over 250k likes to continue posting,” Buck said in a statement. “The page’s administrator is located in Syria, has been active since 2011, and has repeatedly promoted falsehoods about the pro-democracy movement in Syria and downplays the human rights abuses committed against the Syrian people during the Civil War.”It’s now up to Facebook to determine how to handle Trump’s account, and the board underscored that Facebook should assess the current risk of violence before ending his suspension. Facebook’s head of global policy, Nick Clegg, acknowledged the ball is in the company’s court.“We thank the @OversightBoard for the care and attention they gave this case,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will now consider the board’s guidance and develop a response that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”Facebook’s decision could have a broader impact on whether or not Trump re-appears on other digital platforms. Twitter has said that Trump’s ban is permanent regardless of Facebook’s call; Snap Inc. said that Trump is also permanently banned from Snapchat. But Trump is still suspended indefinitely from YouTube, which hasn’t made clear what it plans to do with Trump longterm.Zuckerberg will likely make Facebook’s final call. As chief executive officer, he has been open about his role in policing Trump’s account, and Clegg has said that it’s ultimately Zuckerberg’s decision, even if he does take input from others within the company.It’s possible that whenever that decision is made, it could also be submitted for a ruling by the Oversight Board. Said Michael McConnell, a board member and Stanford Law School professor, on the prospect of the Board reviewing Trump’s suspension again: “I’d say it’s certainly a substantial possibility.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. said spending on recruiting drivers will impact earnings in the second quarter, placing another hurdle in front of the company’s goal to reach profitability by the end of the year.Bonuses and other incentives to get drivers back on the road will reduce the rate Uber takes from fares by about 20% this quarter, the company said in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.The disclosure, along with a decline in first-quarter revenue, sent the stock tumbling more than 4% in extended trading.Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi reaffirmed his commitment to turn a quarterly adjusted profit by the end of the year. And the first-quarter results showed otherwise strong growth of 24% in gross bookings, driven by the delivery business. The total value of customer spending on Uber reached $19.54 billion, exceeding an average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.The ride-hailing and delivery company narrowed its adjusted loss, Uber said in a statement Wednesday. It was $359 million before interest, tax and other expenses, easily beating analysts’ estimates. The loss was 6 cents a share.The company trimmed costs considerably in the coronavirus pandemic. It cut staff and sold businesses, including a pricey, years-long effort to develop self-driving car technology.Now Uber is searching for new ways to get people into the back seats of its cars. It added a new feature to the app a week ago for booking vaccine appointments and transportation to a nearby Walgreens and back. Gross bookings from the mobility business were $6.8 billion in the first quarter, more than analysts expected.Making customers comfortable with riding in strangers’ cars is only one part of the equation. Many drivers switched to other jobs or stayed at home when the coronavirus wiped out ride-hailing demand. The company is trying to draw drivers back. Uber said last month it would spend $250 million on bonuses and other incentives. It said Wednesday that the program contributed to increased costs in the first quarter.Lyft Inc., the main alternative to Uber in the U.S., reported financial results Tuesday. The company said ridership demand rebounded from the prior quarter and that its loss narrowed.Almost as much as the pandemic wounded the rides business, it was a catalyst for Uber’s delivery operation. The company quickly expanded from meals to booze, groceries, packages and prescriptions. On Tuesday, Uber said it will add convenience store items for delivery from GoPuff, a fast-growing startup.“We believe consumer behavior around delivery is likely to prove sticky as Uber Eats offers a better product today than pre-pandemic,” wrote Ron Josey, equity research analyst at JMP Securities, in a note to clients.Delivery revenue rose another 28% from the prior quarter to $1.7 billion. That’s more than triple what it was a year ago.However, Uber’s financial results were impacted by a landmark ruling in the U.K. The company agreed to grant some government-mandated benefits to its drivers, resulting in a $600 million expense, which weighed on revenue and added to its loss. Sales fell 11% to $2.9 billion. Excluding that cost, revenue grew 8%.The driver reclassification in the U.K. serves as a reminder of a severe risk facing Uber’s business. Making drivers eligible for employment benefits is expensive. The company won a reprieve from voters in California in the November election, but it faces many similar battles across the U.S. and around the world.Another front in Uber’s regulatory battles is over the fees delivery apps charge to restaurants. Major cities imposed caps on those fees during the pandemic, and some are debating permanent action. “There is a looming cloud on food delivery,” wrote Tom White, an analyst at DA Davidson & Co. “Pre-pandemic there was virtually no oversight.”Meanwhile, Uber still needs to draw customers back to its services. One closely watched metric -- the number of people who use the platform each month -- fell 5% to 98 million in the first quarter, falling short of Wall Street estimates of 100 million. Uber ended the quarter with $5.65 billion in cash and equivalents, more than expected.(Updates with reporting from the conference call starting in the first paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.