GM - General Motors Company

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
26.94
+1.06 (+4.10%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
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Performance Outlook
  • Short Term
    2W - 6W
  • Mid Term
    6W - 9M
  • Long Term
    9M+
Previous Close25.88
Open26.35
Bid0.00 x 1400
Ask0.00 x 1200
Day's Range25.91 - 27.22
52 Week Range14.33 - 41.90
Volume10,273,020
Avg. Volume19,068,200
Market Cap38.553B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.39
PE Ratio (TTM)8.26
EPS (TTM)3.26
Earnings DateJul 29, 2020
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateMar 05, 2020
1y Target Est33.94
  • Auto Stock Roundup: NSANY Incurs Biggest Loss in 20 Years, AZO Beats on Q3 Earnings
    Zacks

    Auto Stock Roundup: NSANY Incurs Biggest Loss in 20 Years, AZO Beats on Q3 Earnings

    Nissan (NSANY) incurs fiscal 2019 loss of 671.2 billion yen, which marks the worst in two decades. Meanwhile, AutoZone (AZO) tops fiscal Q3 earnings estimates despite coronavirus woes.

  • General Motors to Boost Production at North American Plants
    Zacks

    General Motors to Boost Production at North American Plants

    General Motors' (GM) plants in Michigan, Indiana and Missouri, which reopened on May 18, are expected to increase from one to three shifts.

  • AVs Gather Momentum Amid Coronavirus But Roadblocks Remain
    Zacks

    AVs Gather Momentum Amid Coronavirus But Roadblocks Remain

    With coronavirus keeping most people housebound, driverless cars have indeed proved to be an asset. However, it will still take considerable time to bring AVs into the mainstream.

  • Barrons.com

    Betting on Boeing to Fly Out of the Storm Clouds

    Also, Wall Street opinions on J.M. Smucker, Independent Bank Group, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and General Motors.

  • General Motors Will Return U.S. Pickup Truck Factories to Round-the-Clock Production on Monday
    Motley Fool

    General Motors Will Return U.S. Pickup Truck Factories to Round-the-Clock Production on Monday

    General Motors (NYSE: GM) will boost production at several U.S. factories and reopen others, starting Monday, as it continues to restore production that was idled in March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. GM said that it will resume round-the-clock production at three U.S. factories that build its highly profitable pickup trucks. Dealer supplies of pickup trucks have grown tight, as pickup sales remained relatively strong while factories were closed in April and early May.

  • With New Vehicles on the Horizon, Ford Stock Is Back in Gear
    InvestorPlace

    With New Vehicles on the Horizon, Ford Stock Is Back in Gear

    The last thing on the consumer's mind is buying an automobile. So the low likelihood of a demand rebound for such expensive, luxury items will slow the recovery in Ford (NYSE:F), which already isn't having a great year. F stock is trading at just a little more than half its price at the beginning of the year.Source: Proxima Studio / Shutterstock.com Besides, the stay-at-home order may have permanently changed the need to commute to work. And with lower demand for cars and the potential for excess supply as people sell them, why should investors even consider F stock?Ford said it would delay the launch of its redesigned F-150 pickup, the Mustang Mach-E, and the Bronco sport-utility vehicle. This is due to the idling of its plants for around two months.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsFortunately, Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's head of product development and purchasing, said that "we're not going to do any additional delay to these launches beyond the impact of Covid-19 as a mechanism to conserve cash." * 7 Penny Stocks To Buy with Massive Upside Potential As a forward-looking machine, markets will interpret the statement to mean that operations will resume when its plants open again. A Closer Look at F StockFord will lose around $5 billion in the quarter due to the shutdown and reduced demand. As operations resume, the company may continue the development of its new products. And by the time jobs return and the economy rebounds, consumer interest for Ford should improve.Ford, General Motors (NYSE:GM), and Fiat Chrysler all planned to reopen North American factories on May 18. Ford has two near-term objectives. First, it needs to confirm that the new safety protocols will prevent any Covid-19 infections.For example, this includes distancing among factory workers, face masks, and cleaning of work areas. Ford's second objective is to re-start its product refresh pathway that appeals to a wary, price-conscious consumer. Mainstream 2021 Mustang Electric VehicleDetails of Ford's 2021 Mustang Mach-E will give Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fans something to think about.The Mach-E will charge from 10% to 80% in just 38 minutes. This is half as fast as Tesla and is 30% faster than Ford's preliminary estimates. But the electric crossover starts at $44,995 and is as high as over $60,000. By comparison, Tesla's Model Y will start at $46,690 and may cost more than $65,000.Getting 61 miles in range with a 10-minute charge improves the suitability of short, local commutes. Also, Ford grew its FordPass charging network by adding 1,000 stations. At each of those stations, it added 5,000 plugs.On the software side of the EV business, Ford must win its customer's confidence by building on quality and continued support. Long after the SUV leaves the dealership, Ford said all Mustang Mach-E models stay up-to-date. Using over-the-air updates, software updates will not take more than two minutes. Exciting Opportunity for FordFord's upcoming quarterly losses put a damper on the company's exciting EV launch ahead. But after finding support at the $3.96 bottom reached in late March, the automobile manufacturer is a worthwhile bet.Simplywall.st reports the forecasted annual earnings growth is ~110%. It will reach profitability over the next three years. Conversely, this growth forecast suggests the stock has limited upside ahead: F Industry S&P 500 Growth Score 57 58 74 Sales Growth Sales Growth Next Year 17.80% 12.90% 11.20% Sales 1‑Year Chg (%) -5.60% -9.00% 18.00% Sales 3‑Year Avg (%) -0.70% -4.40% 12.50% Sales 5‑Year Avg (%) 1.10% -3.00% 6.50% Data courtesy of Stock RoverTo the right, you can see Ford's value score compared to its competition. Click to EnlargeSource: Stock Rover Similarly, most of the 11 analysts rate the stock as a "hold." The average price target is around $5 (according to Tipranks).Ford may not reward investors in the next few weeks, but the stock is not for trading. It suits those who believe in the potential recovery in the automotive sector. But as its manufacturing plants re-open and the economy re-starts, the stock price should start pricing in the rebound potential ahead.The author owns shares of Ford. Ford is discussed often in the DIY Value investing marketplace. More From InvestorPlace * Top Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * America's Richest ZIP Code Holds Shocking Secret * 1 Under-the-Radar 5G Stock to Buy Now * The 1 Stock All Retirees Must Own The post With New Vehicles on the Horizon, Ford Stock Is Back in Gear appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • What’s Keeping Stocks Afloat? The ‘Microsoft Market’
    Bloomberg

    What’s Keeping Stocks Afloat? The ‘Microsoft Market’

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Stocks were supposed to be mired in a bear market after they plunged in March as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered business and sent U.S. unemployment to its highest rate since the Great Depression.Even a 62% recovery by the S&P 500 Index by the middle of May failed to comfort experts like billionaire money managers Stan Druckenmiller and David Tepper , who characterized stocks as the worst investments of their careers. They weren't alone; amid an estimated 47% collapse in gross domestic product, fewer than a quarter of respondents to an Evercore ISI survey said they expected the next 10% move in the market to be higher.So far, though, stocks have held their own as economic indicators sagged, regaining 37% of their value from the low point in mid-March. “The stock market looks increasingly divorced from economic reality,” a New York Times article on the phenomenon proclaimed.Or maybe not — not if you think of it as the Microsoft market. No company has defied the pessimism more than Microsoft Corp., and for a lot of sensible reasons. The Seattle-based maker of global business and consumer software led all publicly traded companies most of the year with a $1.4 trillion market valuation, exceeded only by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. which isn't yet freely traded.Unlike the largest fossil fuel company, which lost 13% since its December $1.9 trillion initial public offering, Microsoft is within 5% of its Feb. 11 record high and appreciated $947 billion since 2015, more than any of the 10 largest companies, including Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. The gap between Microsoft and Aramco narrowed to $229 billion from $840 billion, a trend likely to continue amid weak global growth in the months ahead.That's because Microsoft, unlike Aramco, is a mainstay of the global economy, developing and supplying 75% of the operating systems used by computers and servers worldwide, according to the market-analysis company IDC.Microsoft's vast infrastructure and productivity applications enable companies, governments and individuals to navigate increasing social and workforce disruption caused by the pandemic and other disasters stoked by global warming and climate change.As one of the anchors of the Nasdaq 100 Index (more than 80% are technology firms) Microsoft signifies the growing dependence of the economy on these companies, which this year outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average by the most since 2000 (Nasdaq 100 gained 8% as the DJIA lost 10%), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Microsoft could emerge stronger than most of its rivals once the Covid-19 crisis subsides, in our view, as enterprises spend more to upgrade their infrastructure and applications, translating into above-consensus, double-digit sales growth from fiscal 2022-2021,” said Anurag Rana, a senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence in a May 15 report. “Its deep portfolio of cloud products, client relationships and security spending are differentiators.”Such confidence is prompted by the past five quarters, when Microsoft earnings for the first time exceeded forecasts by at least 10% after beating the average of analyst estimates in all but one of the 23 quarters since 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Unlike its five more glamorous peers — Facebook Inc., Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (Alphabet) — Microsoft has an uninterrupted growth rate with the least volatility, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.To be sure, the Faang companies and similar technology marvels retained much of their value during the Coronavirus pandemic. Netflix has gained 28% since the end of 2019; Amazon is up 30%, Apple 9%, Facebook 10%. Tesla Inc., the maker of electric, battery-powered vehicles, rallied 93% since the end of 2019 and is worth just $59 billion less than No. 1 Toyota Motor Corp.Tesla anticipated the remotely engaged economy by selling its vehicles online and improving the customer experience with periodic, automatic software upgrades. The traditional auto companies haven't fared well. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, is down 24% since the end of 2019 and General Motors Co., the largest U.S. auto maker, declined 28% and is worth only 26% of Tesla's current market capitalization of $149 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.That's why the Dow, once the benchmark of corporate America, is a shadow of its former self as industrial companies represent just 9% of the average, down from 16% in 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Microsoft already had a great relationship with Fortune 2000 tech departments because of its dominance in Windows and Office software products,” said Bloomberg's Rana in a recent interview. “As these legacy companies look to invest more digitally transforming their business post Covid-19, Microsoft should get its fair share of work” — lifting the stock market as it helps transform the economy.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew Winkler, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Bloomberg News, writes about markets.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Jeep Gladiator pickup: the high cost of bliss
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Jeep Gladiator pickup: the high cost of bliss

    Pop the roof off the Jeep Gladiator pickup and cruise around on a sunny day and you won’t care at all about the clunky handling, deafening wind noise or plasticky interior. You won’t have to manage the awkward climb-down until you park and get out.

  • Elevated default risk among auto suppliers threatens to upend carmaker production
    MarketWatch

    Elevated default risk among auto suppliers threatens to upend carmaker production

    Carmakers across the U.S. have begun to start production since last week, but bankruptcies among their suppliers could mean they will struggle to source individual parts and components for their assembly lines.

  • A recession is a great time to start a new business
    MarketWatch

    A recession is a great time to start a new business

    It may seem counterintuitive, but downturns and bear markets present an opportunity for entrepreneurs to start a new business. Because the “uncertainty” that traditional businesses, not to mention financial markets, reputedly hate, isn’t an issue for entrepreneurs. The current downturn, often referred to as the Great Lockdown, is likely to produce permanent changes in how and where we do business: home versus office; electronically versus face-to- face.

  • GM, Ford turn to fast-payment programs to aid suppliers hit by shutdowns
    Reuters

    GM, Ford turn to fast-payment programs to aid suppliers hit by shutdowns

    General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co are using fast-payment programs set up with financial lenders to help cash-strapped small suppliers survive production shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. GM started its "Early Payment Program" last August with Wells Fargo & Co, and now is using it as a way to support suppliers during the pandemic, especially as they roll out new technologies, GM spokesman David Barnas said. GM operated a similar program with General Electric Co prior to 2008.

  • Barrons.com

    SpaceX Will Launch Astronauts Into Space on Saturday. Why Tesla Stock Will Benefit.

    SpaceX is launching astronauts into space on Saturday. That’s a big deal for the country. But is it significant for Tesla stock?

  • Moody's

    General Motors Financial International BV -- Moody's confirms General Motors Financial's long-term senior unsecured rating at Baa3, concluding review; outlook is negative

    Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") confirmed all ratings for General Motors Financial Company, Inc. (GMF) and its subsidiaries, including the Baa3 long-term senior unsecured rating and the Prime-3 short-term ratings. The rating actions follow similar actions on the ratings for GMF's parent, General Motors Company (GM, Baa3 corporate family rating, negative).

  • Moody's

    General Motors Company -- Moody's confirms GM's ratings, at Baa2 for the senior unsecured credit facility rating and Baa3 senior unsecured notes; outlook is negative

    Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") confirmed the ratings of General Motors Company (GM) debt, including the Baa2 for senior unsecured bank credit facility and the Baa3 for senior unsecured notes. The outlook is negative.

  • Hedge Funds Dumped General Motors Company (GM) During The Crash
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Dumped General Motors Company (GM) During The Crash

    The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. Insider Monkey finished processing 821 13F filings submitted by hedge funds and prominent investors. These filings show these funds' portfolio positions as of March 31st, 2020. […]

  • Reuters

    23 U.S. states sue Trump administration over fuel efficiency rollback

    A group of 23 U.S. states led by California, the District of Columbia and some major cities are challenging a Trump administration decision to weaken Obama administration fuel efficiency standards. In March, the Trump administration issued final rules requiring 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026 - far weaker than the 5% increases in the discarded Obama-era rules - but abandoned its August 2018 proposal to freeze requirements at 2020 levels through 2026. Last week, a trade group representing General Motors Co , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota Motor Corp and others sided with the Trump administration on its plan and opposed a legal challenge to further weaken the requirements.

  • Reuters

    All 3 Detroit automakers had workers test positive for COVID-19 since plants reopened

    In the week since U.S. auto factories reopened after coronavirus lockdowns, workers at all three Detroit automakers have tested positive for COVID-19 but only Ford Motor Co has temporarily closed plants. Ford paused production at its Claycomo, Missouri, plant for an hour on Tuesday after a worker tested positive. Work resumed at the plant, which builds the F-150 pickup truck and Transit van, without workers being sent home following a deep cleaning, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said Wednesday.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Will Take Robot Cars to a Whole New Level

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Amazon.com Inc.’s interest in acquiring a self-driving car pioneer is the prime example (pun intended) of how expectations for driverless vehicles have been recalibrated.The e-commerce giant is in advanced talks to buy Zoox Inc. for less than the $3.2 billion at which it was valued in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Given the California-based startup’s approach to autonomous cars, its fate is particularly instructive.In a very crowded field, Zoox was practically alone in aiming to build a whole new kind of electric-powered vehicle, and to operate the fleet itself. Peers such as Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, General Motors Co.’s Cruise unit, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG’s joint venture Argo AI, and Aurora Innovations Inc. have focused solely on developing the self-driving technology that could subsequently be fitted into vehicles.Zoox wanted to be Tesla Inc., Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc. all rolled into one.Back in 2015, that seemed like an attractive proposition. If the triple threat to the automotive industry was autonomous technology, electric drivetrains and ride-hailing, why not embrace all three? After all, there were expectations that by 2020 robotaxis would ferry you around the world’s metropolises. Capital flowed into self-driving car startups, typified by the $1 billion GM spent acquiring Cruise in 2016.Those dreams, needless to say, have failed to materialize. Companies that had aimed to jump straight to the fourth of five levels of autonomy have quietly downshifted. (The first level of self-driving encompasses driver-assistance functions such as cruise control, and the fifth is full automation.) Bloomberg New Energy Finance doesn’t expect vehicles with Level Four automation to start gaining traction until 2034. Even then, they will likely represent just 831,000 of the 95 million-unit global car market that year.What’s more, the expense of developing, building and operating a fleet of self-driving cars would be considerable. Even deep-pocketed Alphabet and GM have sought outside investment for their efforts. Established carmakers are meanwhile focusing their capital on electric cars, a more imminent threat. And owning and operating a fleet is expensive too. Zoox had a tough sell to investors: In 15 years’ time, it might have been an attractive business.Which brings us to Amazon. Even if robotaxis aren’t coming any time soon, there are alternative applications for autonomous technology that fall squarely in the Seattle-based firm’s wheelhouse, namely, logistics. Given Amazon’s shipping costs are set to hit $90 billion a year, tech from Zoox could help save $20 billion in shipping costs, according to Morgan Stanley analysts. Its solutions could be used across warehousing and distribution. Buying Zoox could take Amazon's other moves in this field — an existing investment in Aurora and experiments with self-driving truck specialist Embark and electric vanmaker Rivian — to a whole new level.Amazon has become the fantasy acquirer for any number of companies seeking a soft landing: theater chains, brick-and-mortar retailers, food deliverers, mobile carriers, real estate brokers, dental suppliers, film studios and plenty more besides.Sometimes, just sometimes, those deals make sense. Zoox is one of them.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon Buying Zoox May Save $20 Billion, Put Tesla on Its Heels
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Buying Zoox May Save $20 Billion, Put Tesla on Its Heels

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc.’s talks to buy driverless vehicle startup Zoox Inc. has analysts speculating the deal could save the e-commerce giant tens of billions a year and put auto, parcel and ride-hailing companies on their heels.Shipping costs are one of Amazon’s largest expenses and may reach $90 billion in the coming years, Morgan Stanley’s internet, auto and transport analysts wrote in a report Wednesday. An autonomous offering could save the company more than $20 billion annually, they estimate.“Autonomous technology is a natural extension of Amazon’s efforts to build its own third party logistics network,” Morgan Stanley’s analysts wrote. They see the company being a “clear” competitor to the likes of Tesla Inc. and General Motors Co. and the potential for Amazon to compete in ride-sharing and food delivery. United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. also “will have to respond to keep up.”Other companies in the automotive and chip industries have also held talks with Zoox about a potential investment, according to people familiar with the matter. At least one other business besides Amazon has offered to buy the company, they added. Zoox is unlikely to sell for less than the more than $1 billion that it has raised, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.“Zoox has been receiving interest in a strategic transaction from multiple parties and has been working with Qatalyst Partners to evaluate such interest,” the startup said Tuesday. It declined to comment on Amazon’s interest. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.Zoox had outsize ambition and financial backing. The startup wanted to build a fully driverless car by this year. However, after a 2018 funding round that valued Zoox at $3.2 billion, the startup’s board voted to oust Chief Executive Officer Tim Kentley-Klay. The executive criticized the move, saying the directors were “optimizing for a little money in hand at the expense of profound progress.”Dow Jones reported that Amazon is in advanced talks to buy Zoox for less than the $3.2 billion valuation from 2018.Amazon is willing to spend heavily to automate its e-commerce business. The online retail giant purchased warehouse robot-maker Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012 for $775 million and now has tens of thousands of robots in warehouses around the world.But paying drivers to deliver packages is still one of the biggest costs in the company’s operation. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos announced plans for drone delivery in 2013, though they have yet to materialize at scale. Last year, Amazon revealed an experimental delivery robot called Scout in the Seattle area that rolls on sidewalks like a shopping cart.Last year, Amazon invested along with Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital in self-driving startup Aurora Innovation Inc., a startup led by the former heads of Google’s driverless car project and Tesla’s Autopilot team. Amazon also backed Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric pickup and SUV maker. Those bets left Morgan Stanley’s auto analyst questioning earlier this month whether Tesla’s rich valuation is warranted given the competitive threats the company faces.“We often hear from investors that Tesla could potentially be the Amazon of transportation,” Adam Jonas, who rates Tesla the equivalent of a hold, wrote in a May 17 report. “But what if Amazon is the Amazon of transportation?”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Costly Electric Vehicles Confront a Harsh Coronavirus Reality
    Bloomberg

    Costly Electric Vehicles Confront a Harsh Coronavirus Reality

    (Bloomberg) -- At a factory near Germany’s border with the Czech Republic, Volkswagen AG’s ambitious strategy to become the global leader in electric vehicles is coming up against the reality of manufacturing during a pandemic.The Zwickau assembly lines, which produce the soon-to-be released ID.3 electric hatchback, are the centerpiece of a plan by the world’s biggest automaker to spend 33 billion euros ($36 billion) by 2024 developing and building EVs. At the site, where an East German automaker built the diminutive Trabant during the Cold War, VW eventually wants to churn out as many as 330,000 cars annually. That would make Zwickau one of Europe’s largest electric-car factories—and help the company overtake Tesla Inc. in selling next-generation vehicles.But Covid-19 is putting VW’s and other automakers’ electric ambitions at risk. The economic crisis triggered by the pandemic has pushed the auto industry, among others, to near-collapse, emptying showrooms and shutting factories. As job losses mount, big-ticket purchases are firmly out of reach—in the U.S., where Tesla is cutting prices, more than 36 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March. Also, the plunge in oil prices is making gasoline-powered vehicles more attractive, and some cash-strapped governments are less able to offer subsidies to promote new technologies.Even before the crisis, automakers had to contend with an extended downturn in China, the world’s biggest auto market, where about half of all passenger EVs are sold. Total auto sales in China declined the past two years amid a slowing economy, escalating trade tensions, and stricter emission regulations. EV sales are forecast to fall to 932,000 this year, down 14% from 2019, according to BloombergNEF. The drop-off is expected to stretch into a third year as China's leaders have abandoned their traditional practice of setting an annual target for economic growth, citing uncertainties. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect just 1.8% GDP growth this year.The global market contraction raises the prospect of casualties. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has warned that Renault SA, an early adopter of electric cars with models like the Zoe,  could “disappear” without state aid. Even Toyota Motor Corp., a hybrid pioneer when it first introduced the Prius hatchback in 1997, is under pressure. The Japanese manufacturer expects profits to tumble to the lowest level in almost a decade.Automakers who for years have invested heavily in a shift to a high-tech future—including autonomous vehicles and other alternative energy-based forms of transportation such as hydrogen—now face a grim test. Do their pre-pandemic plans to build and sell electric cars at a profit have any chance of succeeding in a vastly changed economic climate? Even as Covid-19 has obliterated demand, for the car makers most committed to electric, there’s no turning back.“We all have a historic task to accomplish,” Thomas Ulbrich, who runs Volkswagen’s EV business, said when assembly lines restarted on April 23, “to protect the health of our employees—and at the same time get business back on track responsibly.”Volkswagen Pushes AheadGlobal EV sales will shrink this year, falling 18% to about 1.7 million units, according to BloombergNEF, although they’re likely to return to growth over the next four years, topping 6.9 million by 2024. “The general trend toward electric vehicles is set to continue, but the economic conditions of the next two to three years will be tough,” said Marcus Berret, managing director at consultancy Roland Berger.Volkswagen’s Zwickau facility became the first auto plant in Germany to resume production after a nationwide lockdown started in March. Before restarting, the company crafted a detailed list of about 100 safety measures for employees, requiring them to, among other things, wear masks and protective gear if they can’t adhere to social-distancing rules.The cautious approach has reduced capacity—50 cars per day initially rolled off the Zwickau assembly line, roughly a third of what the plant manufactured before the coronavirus crisis. (VW said Wednesday that daily output had  risen to 150 vehicles, with a plan to reach 225 next month.) Persistent software problems also have plagued development of the ID.3, one of 70 new electric models VW group is looking to bring to market in the coming years. Still, Ulbrich and VW CEO Herbert Diess over the past three months have reaffirmed Volkswagen’s commitment to electrification. “My new working week starts together with Thomas Ulbrich at the wheel of a Volkswagen ID.3 - our most important project to meet the European CO2-targets in 2020 and 2021,” Diess wrote in a post on LinkedIn in April. “We are fighting hard to keep our timeline for the launches to come.”Diess has described the ID.3 as “an electric car for the people that will move electric mobility from niche to mainstream.” Pre-Covid, the company had anticipated that 2020 would be the year it would prove its massive investments and years of planning for electric and hybrid models would start to pay off.A more pressing worry that could hamper VW’s ability to scale up production is its existing inventory of unsold vehicles. The cars need to move to make room for new releases, but sales are down as consumers are tightening their spending. One response has been to offer improved financing in Germany, including optional rate protection should buyers lose their jobs. VW also has adopted new sales strategies first used by its Chinese operations, such as delivering disinfected cars to customer homes for test drives, and expanding online commerce.Other German automakers are similarly pushing ahead with EV plans. Daimler AG is sticking to a plan to flank an electric SUV with a battery-powered van and a compact later this year. BMW AG plans to introduce the SUV-size iNEXT in 2021 as well as the i4, a sedan seeking to challenge Tesla’s best-selling Model 3.A potential obstacle for all these companies—apart from still patchy charging infrastructure in many markets—is the availability of batteries. Supply bottlenecks appear inevitable given that the number of electric car projects across the industry outstrip global battery production capacity. And boosting cell manufacturing is a complicated task.China's (Weakened) EV Dominance For VW and others, the first big test of EVs’ appeal in a Covid-19 world will come in China. Diess has referred to China as “the engine of success for Volkswagen AG.” VW group deliveries returned to growth year-on-year last month in China, while all other major markets declined.Not long ago, China appeared to be leading the world toward an electric future. As part of President Xi Jinping’s goal to make the country an industrial superpower by 2025, the government implemented policies that would boost sales of EVs and help domestic automakers become globally competitive, not just in electric passenger cars but buses, too.With the outbreak seemingly under control in much of the country, China is seeing some buyers return to the showrooms, but demand for passenger cars is likely to fall for the third year in a row, putting startups like NIO Inc.  at risk and hurting more-established players like Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co., which suffered from a 40% year-on-year vehicle sales decline in the first four months of 2020.The Chinese auto market may shrink as much as 25% this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which before the pandemic had been expecting a 2% decline. EV sales fell by more than one-third in the second half of 2019.NIO, the Shanghai-based startup that raised about $1 billion from a New York Stock Exchange initial public offering in 2018 but lost more than 11 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) last year, was thrown a much-needed lifeline when a group of investors, including a local government in China’s Anhui Province, offered 7 billion yuan last month.Other Chinese manufacturers are counting on support from the government, too, including tax breaks and an extension to 2022 of subsidies, originally scheduled to end this year, to make EVs more affordable.For now, the government will also look to help makers of internal combustion engine vehicles, at least during the worst of the crisis, said Jing Yang, director of corporate research in Shanghai with Fitch Ratings. But, she said, “over the medium-to-long term, the focus will still be on the EV side.”America is Tesla CountryCompanies can’t count on that same level of support from President Donald Trump in the U.S., where consumers who love their SUVs and pickup trucks have largely steered clear of electric vehicles other than Tesla’s.The U.S. lags China and Europe in promoting the production and sale of EVs, and that gap may widen now that Americans can buy gas for less than $2 a gallon.“When you’re digging out of this crisis, you’re not going to try to do that with unprofitable and low-volume products, which are EVs,” said Kevin Tynan, a senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.Weeks after announcing plans to launch EVs for each of its brands, General Motors Co. delayed the unveiling of the Cadillac Lyriq EV originally planned for April. Then on April 29, the company said it would put off the scheduled May introduction of a new Hummer EV. The models are part of CEO Mary Barra’s strategy to spend $20 billion on electrification and autonomous driving by 2025, to try to close the gap with Tesla.In another move aimed at winning over Tesla buyers, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its electric Mustang Mach-E last November at a splashy event ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The highly anticipated model had been scheduled to debut this year. Ford has not officially postponed the release, but the company has said all launches will be delayed by about two months, potentially pushing the Mach-E into 2021.Elon Musk, whose cars dominate the U.S. electric market, cut prices by thousands of dollars overnight. The Model 3 is now $2,000 cheaper, starting at $37,990. The Model S and Model X each dropped $5,000.Musk engaged in a high-profile fight with California officials this month over Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, which had been closed by shutdown orders Musk slammed as “fascist.”  In a May 11 tweet, he said the company was reopening the plant in defiance of county policy. On May 16, Tesla told employees it had received official approval.During most of the shutdown in California, the company managed to keep producing some cars thanks to better relations with local officials regulating its other factory, in Shanghai. That plant closed as the virus spread from Wuhan in late January, but the local government helped it reopen a few weeks later in early February.First Zwickau, Then the WorldThe ID.3’s new electric underpinning, dubbed MEB, is key to VW’s strategy to sell battery-powered cars on a global scale at prices that will be competitive with similar combustion-engine vehicles. Automakers typically rely on such platforms to achieve economies of scale and, ultimately, profits. MEB will be applied to purely electric vehicles across all of the company’s mass-market brands, including Skoda and Seat.VW said it spent $7 billion developing MEB after Ford last year agreed to use the technology for one of its European models. Separately, the group’s Audi and Porsche brands are built on a dedicated EV platform for luxury cars that the company says will be vital in narrowing the gap with Tesla.VW plans to escalate its electric-car push by adding two factories, near Shanghai and Shenzhen, that it says could eventually roll out 600,000 cars annually, more cars than Tesla delivered globally last year.While China is the initial goal, making a dent in Europe and the U.S. is the long-term one. Like China, Europe had been tightening emissions regulations significantly before the pandemic. New rules to reduce fleet emissions will gradually start to take effect this year, effectively forcing most manufacturers to sell plug-in hybrids and purely electric cars to avoid steep fines.Because of the mandates, Europe’s commitment to electrification isn’t going away, said Aakash Arora, a managing director with Boston Consulting Group. “In the long term, we don’t see any relaxation in regulation,” he said.For VW, this crisis wouldn’t be the first time it started a new chapter in difficult times. Diess saw an opportunity coming off the manufacturer’s years-long diesel emissions scandal that cost the company more than $33 billion to win approval for the industry’s most aggressive push into EVs. When VW unveiled the ID.3, officials compared its historic role to the iconic Beetle and the Golf, not knowing that this might hold in unintended ways: The Beetle arose from the ashes of World War II, and the Golf was greeted by the oil-price shock in the 1970s.“We have a clear commitment to become CO2 neutral by 2050,” VW strategy chief Michael Jost said, “and there is no alternative to our electric-car strategy to achieve this.”(Updates with Tesla price cut starting in the third paragraph. An earlier version corrected the spelling of Berret in the ninth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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