General Motors CEO moves to the automaker for EV future

General Motors

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has reeled off two major deals in the past week in response to investor concerns the No. 1 U.S. automaker is stuck in neutral while Tesla Inc and other electric automakers are leaving legacy automakers behind.

But investors want Barra to go further. A 10% increase in GM’s shares on Tuesday helped the stock top its post-financial crisis 2010 initial public offering of $33. Some investors want Barra to split up the automaker so its EV assets can be valued at headier levels like Tesla and other recently public EV automakers.

On Tuesday, GM talked about a deal to take an 11% stake in and build electric pickup trucks for Nikola Corp, and also supply the EV startup with electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.

Last week, GM also announced a North American alliance with Japanese automaker Honda Motor to share vehicle platforms, including EVs, in an agreement that could save both automakers billions of dollars.

Barra on Tuesday referred to Nikola deal as a “strong validation” of GM’s strategy.

“It’s a very strong proof point of our commitment to an all-EV future and really creating a platform that others can use that’s going to give us scale and help us drive efficiency costs down,” Barra informed reporters on a conference call.

Barra over the past several years has accelerated a strategy of using profit from internal combustion models to fund the development of battery and fuel-cell powered vehicles for the future.

But before the recent deals, Morgan Stanley discovered that of 40 investors surveyed, 72% believe GM will eventually spin off its EV or autonomous vehicle assets, and about half thought such a move could be finished by the end of 2021.

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