Analysts Support GM And Ford In Electric Vehicle Push

1 month ago by Steven Loveday 57

GM

Chevrolet Bolt EV – GM’s first “successful” fully electric vehicle

Two of the Big Three Detroit automakers — GM and Ford — came forward last week with large-scale plans to go to bat against Silicon Valley.

If there was any question whether or not the Chevrolet Bolt EV — and perhaps one other eventual corporate sibling — was a one or two and done for GM, this is surely not the case. In fact, the automaker announced last week that it’s headed for an electric future with at least 20 new electric models by 2023, the next two arriving in under a year and a half.

Ford Focus Electric

Within days of GM’s inspiring news, Ford’s new CEO, Jim Hackett, publicized his plans. Hackett’s plans seem to be more of a “gearing up” effort focused on cost-cutting and streamlining, but in the end, the goal is to set aside money for 13 new electrified* vehicles (which doesn’t necessarily mean they will all plug-in…but we know at least 7 will) over the next five years.

Meanwhile, FCA’s Sergio Marchionne remains confident something better than electric vehicles will come along. But we digress …

Analysts have remained reasonably neutral with both Ford and GM stock as of late. It seems Wall Street has been playing a waiting game, wondering if the legacy automakers will choose to step into the future — especially when considering Tesla’s current stock situation — or play the straight and narrow.

GM stock topped off at new highs every day last week and Ford stock jumped a bit and leveled. Bullish analysts were surely upgrading both automakers’ shares and it’s yet to be seen how the market will be impacted when more details are divulged and plans begin to take tangible shape. Morgan Stanley analyst, Adam Jonas, shared in a note to investors:

GM

GM’s Self-Driving Chevy Bolt (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

“At this point in the cycle [both in the U.S. and globally], it is extremely difficult to sustainably push earnings expectations to new highs. We are not surprised to see auto firms spend greater portions of their presentations focused on a thoughtful pivot to Auto 2.0.”

Though both automakers released a considerable amount of information last week, there are still missing details. Analysts seemed more content with GM’s transparency and hoped that Ford would provide more information. Barclays analyst, Brian Johnson, wrote in a note to clients:

“While the building blocks may be in place, it will take quite some time for benefits to be clear and likely for investors to give credit. Thus for the time being, investor focus on Ford will be around quarterly earnings and ’18 guidance — where we don’t see much positive surprise.”

GM is already ahead of the game with the Chevrolet Bolt EV and its plans include two new models (based on Bolt tech) in the next 18 months (up next is likely an all-electric Buick CUV). The remaining 18+ models will feature an “all-new battery system” and vehicle architecture. GM has yet to disclose more details about the “new EVs”, however, the automaker’s product chief, Mark Reuss, said:

Self-driving Fusion at Ford’s base of autonomous operations in Palo Alto, California

“General Motors believes the future is all-electric. A world free of automotive emissions. These aren’t just words in a war of press releases. We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Both companies are also already in the process of testing autonomous vehicles. GM acquired Cruise Automation and has a growing fleet of 3rd-generation self-driving Chevrolet Bolts on public roads in San Francisco. The automaker plans to utilize ride-sharing partner, Lyft, to be the first to use self-driving cars in public ride-hailing fleets.

Ford, on the other hand, is aiming to launch a Level 4 self-driving vehicle for the commercial sector by 2021. The automaker has also partnered with Lyft and is currently testing autonomous Ford Fusions.

Automotive News breaks down some of the most significant numbers in the recent press releases:

$14 billion: Amount Ford plans to reduce material and engineering costs through 2022
$7 billion: Product development funding Ford is reallocating from cars to light trucks
20: Number of electric or fuel cell vehicles GM will bring to market by 2023
100%: How much of its U.S. lineup Ford plans to make connected by end of 2019
6 million-plus: Number of GM vehicles in North America now equipped with 4G LTE

Source: Automotive News

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57 responses to "Analysts Support GM And Ford In Electric Vehicle Push"

  1. ffbj says:

    So the drunken sailor has now stumbled to his feet to look bleary eyed at the handwriting on the wall, and actually is able to read and understand it.

    So let’s all applaud. Most likely he will just stumble into some other dive, but maybe he will straiten up and fly right.

    1. scottf200 says:

      China has sobered them up (forced their hand). They would not have did this own their own as we have seen how slow they have moved in 7+ years.

      https://insideevs.com/china-to-skip-2018-target-for-new-energy-vehicle-quotas/

      1. SJC says:

        “..would not have did (done) this..”
        Your English are terrible. 🙂

        1. scottf200 says:

          haha, yes, one of the problems when you rewrite sentences and then don’t review closely

        2. jizzy mc says:

          *englishes

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Your English are terrible. 🙂 ”

          ROTFL!

          English been beddy beddy good to me. 😉

          1. SJC says:

            As W asked “is our kids learning?”

        4. Tim Miser says:

          All your base are belong to us.

          1. ClarksonCote says:

            Somebody set us up the EV

      2. Dav8or says:

        I’ve got ask, why should they have moved rapidly? What would that have gained them? I think they are moving as they should.

        They are companies that are in it for the profit and that’s it. Big trucks and SUVs make them lots of profit. The Bolt and Volt cost GM profit. Why should they go over the top and double down on their losses when it’s clear the demand is still very small?

        Unlike Tesla, these companies have shareholders and investors to answer to. If they see a decline in profit, they sell off and not recommend to buy. Do you really think the kind of investors that are buying and holding that Tesla stock with expectation of short term profits would do the same with GM, or Ford? I seriously doubt it. So GM and Ford are doing what they have to do. Make money and cautiously plan for the future without breaking the bank.

        1. BGS says:

          Yes, due to share price they have to think short term and get paid on that. However they risk getting left behind or at least letting the competition get a foot in.

          1. Ryan says:

            Ford is getting left behind but GM not so much. They have arguably the second best EV platform after Tesla, and definitely the best PHEV platform, period. They have sunk probably billions into R&D that will pay off for them later should they decide that it is profitable.

            From an engineering POV they are totally fine. Their problems will be production and sales related — transitioning factories, labour forces, dealerships, etc. At least they have a head start on the other traditional automakers.

        2. scottf200 says:

          I would expect after a large investment in R&D on the 1st and 2nd generation Volt that they would use that investment in other PHEVs products. Instead for GM they did an ELR and CT6. Why not an Outland PHEV equivalent, trucks, or other cars to fit into the global market to be a leader and plan ahead. Overly conservative until their hand was forced. That’s not leadership.

          1. unlucky says:

            ELR and CT6 are other PHEV products.

            1. john1701a says:

              Neither is targeted at Chevy buyers. No plug-in hybrid SUV, despite other automakers planning them… Why?

              1. unlucky says:

                Others are planning them.

                And you have evidence GM isn’t planning them?

                GM said that the current Equinox (which just came out) was designed to be a PHEV. Making a crummy conversion of a previous version wouldn’t be a good start.

                We’ll just have to see if the Equinox really does sprout a PHEV version or not.

                1. Kdawg says:

                  John just makes stuff up. Pay no attention.

          2. Ryan says:

            Because battery supplies aren’t there to make it profitable yet and it would make no sense to cut into their very lucrative Equinox profits with something with lower profit margins.

            But they will do it when they can/need to. I’m sure they’re capable of it. The Bolt is already built on a modified Trax platform.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “I’ve got ask, why should they have moved rapidly? What would that have gained them?”

          Yeah, what’s the point? They ought to follow the trail blazed by Eastman Kodak, which actually patented an early digital camera, but shelved the tech and left development to other companies.

          Gosh, what could go wrong there? 🙄

          Wait a 10-12 years, Dav8or, and you’ll see what it would have gained them to move faster, as legacy auto makers fall hopelessly behind in the EV revolution, and fail one by one.

          1. jeremyK says:

            I fail to see why you think GM (for example) is behind Tesla. GM has sold nearly as many EVs in the US market as Tesla, was first to market by over a year with a 200+ mile BEV for under $40K, and has more vehicle variants coming to market in the near-term than Tesla. They’re also much further along with regard to autonomous vehicles, thanks to Cruise Automation.

          2. Dav8or says:

            You have to ask yourself, which companies in the world have actually brought a fully functional, practical for mass adoption, reasonably affordable BEV to market and which ones HAVE NOT! I think on reflection you will find that one of these legacy companies that you say are at risk of being the next “Kodak”, has actually delivered the goods on time and on budget, while the company you back as a paragon of virtue, is actually lagging behind and going back on it’s word.

            Broaden you mind a bit. You should take very seriously VW Group, Land Rover / Jaguar and others when they say the “by 2020”. The legacy manufactures have something Tesla and the other start ups don’t. Experience and credibility at actually bringing product to market.

            1. Peter says:

              GM has Done a great job so far.
              Bolt was a great first move.
              Agree that EU car manufacturers are far behind.
              Next important step is a mass market car at $ 20K.
              We will see those cars soon but not from Tesla and probably not from the brands we are used to.
              China will show the way.
              We are not talking 5 star rated level5 cars but still cars that can take you to work and back home almost for free and without polluting.

    2. wavelet says:

      I don’t think Ford gets it. Trucks as personal vehicles are a bizarre US-only phenoomenon, and could disappear very quickly if oil prices jump. Any truck, electric or not, causes a lot of unnecessary damage if it’d used as a short-distance commuter which could be replaced by a bicycle. Investing a lot of money in trucks is not smart.

      1. Dav8or says:

        So what… ? Invest in bicycle companies? That sounds like an amazing stock tip right there! I’m pretty sure everyone will all soon be riding bikes with those little trailers behind.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          So there’s nothing in between trucks and bikes….wow!

      2. Rightofthepeople says:

        You think FORD doesn’t get it? Go poll the average truck owner in America and him if he’s willing to switch his commute to a bicycle.

    3. Kevin C says:

      As a former drunken sailor I find your comment very appropriate. Even with bloodshot eyes I can see some hope for GM. Their monster trucks can subsidize EVs.
      Ford, not so much.
      I don’t believe anybody’s gonna take away the punch bowl.

    4. CCIE says:

      I’m not sure which one you’re referring to, or both? It’s an accurate statement with regard to Ford. But, GM has been leading in EVs and PHEVs, along with Tesla and Nissan, since 2010.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Stepping back and ignoring the fact that GM is actively lobbying against Tesla and against higher CAFE standards, I agree that GM is following a smart corporate strategy by developing the Volt and the Bolt EV, which positions them in a place to have developed enough EV tech in-house to move rapidly in that direction when the market starts showing signs of rapid growth in PEV sales.

        Ford shows no such signs; it has been dragging its feet very hard, only developing a couple of PHEVs which share gliders with gasmobiles, so are just half-baked efforts, not compelling PEVs designed from the ground up.

        Nissan? Nissan took an early lead in mass produced BEVs with the Leaf, but they’ve frittered it away by not responding to BEVs from Tesla and other BEV makers, just as BlackBerry frittered away its early lead in the smart phone revolution by not responding strongly to the first generation iPhone.

        Will Nissan wind up better than BlackBerry is now? Well, we’ll see, but I wouldn’t bet on it!

        1. Kdawg says:

          Even if Ford, GM, others only made EVs, they would still support the ADA because they are established automakers with a forced dealership model. So that has nothing to do with “anti-EV” thinking, but more to do with “anti-direct sales” thinking. Not saying it’s good for consumers, but this should be clarified.

  2. chris stork says:

    Like all the electrification promises from automakers around the world: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Instead of spreading their EV options across the divisions, they should bring back Saturn as their pure EV division. But if they do that they should also do as they did with Saturn at the time: not go through dealer franchises. Having the fixed prices listed on the wall on huge posters when you walked into a Saturn dealership was the main factor I went with Saturn over the comparable Neon.

    1. Will says:

      Saturns were s***** cars period.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yeah. GM reviving the Saturn badge would be almost as bad as Ford reviving the Edsel badge.

        I think GM and possibly other auto makers should simply start new badges which are strictly for PEVs. That way the auto maker won’t be expecting gasmobile dealership salesmen to sell PEVs.

  3. ziv says:

    GM has a couple platforms to work with, both of which are a bit too small for them to really hit the sweet spot when it comes to roomy compact cars if they are PHEV50+’s like the Volt. The Bolt platform comes close but they chose to give it a clown car look instead of copying the Buick Encore.
    Ford has the Ford Focus Electric platform but they have done nothing with it, which is a pity. The Ford Fusion Energi is a very nice car but there isn’t room for a large enough pack to make it work as a good PHEV40, let alone a BEV. Ford is on the wrong side of the river and they passed the best bridge miles back. They either have to back up and do all the years of work to get up to speed or find a better way to cross the river. Which would probably mean collaboration with another automaker or a moon shot of some sort. LG Chem and Hyundai come to mind.

    1. Warren says:

      What is it that actually makes CUV/SUV appear attractive to people? I have always thought of them as butt ugly trucks. I suspect it the same as the attraction to broadswords, and assault rifles.

      1. Ziv says:

        What looks attractive in a CUV is knowing 2 bikes, a tent, cooler and all my gear fit in the back. That I can haul 3 or 4 friends 200 miles to the beach without causing them extreme discomfort. Knowing that I can buy that cool desk at the estate sale and toss it in the back of the vehicle. Taking my girlfriends old couch to Goodwill? Consider it done. Better yet, it can do all that and has AWD for the snowy days.
        No broadswords, just utility, which oddly enough is in the name…

        1. Warren says:

          Don’t worry. Pretty soon the beach will come to you. 🙂

          1. Ziv says:

            True, but in 100,000 years I may not care to go for a swim.

            1. Ziv says:

              That is only if the recent 1.5″ per decade rise CONTINUES, of course. I wouldnt write off Florida just yet.

        2. Don Zenga says:

          +1

          Yes the CUVs are very spacious inside that we can throw 2 bikes, kayaks or something big and boxy. Besides with AWD, we can do some offroading. That’s why more people are flocking to CUVs. Last month CUVs (excluding SUVs) captured 38% of the market.

          As more CUVs hit the market, they will capture bigger pie of the market.

          Trucks are way too big and guzzle too much gas.

        3. SparkEV says:

          All the things you describe can be done with a minivan. Chevy Astro had AWD option and 5500 lb towing capacity for towing boats or mid size travel / horse / cargo / car trailer. It was only about 6 inches longer than today’s Civic. Some people even turn them into mini RV with portable toilets and shower.

          Not sure why SUV have taken over when vans provide so much more. They look a lot better, too, especially after sitting in something like this one. 🙂

      2. Will says:

        Higher ground clearance, safety feeling, and cargo area that surpasses a sedan

        1. Ziv says:

          I wish my Volt had an air susdpension so that when it is parked or driving at 30 mph or less, the car would sit 4″ higher. Better visibility, no scraping on driveways and a lot easier entry and exit. Or I could get a CUV.

      3. Dave86 says:

        I ski 50 days per season’, so AWD is a must.

        In the last 5 years I’ve moved 3 times, so ability to haul stuff is a must. Bought 3 distressed properties last 5 year’s, too, so haul appliances & the like all the time.

        SUV’s utility is required for me.

      4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “What is it that actually makes CUV/SUV appear attractive to people? I have always thought of them as butt ugly trucks.”

        It’s not that SUVs and CUVs are “sexy” or “pretty”; it’s that they are perceived as tough-looking. This appeals both American men who want to look macho, and to American women who (according to focus groups, I hope I’m not being sexist here) see driving on public as a frightening or at least worrisome experience*, and want to drive something tough-looking or even mean-looking, to make them feel safer.

        *…which is actually rational; driving on public roads is one of the most dangerous things most Americans do on a regular basis!

        There are also the practical aspects: Vehicles with large cargo areas in the rear and rear hatches have far more utility than sedans, when it comes to hauling large objects. With their high roof lines, they often have more utility than even a station wagon.

        And one more practical thing: The front seat of an SUV (and at least some CUVs) is considerably higher than it is in a sedan, which gives shorter drivers a better view of the road, which gives them more confidence in driving. Again, I think I’m not being sexist to note that women are on average noticeably shorter than men, and despite all “equality of the sexes” idealism, there are some important physical differences which can’t be ignored.

        In short: Perhaps the popularity of SUVs and CUVs in the U.S. is a sign that women are now having much more influence over which cars Americans buy than they used to.

        Additionally, if Mom wants a minivan but Dad wouldn’t be caught dead driving one (because it’s “not manly”), they can probably compromise on an SUV or tallish CUV. That’s why almost nobody sells minivans in the USA anymore except Chrysler; nearly all former minivan customers are now driving SUVs or CUVs.

        1. Ryan says:

          I personally think the opposite… I think CUVs are popular because SUVs proper (which had a wave of popularity in late 90s, early 2000s) are perceived as too large and aggressive… and sporty hatchbacks/station wagons in the old style are mostly a dead category apart from Subaru and Volvo. They fill a niche to have a large cargo space while still looking relatively sporty and being relatively fuel efficient, and aren’t as “uncool” as a minivan.

          But manufacturers can’t help themselves. They keep making “crossovers” bigger and bigger, and now a Chevy Equinox with a 1.5L engine is as big as the 4wd Isuzu Trooper, or the classic Jeep Cherokee, that my parents owned in the 80s. Which felt like monsters to me.

          Personally I just wish there were more hatchbacks again instead. My ideal car would be an EV in the form of a classic Saab 900: excellent sporty handling, low to the ground, but great cargo capacity and overall utility.

          My Volt comes close though.

    2. unlucky says:

      CUVs look like clown cars to me. Look at the Toyota C-HR.

      I don’t see the Bolt as appreciably more clowny.

      Why do you try to say the problem with the Bolt is looks when you below you switch to being able to throw stuff inside? You don’t make a case for looks at all.

      And the Ford Focus Electric isn’t a platform. It’s a factory conversion on an ICE platform. Which is why you lose so much of your trunk. The platform is a Focus.

      You’re not going to get two bikes into a Bolt or a Buick Encore. Heck, Tesla screwed up the Model X such that you can barely get a bike in!

      If you want a huge vehicle that can take two bikes, great. Those won’t be the the first electrified vehicles and never were going to be. Their size means they are less efficient which means they need more larger and more expensive batteries.

      1. Ryan says:

        The problem with the Bolt is it’s got the clownish looks of all CUVs, but without any trunk space to speak of. It’s as tall and in a form factor similar to many CUVs but you can’t fit more than a few bags of groceries or a single suitcase in the back. It’s very much a commuter car. So they should have just been honest about it and made it in that form factor.

        The Volt is much more practical. I can fit my full size dog in the hatch, and even fit a decent quantity of lumber in it. I’ve hauled all sorts of construction supplies, Ikea furniture, etc. and hauled things where we’d normally take our Kia CUV. The “liftback” form is pretty cool.

  4. F150 Brian says:

    Most of the big global auto manufacturers have transformed into automobile assemblers and marketers, relying on a vast network of suppliers (at one point GM had over 4000 companies supplying their operations and manufacturing).

    There is no reason this model has to change in the shift to EVs, and as we see with the Bolt, this is exactly what is happening with the motors and battery packs being supplied to GM.

    This is a larger eco-system than the fully integrated Tesla model and will take longer for them to be convinced that the demand (and material supply) is sufficient to support large scale PROFITABLE EV component production.

    But it will happen, and the scale created through the use of suppliers (vs each company trying to vertically integrate) is what will bring the cost down and make EVs profitable. Its just not going to happen overnight. It will be interesting to see if Tesla joins the party or stays independent as they are forced to compete in high volume markets (instead of the high margin luxury market) to realize economy of scale.

    1. Warren says:

      As much as I love EVs, and wish we had pushed for them decades ago, I still don’t see a great business model for them, at prices competitive with ICE. We will make the switch, but it won’t be for economic reasons.

      1. Don Zenga says:

        Please check the dashboard, more than 21,000 plugins were sold in USA in 2017-09 while China sold 78,000 of them.

        They have closed the gap, its just that automakers should offer more models, supply more units to dealers and they should sell more.

  5. windbourne says:

    AZTEC II.

  6. Don Zenga says:

    Here are the Alternative Fuel Vehicle models (AFV) of GM & Ford.
    GM:
    Bolt: Electric crossover
    Volt: Plugin-hybrid hatch
    Malibu: Full-hybrid sedan
    LaCrosse: Mild-hybrid sedan
    CT6: Plugin-hybrid sedan
    Silverado: Mild-hybrid pickup
    Sierra: Mild-hybrid pickup

    Ford:
    Fusion: Full-hybrid sedan
    Fusion: Plugin-hybrid sedan
    C-Max: Full-hybrid crossover
    C-Max: Plugin-hybrid crossover
    MKZ: Full-hybrid sedan
    Focus: Electric hatch

    Overall both are same in offering AFVs.
    But lets get into details. On seeing the higher sales of Fusion hybrid, Ford increased the price by $1,000 for MY-2018.
    Despite the impressive 150 mile range of upcoming Leaf which is also priced $700 less and the increasing production of Model-3, neither companies took any effort to reduce the price or increase the range of their plugins. So neither company will keep up their promise of offering more plugins as they say. They are just following VW in promising more in the future without launching anything in the short term.

    1. unlucky says:

      What do you mean they aren’t launching anything? Bolt was launched in the last year. CT6 was launched in the last year.

      The LEAF is no competition for a Fusion hybrid or any hybrid. Most people won’t buy an electric car of any range. For now they are non-overlapping markets.

      1. Ryan says:

        Huh? GM just teased a full line-up of new plugins for next year. And this is not even close to the vapourware caterwauling that VW/Audi group is doing as GM already has proven excellent quality EV and PHEV platforms in the Bolt and Volt, so it’s highly unlikely they’ll be crappy air cooled passive temp managed afterthoughts jammed into another model’s body like the eGolf is.

        The LEAF is also no competition for the Bolt in technical terms, especially for those of us who live in a climate that is not mild, where the battery is going to get the crap beaten out of it by extreme cold and high heat. Its only advantage is price, but its longevity is suspect so total cost of ownership will end up being the same or worse.

        1. Ryan says:

          (sorry, reply was meant for parent)

  7. Bill Howland says:

    I also agree that, despite some catcalls from those difficult to impress, the BOLT ev IS an impressive vehicle for the VALUE it gives. Yes there are things very cheap about it, but the Vehicle IS built down to an affordable price – so expecting PERFECTION and a low price is a bit much.

    I have a very low opinion of the CT6 PHEV, me thinking it is not as nice as an ELR, except they don’t make the ELR anymore. An effective 22 miles range (all anybody can get from it) makes it an efficiency dog. It essentially won’t be available where I live anyway.

    The thing I’m REALLY looking for is a LARGE platform GM vehicle. I just hope its not a 10,000 PSI Hydrogen-HOSE powered ‘Fully Electric’, and still charges like a normal plug-in electric.

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