Volkswagen Group has priced Porsche at $75 billion as the sports car company hits the stock market, Mercedes is recalling more than 150,000 cars over faulty windows, and nobody wants to make engines for supersonic passenger jets. All this and more in The Morning Shift for September 19 2022.
1st Gear: VW Argues Porsche Isa $75 Billion Company
It’s been a busy few months for VW Group. First The German automaker appointed Oliver Blume as its new CEO and now the company is preparing to launch Porsche onto the German stock market for the first time.
Porsche’s entry on the stock market has been in the works for a while now, and it seems like the sale may finally be getting closer. When that moment arrives in “late September,” the initial public offering (IPO) will be Germany’s second-largest in history, reports Reuters.
In the initial sale, VW will price shares of Porsche at €76.50 to €82.50, which equates to a valuation between €70 billion and €75 billion (or roughly $75.1 billion at today’s exchange rate). According to Reuters:
“As part of the listing, 911 million Porsche AG shares will be divided into 455.5 million preferred shares and 455.5 million ordinary shares. Up to 113,875,000 preferred shares, carrying no voting rights, will be placed with investors over the course of the IPO.
“The sovereign wealth funds of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Norway as well as mutual fund company T. Rowe Price will subscribe up to 3.68 billion euros worth of preferred shares as cornerstone investors, at the upper end of the valuation, Volkswagen said.”
Ahead of the sale, a stock exchange prospectus is due to be published later today. After this time, institutional and private investors will be able to purchase Porsche shares.
Proceeds from the sale of the shares are expected to reach up to €19.5 billion. According to Reuters, 49 percent of this income will be divided among shareholders “in early 2023 as a special dividend.”
2nd Gear: Automakers Can’t Make EVs Fast Enough
Pre-sales, waiting lists and taking an enormous number of deposits from budding buyers have all helped build hype around electric vehicles. But now, as automakers around the world begin producing EVs in meaningful quantities, they’re struggling to keep pace with the demand they’ve built up.
According to a new report in the Wall Street Journalexecs across the industry have gone from worrying about attracting sufficient buyers to EVs, to now being fearful that they “can’t build them fast enough.” The WSJ reports:
“EVs account for only about 6% of overall US vehicle sales. But that percentage has tripled in the last two years, while sales of other types of vehicles have declined, according to research firm Motor Intelligence. General Motors Co., Ford, Rivian Automotive Inc. and other auto makers say they have waiting lists of longer than a year for their new electric models.
“In July, five of the six fastest-selling vehicles in the US were electric or plug-in hybrids, which pair a battery with a gas engine, according to data from consumer site Edmunds.com. EVs sold in 19 days on average in July compared with 47 days a year earlier—and went four days faster than internal-combustion vehicles, Edmunds data show.”
The WSJ says that the pressure is now on automakers to capitalize on this boom, which has been spurred on by expansions to the tax credit offered in the Inflation Reduction Act.
But, early forecasts of EV demand, as well as a struggle to get factories online to start building electric cars means that automakers are on the back foot right now.
The site reports that it could take “more than a year” for the industry to increase its production capacity to match demand. On top of that, it has supply chain issues and a shortage of computer chips to contend with.
All this means that buyers are left with long wait times as the industry tries to clear the backlog of EV orders.
3rd Gear: Dacia Holds off Electrification
While most automakers are scrambling to meet demand for EVs, one budget car company in Europe has no plans to jump into electrification. According to ReutersRomanian car maker Dacia “plans to stick to thermal engines for as long as it can.”
Dacia, which is owned by France’s Renault Group, says it would “possibly” make the jump to battery power in 2030, five years later than its parent company. At that point, the company will be left with little other choice, as Gas-powered engines will be banned in Europe in 2035.
Dacia chief executive, Denis Le Vot, told Reuters: “Each has its role to play. Renault will push to be the champion of electric engines, this has a risk. This is also why Dacia exists.
“Depending on how fast the market converts to electric engines and of clients’ appetite, Dacia is here. The two can co-exist in an intimate fashion.”
so far the company offers just one EV in its lineupthe Dacia Spring, which accounts for 12 percent of sales. But the company will add to this BEV lineup with a hybrid model, due for release in 2023.
4th Gear: Mercedes Recalls 161,000 Cars
If there’s one word that sums up 2022 nicely, it’s “recall.” Every automaker seems to be getting in on the recall action this year. Ford has issued more than 50 separate recalls, Toyota brought in nearly 50,000 pickups and even Ferrari had to issue a recall.
Now, Mercedes is getting involved after it uncovered a defect in the rear window on more than 161,000 cars. According to Automotive Newstrim bars on the rear door windows may detach in some GLE and GLS models produced between 2020 and 2022. Automotive News reports:
“An estimate in a Sept. 12 statement indicates about 161,000 vehicles are affected.
“Dealers will inspect and fix the trim bars for free, a statement said. Owner notification letters will be sent on Nov. 11. Detached bars could cause a road hazard or increase the risk of a crash, NHTSA said.
The issue is said to affect Mercedes-Benz, AMG and Maybach variants, showing that even rich people are not exempt from recall woes. This latest Mercedes announcement brings the total number of vehicles recalled by the German automaker up to 722,000, according to NHTSA data.
If you’re worried that your car may be affected by one of these recalls, the NHTSA has an app for that.
5th Gear: Nobody Wants to Make a Supersonic Engine
Things aren’t looking good for supersonic startup Boom at the moment. Last week the company, which is planning to bring supersonic passenger air travel back to the market, lost its engine maker Rolls Royce. And now, it sounds like there aren’t many companies jumping to fill that gap.
According to Business Insider, engine makers like GE Aviation, Honeywell, and Safran Aircraft Engines have all said they aren’t interested in making engines for supersonic passenger travel. Pratt & Whitney, which makes supersonic engines for the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, is also “hesitant to participate” in the project. Business Insider reports:
“Nevertheless, Boom is hard-set on finding an engine manufacturer and producing a power plant that is environmentally friendly. The company hopes its $200 million Overture jets will run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”
But if it can’t find a power plant capable of propelling the plane past Mach 1, then Boom may have no choice but to begin the costly process of designing, building and testing its own supersonic engines.
Neutral: American Humor
Happy Monday, did you have a nice weekend? I went to see the murder mystery/comedy movie See How They Run on Saturday, it was fun. But it was also the first time I’ve noticed the stark contrast between British and American humor in the flesh. Throughout the film, me and my two other British pals laughed at completely different moments compared to the Americans in the crowd. It felt strange.