Mexico has found its first unicorn! KAVAK, the online platform to trade used vehicles in the country reached a US$1.15 billion in valuation in its latest funding round last month. The pandemic does not stop Mexican entrepreneurs.
Companies are also realigning their strategies step by step after seizing the effects of the pandemic. Ford's new CEO Jim Farley promised to deliver faster than its predecessor. Volkswagen also announced "important steps to be taken" in the upcoming months while the FCA-PSA merger is again delayed.
As for EVs, it seems that Tesla will manufacture Model 3 vehicles with cobalt-free LFP batteries, at least for China. Nikola's new CEO Mark Russel affirms the company is about to close a deal with an energy partner that claimed a 21 percent share.
Sit tight, this is the Week in Automotive!
KAVAK: the First Mexican Unicorn
KAVAK continues to break records and raise expectations. The company reached a US$1.15 billion valuation last month. Founded four years ago, it is backed by Japan's SoftBank, a leading investor in disruptive companies. Just recently, Kavak expanded its operations to Argentina. Don't miss our interview with Kavak's CEO Carlos García here
US Auto Sales Keep Recovering
Despite 2Q20 sales remained down, the trend is positve, particularly for high-value SUV and pickups. “While the economy has made a substantial rebound in 3Q20, retail auto sales have been even more resilient,” GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg told Reuters.
Auto Financing Setbacks in Mexico
According to AMDA, in August 2020, 58,607 vehicles were sold under a financing scheme, 0.1 percent less than in July, which is the first contraction on the record since the peak of the pandemic in April.
Automakers Realign Strategies
Appointed in August as Jim Hackett's successor, Jim Farley promises to act fast. “Over the past three years, under Jim Hackett’s leadership, we have made meaningful progress and opened the door to becoming a vibrant, profitably growing company. Now, it is time to charge through that door,” Farley said in a statement.
GM reached an agreement with the Ohio Tax Credit Authority to pay US$28 million in tax incentives and US$12 million for community programs, a direct consequence of closing its plant in Lordstown, Ohio in 2019.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess announced the company will take important steps toward electric and digital vehicles. Meanwhile, EU regulators resumed their investigation to authorize the FCA-PSA merger. The decision will be announced until Feb. 2, 2021.
EV OEMs’ Shocking Progress
After a battery day that might not have had the expected impact, sources told Reuters that Model 3 vehicles manufactured in China will be equipped with cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.
Nikola, that underwent the turmoil provoked by a short-seller who called former CEO Trevor Milton "a fraud," seems to be recovering. New CEO Mark Russel announced on Wednesday that the company is close to secure a deal with an energy partner that could help the company in its electric and hydrogen fuel-cell quest.
Toyota is not getting behind the electrification trend. The Japanese automaker expects to reach 5.5 million electric vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of its original goal.