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Tesla Still Isn't The Most Valuable Automaker Brand In The World

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Tesla has been skyrocketing in value but hasn’t reached the acme, Byton is in trouble, and the Geneva Motor Show might be done for good. All that and more in The Morning Shift for June 30, 2020.

1st Gear: Tesla Is Worth Billions But Toyota Is Still The King

A new ranking of brand value has Toyota up top, followed by Mercedes, BMW, and then Tesla. Rankings like this really only have theoretical value, as carmakers, like anything else in life, are only worth what someone is willing to pay, but this tracks with one’s ambient sense of relative value.


From Automotive News:

Tesla’s 22 percent valuation increase to $11.35 billion also nearly gave it a place on the 2020 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands list, which is calculated by market researcher Kantar.

Three automakers did make the ranking of the world’s 100 Most Valuable Brands, led by Toyota, valued at $28.39 billion, at No. 48. Mercedes-Benz placed 56th and BMW 61th. Ford and Honda dropped off the top 100 list in 2018.


Brand value is calculated using a formula that includes the brand’s market capitalization and the results of a global public survey into consumer attitudes toward those brands.

A widespread decline in automotive share prices is a key reason behind the 7.2 percent decline in value of the automaking brands in the top 10, while the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has stalled momentum on electric vehicles. Kantar believes EV demand is key to restoring consumer enthusiasm for automotive brands.

“This was really going to be the year that every business was pushing electric, then we had this massive interruption and that really has kiboshed [disrupted] those plans,” [Global BrandZ Strategy Director Graham Staplehurst] said.


Ford, Honda, Nissan, Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche round out the top ten among carmakers.

2nd Gear: Byton Might Be Uh Biting Off

The startup said today it would suspend production on Wednesday till at least the end of the year. The company has been hit hard by coronavirus. It had planned to sell its M-Byte car in the U.S. next year. Now things are all a bit uncertain.

From Reuters:

The company, which is backed by state-owned automaker FAW Group and battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology, said it was also actively raising funds to address issues relating to unpaid staff salaries and that it hoped to start paying employees from July.

The suspension is set to last six months, closely held Byton told staff in an email seen by Bloomberg News.

“The new coronavirus epidemic has brought great challenges to Byton’s financing and production operations,” the company said in a statement. “After careful consideration and joint consultations with our shareholders and management, we have decided to, from July 1, kickstart a plan to lower employee costs and promote the company’s strategic reorganization.”

Byton produces all of its vehicles at a plant in Nanjing. Starting Wednesday it will suspend most operations in China, where its activities include research and development.


3rd Gear: Get Your Nikola Reservation Today!

It’s only up to $5,000! For a vehicle that doesn’t even have a prototype yet.

From Bloomberg:

Even in the innovative world of electric vehicles, it’s an unusual proposition: Plunk down as much as $5,000 now to reserve the right in a few years to buy a battery-powered truck, before seeing a prototype or manufacturing plan to assure it’ll ever be built.

That’s what Nikola Corp., the Phoenix-based company whose sudden stock surge has captured the attention of investors, is asking customers to do starting Monday. The reservations, which are refundable, take a page from Tesla Inc.’s playbook, but they require would-be vehicle buyers to take an even bigger leap of faith than Elon Musk ever did.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton has said he hopes the truck, called the Badger, will one day rival Ford Motor Co.’s F-150, which for 43 years has been America’s best-selling pickup. Nikola went public on June 4 through a reverse merger, and the stock more than doubled on June 8 after he tweeted that Nikola would start taking reservations on June 29 for what he called “the most bad a— zero emission truck.”


Milton is an interesting type.

4th Gear: Geneva Is Canceled For 2021

The organization behind the Geneva Motor Show said yesterday it was off for next year because it didn’t get a lot of buy in from automakers.


From Bloomberg:

The decision puts to rest a controversy that ensued after organizers were offered about 11 million Swiss francs ($11.6 million) in state aid on the condition that the show resume for 2021. The foundation that runs the show said in a statement that it will instead sell the rights to the show to Palexpo SA, the exhibition center that hosts the event.

“The automotive sector is currently going through a difficult phase, and exhibitors need time to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” the foundation said Monday. The organizers added that it is “far from certain” that the public-health situation in March will allow for an event to be held that attracts 600,000 visitors and 10,000 journalists.


The whole show seems to be at peril.

The Geneva car show foundation has been seeking financing from banks and investors to survive, its director Sandro Mesquita told the Swiss newspaper L’Agefi earlier this month. Failure to do so could result in the whole event company being put up for sale, he said.


Car shows are about as useful as any other trade show, which is to say not very useful.

5th Gear: Ford Halts Social Media Advertising

For the next 30 days. Following in the footsteps of Honda, which was the first automaker to do so, Ford said yesterday it will stop advertising on Facebook because the social media network lets itself be a forum of hate speech.


From Reuters:

The automaker said it would re-evaluate its presence on all social media platforms and added that hate speech, violence and racial injustice in content on social media “needs to be eradicated.” A spokesman said Ford is evaluating such spending in other regions.


I haven’t been active on Facebook for years because I want quality content in my life not viral garbage, so I’m happy automakers are now coming around to this view.

Reverse: Space


Neutral: How Are You?

I replaced my windshield wipers over the weekend, very exciting stuff. I was momentarily flummoxed in the Advance Auto Parts parking lot, though the parking lot of a parts store also features possibly the most helpful strangers in the world.