While Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock continues its unstoppable rise, the two largest American car companies are stuck in reverse. The market values of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) have lost 27% of their values this year. The reasons for the declines are different. GM has not had a flashy product introduction, as Ford had with its new Bronco and the upgraded F-150. Ford’s sales rely too much on the F-150.
GM Shuffles Along
For a period, GM was considered the better of the two companies in terms of management and overall sales. While it continues to sell more cars in the United States and worldwide, it has been hammered by the pandemic and the worry that it has not been fast enough in the autonomous and electric car businesses.
GM’s first-quarter results were as awful as expected. Revenue fell 6.2% year over year to $32.7 billion. Net income plunged 86.7% to $300 million. GM, like many large companies, pulled its guidance because of the pandemic. Results must have cratered in the second quarter. Car sales were hammered around the world.
GM did say it had an ongoing commitment to electric cars and self-driving vehicles. It added this to its first-quarter statement: “During the pandemic, product development work on the company’s future EV and AV portfolios is progressing at a rapid pace.”
Failure in China
No major manufacturer can do well without success in China, the world’s largest car market. GM continues to fail there. In the first quarter, sales were 461,716, down 43.3%. It continues a trend of difficulty that makes it virtually impossible for GM to post strong global numbers.
GM’s domestic sales might have offset, at least in part, China’s trouble. However, in the first quarter, unit sales in North America dropped 7.2% to 719,122.
Where Are the Electric and Autonomous Cars?
As evidence that GM is stuck in neutral in terms of self-driving and autonomous cars, its largest brand, Chevy, offers almost nothing in either category. Chevy’s model lineup is heavy with nearly a dozen sport utility vehicles, bestsellers in the American market. It has a rival to the top-selling vehicle in America-the Ford F-150. The Silverado is its full-sized pickup. And the Corvette is its decades-old sports car star.
In the electric car segment, it has one car, the Chevy Bolt EV. Next to Tesla’s lineup, it is barely an offering. People can “sign up” for Chevrolet Electric updates. However, there are no future models to sign up for.
GM’s stock has been described as undervalued. It is among the three companies in the world that sell the most cars worldwide. The others are Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and Volkswagen. GM’s market cap, at $38 billion, is much smaller than its annual revenue. Tesla, which barely makes a profit, has a market cap of $278 billion.
What is wrong? GM is viewed as a maker of the cars of the past and a company that is bloated with expenses. Tesla, on the other hand, rightly or wrongly, is considered the maker of the cars of the future.