Fiat's Brilliant Spinoff of Ferrari
- Fiat Chrysler has spun off Ferrari, and the two companies have comparable market caps. Does this mean that more exclusive brands command a premium on the stock exchange?
- On Tuesday, Ferrari's second day of trading on the Milan stock exchange, the carmaker was valued at $9.1 billion. Fiat Chrysler was worth $11.6 billion.
- How can a company that only sold 7,255 cars in 2014 be worth 78 percent of one that sold more than 4 million? After all, the mass-market automaker earns far more than the premium one. Fiat Chrysler's projected 2016 net income is $2.2 billion, and Ferrari is only expected to make $342 million. Ferrari has a lower debt level than Fiat Chrysler, but the difference is not sufficient to explain the market valuations.
- And what explains Ferrari's price-to-earnings ratio of 26 times earnings? It is almost unique in the car industry: Only Tesla trades at a higher one.
- That's not how it's supposed to work. as Aswath Damodaran, a New York University finance professor who specializes in equity valuation, wrote in a blog post in October, when the Ferrari spinoff was announced:
- There is a lot of casual talk about how Ferrari will command a premium because of its name and some have suggested that you should add that premium on to estimated value. In an intrinsic valuation, it is double counting to add a premium.
- Indeed, Ferrari's -- and any other luxury producer's -- fat profit margins (Ferrari has four times the gross margin of Fiat Chrysler, based on the 2016 estimates) are a reflection of the value of its brand.
- One could theorize that Ferrari's stellar multiple reflects the effect of a strong brand on financial performance. Research has shown that companies with strong brands outperform the stock market index: When Interbrand publishes its marque valuations, the highly ranked companies' stocks jump.
- But Ferrari is not on Interbrand's Top 100 list, and Toyota, Mercedes and BMW are all in the top 20. There's no correlation between the estimated value of the brands and the earnings multiple for the companies that own Interbrand's top 30 brands (Apple was the most valuable last year, at $170.2 billion).
- Nonetheless, the correlation between the earnings multiples of car companies and the average prices of the vehicles they sell, 0.66, is not trivial.
- It doesn't work this way in other industries. For example, LVMH, the parent company of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Kenzo and DKNY, trades at a lower earnings multiple (16.5) than far less glamorous Adidas (21.7) or Zara owner Inditex (29.1). Apple sells premium products, but its earnings multiple, 10.6, is not much higher than Samsung's 8.7.
- With cars, though, a more premium product appears to give a boost to market capitalization. It makes sense because making luxury cars is a more stable business than auto manufacturing in general: Ferrari's sales have been more or less stable for the last 15 years, regardless of the economic upheavals. And should sales decline slightly -- or even be artificially limited for exclusivity's sake -- fat profit margins can always compensate for the loss, as they did for Ferrari in 2013.
- Middle-class customers sometimes buy expensive designer clothing, but they can't afford supercars, or even less expensive luxury automobiles such as Teslas, Maseratis and Jaguars.
- Distributing Ferrari shares among Fiat Chrysler shareholders was a genius move by Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne. Other carmakers should do the same with their luxury brands. Great shareholder value could be unlocked, for example, if Jaguar Land Rover could trade independently of its Indian parent, Tata.
- Sure, the Ferrari spinoff shaved off a third of Fiat Chrysler's market cap, but the entire company traded at $15-16 billion, and now the two companies are worth a combined $21 billion.
- Marchionne took a risk because Fiat Chrysler's weaknesses are exposed without Ferrari to boost margins and profit. Others in the car industry may not want to be so vulnerable. It might, however, make sense for Volkswagen, which is trying to rebuild after an emissions scandal that may cost billions of dollars. It might need the money it could get by spinning off Lamborghini, Porsche and Bentley, even Audi.
Toyota Snubs Tech Companies With Ford Dashboard Deal
- Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to use a car-phone connectivity system championed by Ford Motor Co. in a front to keep Apple Inc. and Google from dominating control of dashboards.
- Toyota will introduce a telematics system with Ford’s SmartDeviceLink, an open platform that the automakers are inviting their peers to adopt for in-car applications, it said in a statement. Toyota has resisted offering Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, citing safety and security concerns, while Ford is offering them as apps within its Sync connectivity system this year.
- “Developing a safer and more secure in-car smartphone connectivity service which better matches individual vehicle features is exactly the value and advantage an automaker can offer customers,” Shigeki Terashi, a Toyota executive vice president, said in the statement. Ford said Honda Motor Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Subaru, Mazda Motor Corp. and Peugeot SA also are investigating SmartDeviceLink.
- The deal shows two of the world’s largest automakers remain wary about giving Apple and Google too much control over displays that IHS Automotive estimates will generate $18.6 billion in sales by 2021. For Toyota, which is involved in another system called MirrorLink that competes with the two tech giants, the collaboration with Ford suggest the company is spreading its bets on car connectivity options.
- ‘Biggest Disruption’
- Consumer awareness of CarPlay and Android Auto “really does fundamentally change what consumers want out of that system in their center stack,” said Jeremy Carlson, an IHS Automotive analyst. Apple and Google will deliver “most likely the biggest disruption to in-vehicle infotainment systems in the history of automotive.”
- Ahead of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota also said it will equip U.S. vehicles with data communication modules next year that connect cars with cellular networks. The modules will enable a system that notifies authorities when air bags deploy due to traffic accidents.
- MirrorLink System
- Toyota first agreed to collaborate with Ford on car telematics systems in 2011 and said in June last year that it was exploring SmartDeviceLink for its vehicles. MirrorLink, which lets drivers run navigation and entertainment apps on their smartphones using large icons on their dashboard screens, was created by the Car Connectivity Consortium, a group of carmakers and phone manufacturers including Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp.
- “We want 25 nav apps, we want 15 music players, we want things that people haven’t even thought of to come to this space,” Alan Ewing, the consortium’s president, said in an interview. For Apple and Google, “they’re not there to create an environment for app developers to do cool things. They’re there to enable their own businesses.”
- IHS Automotive has estimated that adoption of MirrorLink will trail behind CarPlay and Android Auto, citing limited consumer familiarity.
Singapore Air Raises Tiger Air Bid in Push to Delist Company
Singapore Airlines Ltd. raised its offer for Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. by almost 10 percent, offering shareholders in the unprofitable budget airline an improved deal after a lobby group urged Southeast Asia’s largest carrier to sweeten its bid.
- SIA is offering Tiger Air stockholders 45 Singapore cents, from its initial proposal of 41 cents, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange on Monday. The offer, which SIA said it does not intend to revise further, has been extended to Jan. 22 from Jan. 8.
- SIA is seeking to delist Tiger Air after it made losses because of over-expansion in a competitive market that has caused other airlines to be privatized or collapse. The Securities Investors Association Singapore, which campaigns on behalf of minority shareholders, last year asked the airline’s board to consider improving the Tiger Air offer, noting that SIA paid 56.5 cents a share to raise its stake in 2014.
- “It is an encouraging move by SIA and this, together with the deadline extension, would prompt minority shareholders to reconsider their positions,” David Gerald, president of the Securities Investors Association Singapore, said by phone. “SIA likely raised the price because they haven’t reached the 90 percent threshold to delist Tiger and they’re hoping to shore up more support.”
- SIA Shares
- Shares of SIA fell 1.9 percent to close at S$10.99 on Monday after dropping 3.5 percent in 2015. Tiger Airways was unchanged at 41 cents, valuing the company at S$1.03 billion ($723 million).
- SIA, which owns 55.8 percent of Tiger Air, said in November that it will also offer shareholders of the budget carrier an option to buy SIA shares at S$11.1043 each.
- Singapore Air injected funds into Tiger Air in 2014 by increasing its stake to include the carrier as a subsidiary. While Tiger Air has reduced capacity, cut routes and ended partnerships in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines to curb losses, it still reported a loss in the three months ended September.
GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft
- General Motors Co. will invest $500 million in Lyft Inc., giving the ride-hailing startup a valuation of $5.5 billion and a major ally in the global battle against Uber Technologies Inc.
- The investment, part of a $1 billion financing round for Lyft, is the biggest move by an automaker to date when it comes to grappling with the meteoric rise of the ride-hailing industry.
- GM and Lyft said they will work together to develop a network of self-driving cars that riders can call up on-demand, a vision of the future shared by the likes of Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. More immediately, America’s largest automaker will offer Lyft drivers vehicles for short-term rent through various hubs in U.S. cities, the companies said in separate statements on Monday.
- GM President Dan Ammann, who is joining Lyft’s board as part of the deal, expects the automotive industry to “change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50 and we obviously want to make sure we’re at the forefront of that change.”
- Global Alliance
- Ammann called the investment an “alliance” with Lyft. Rather than stay neutral in the battle between Uber and Lyft, GM invested because of the “level of integration and cooperation that will be required, particularly for the longer term nature of this,” he said in a phone interview.
- Uber’s Kalanick, whose company has been investing aggressively in self-driving cars, has said that it could take between 5 and 15 years before such vehicles are meaningfully deployed around the country.
- GM is open to working with some of Lyft’s international partners, which include Didi Kuaidi in China, Ola in India and GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, Ammann said.
- “We certainly see an opportunity to work together through those relationships,” Ammann said. “The U.S. is our home market and it continues to be our largest market and we think this is the right place to begin the journey.”
- The partnership is a blow for Uber, which has fought to overwhelm Lyft, its only substantial U.S. competitor. Sidecar, another American rival, announced in December that it would shut its network.
- Uber has raised more than $10 billion in financing and is spending aggressively to grow. Its last round of financing valued the company at $62.5 billion.
- Doubling Financing
- Ford Motor Co. is experimenting with its own ride-sharing initiatives: the company last year started offering a network of shared cars in London to tap the growing market for on-demand driving. Fontinalis Partners LLC, the venture firm funded by Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, has previously invested in Lyft.
- Lyft’s latest financing round nearly doubles the three-year-old startup’s total financing. Since 2013, Lyft has raised more than $2 billion, the company said. Bloomberg previously reported that Lyft had filed to raise $1 billion as part of this financing round. Its latest $5.5 billion valuation is post-money, meaning it includes the value from raising its latest $1 billion.
- Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. invested $100 million as part of the round and existing investors Janus Capital Management, Rakuten Inc., Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. also participated, according to the statement.
- Lyft lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue, according to fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg. It said in November it has gained share in key markets such as San Francisco, and has a gross revenue “run rate” of $1 billion. Lyft has said it’s operating in more than 190 cities.
Volkswagen Sued by U.S. for Cheating on Emissions Standards
- Volkswagen admitted in September that it had rigged some diesel engines so that emissions controls only came on during testing. Those controls shut off while the car was on the road, producing nitrogen oxide emissions well in excess of the U.S. legal standard. Since then, the company has said that the cheating software was installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide. The company, which has so far set aside 6.7 billion euros for recalls of diesel cars, has gradually made progress in dealing with the crisis. The automaker is nearing regulatory approval for a low-cost fix for some 8.5 million cars in Europe.
- The Justice Department complaint includes additional vehicles with larger engines, including some Porsche and Audi models, that Volkswagen admitted in November also contained modes that could be considered defeat devices.
- The Environmental Protection Agency, which in September announced Volkswagen violated federal law by using the defeat devices, said that talks with the company about repairing the affected vehicles hadn’t been resolved.
- “So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward," Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at EPA, said in the statement.
- The Justice Department is seeking an order requiring Volkswagen to take “appropriate steps,” including mitigating nitrogen oxide emissions. Such steps might include forcing Volkswagen to install equipment to reduce pollution or buy back vehicles from owners. To obtain such an order, the government would have to spell out what it’s seeking in a separate filing later.
- The government is seeking to add the case to consumer and investor lawsuits now before a federal judge in San Francisco for pre-trial proceedings.
- Volkswagen is working with all government agencies investigating its diesel engines for possible violations of the Clean Air Act, company spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said in an e-mailed statement. It’s also developing an independently administered program to compensate consumers for their economic losses, she said.
- “Volkswagen will continue to work cooperatively with the EPA on developing remedies to bring” the affected vehicles into full compliance with regulations as soon as possible, Ginivan said. The company has suspended sales of its diesel vehicles in the U.S. until the matter is resolved.
- The complaint includes four alleged violations for each vehicle: selling cars without EPA emissions certifications, selling cars with the so-called defeat devices, tampering with the engines and failing to report the existence of the defeat devices.
- Under the Clean Air Act, each of those violations could result in a penalty of up to $32,500 or $37,500 depending on when the violation occurred. That means that each of the approximately 580,000 cars sold by Volkswagen in the U.S. that had defeat devices could, in theory, be hit with four separate penalties, according to the Justice Department official.
- In addition to Volkswagen, the lawsuit also names company units Audi AG, Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America as defendants. The U.S. said the violations involved car models from 2009 to 2016 including some Volkswagen Jettas, Golfs and Passats, as well as the Audi A6 and A7 Quattro.
- Volkswagen presented California regulators with a proposal to make its 2.0-liter diesel engines compliant with pollution standards on Nov. 20. The EPA and California’s Air Resources board have been evaluating VW’s proposed fixes. CARB has said it will formally respond to the plan no later than Jan. 14. EPA hasn’t given any timetable for its response.
- VW won approval from European regulators in December for a plan to repair emissions controls on about 8.5 million vehicles with 1.2-liter, 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter engines. The 2.0-liter engines in the European Union’s 28 national markets will need only a software patch, VW said.
- The case is U.S. v. Volkswagen AG, 16-cv-10006, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).
Tesla Stresses Quality Over Quantity as Model X Deliveries Begin
- Tesla Motors Inc.’s slow rollout of the Model X sport utility vehicle shows the maker of electric cars is emphasizing quality over quantity to protect its brand image after hiccups earlier in 2015.
- Following a splashy introduction of the SUV in late September and a backlog of thousands of orders, Tesla went on to deliver 208 Model Xs in the fourth quarter. That’s less than half the 507 it actually built and below some analysts’ projections. One reason, Tesla said Sunday, is that in the early stages of production it will “prioritize quality above all else.”
- Tesla may have learned from a fresh, painful lesson: In late October, its shares slid the most in more than two months after Consumer Reports, the product-reviewer that once extolled the virtue of its Model S luxury car, pulled the vehicle from its recommended list because of below-average reliability. The automaker needs to ensure a smooth reception for the SUV ahead of the planned 2017 rollout of the Model 3, a less expensive sedan that’s designed to put the brand finally within reach of the mass consumer.
- “It’s important for Tesla to go through these growing pains now so that it can learn and refine its process,” said Jessica Caldwell, an industry analyst at Edmunds.com. “You can bet that there will be many, many more people lining up to buy a Model 3, and Tesla will have far less margin of error to meet those deliveries.”
- The Model 3 is key to the Palo Alto, California-based company’s plan to sell 500,000 cars annually by 2020. The Model S sedan and Model X are produced on a shared assembly line at its factory in nearby Fremont.
- Tesla shares slid 6.9 percent -- the most since August -- on Monday, one day after the company said it delivered 17,400 vehicles in the quarter and 50,580 for the year. The annual total was in the low end of the range of 50,000 to 52,000 that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk projected in November. By comparison Ford Motor Co. sold 65,192 F-series pickup trucks that month alone.
- The stock’s decline came amid a broad selloff in the U.S. and other world stock markets on concern about slowing growth in China. That also bears on Tesla, which is counting on China as its newest major market.
- Tesla, in its statement on Sunday, said that in the final week of 2015 it was producing SUVs at a daily rate equaling output of about 238 a week. Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., had estimated Tesla would deliver about 1,000 Model Xs in the fourth quarter.
- “We remain on the sidelines until we see further clarity around the Model X ramp and the Model 3 reveal,” Kallo, who rates the shares neutral, wrote in a research note published early Monday.
Microsoft Windows 10 Runs on 200 Million Devices in 6 Months
- Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows 10 operating system is running on more than 200 million devices, putting the software on course for the fastest growth trajectory of any previous version as the company faces increasing competition with Apple Inc. and Google Inc.
- The software upgrade, which was released in July 2015, is outpacing Windows 8 by almost 400 percent, according to a post on the Windows blog by Corporate Vice President of Windows and Devices Group Yusuf Mehdi. This inches the company closer to its goal of having 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in 2018.
- The success of Windows 10 is key to Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s strategy of building an ecosystem of gadgets and cloud-based software and services that work together -- similar to the way that Apple’s and Google’s do now. Microsoft is also counting on Windows to help restore growth to one of the company’s flagship businesses as revenue from the PC operating system has fallen 19 percent in the past five years.
- "Is it enough to believe Windows has turned the corner?" said Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co. "No, but it’s a positive sign in that direction."
- The release of the new operating system came amid a slump in the market for PCs and as the consumer-gadgets market has moved away from Microsoft. The company’s introduction of new phones, a tablet and a laptop in October was an effort to attract consumers and developers to its operating system.
- “We continue to be excited –- and humbled -– by the incredible response to Windows 10,” Medhi wrote in the post. “Overall, we are seeing significantly higher customer satisfaction with Windows 10 than any prior version of Windows.”
- Windows 10 was released as a free upgrade for many consumers, while large businesses paid for multi-year licenses that included the new program. More than 22 million devices are running the new operating system across enterprise and education customers, according to Mehdi.
- “At the end of the day, they are behind iOS and Android in terms of people using Windows on mobile,” said Anurag Rana, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The push towards Windows 10 is one way to narrow that gap.”
- New features in Windows 10 include Cortana voice-enabled personal assistant and the new Edge browser that replaces Internet Explorer. Microsoft has also made a “major investment” in creating a single app and Windows store designed to help developers create content that reaches users across platforms.
- Among Windows 10 devices, the Xbox One led the way in 2015.
- Microsoft shares were down 3.2 percent, their biggest intraday slide since September, to $53.72 at 12:10 p.m. in New York, as global markets tumbled. The Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 1.4 percent.
Malaysia Air Bans Checked Bags Over Fears Headwinds Could Leave Jets Short on Gas
- Malaysia Airlines took the unusual step of of telling long-haul passengers that they should fly without checked luggage on European flights, saying unusually intense headwinds are jeopardizing the ability of aircraft to reach cities in the continent even with a full load of fuel.
- Any luggage that is checked in will "arrive later,” while customers connecting with Malaysian flights via other members of the Oneworld alliance may have their bags offloaded, the company said in an advisory bulletin on its website.
- The Asian carrier is struggling to reach Western Europe as a result of “unseasonably strong headwinds” combined with longer flight paths adopted “in the interest of safety,” it said. Routes were modified after the downing of one of its jets over a war-zone in Ukraine in 2014 killed all 298 people aboard.
- “The reasoning has made them look odd, it’s pure stupidity,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of Endau Analytics, an aviation consultancy firm in Malaysia. “It’s ludicrous. Malaysia Airlines have been flying to Europe for decades. Over the last 30-40 years was there no bad weather?"
- Tuesday’s baggage plan was also widely criticized over the Internet.
- "Sad to see this Malaysian icon crumble with service excuses like this," wrote Patrick Khoo, who identified himself as a traveler from Kuala Lumpur, in a Facebook posting.
- The past two years have been tumultuous for the carrier starting with the mysterious disappearance of MH370, which went missing in March 2014 while on a routine flight to Beijing from its base in Kuala Lumpur. Wreckage of the plane hasn’t been found in the world’s biggest search for a missing plane. The airline’s website got hacked, losses mounted and another aircraft was downed in Ukraine. Malaysia’s government then had to take the airline private, fire employees and appointed a new chief executive to restructure.
- As part of the plan to turn around the carrier, Chief Executive Officer Christoph Mueller took an unusual step last month by agreeing on a mammoth deal with Dubai-based Emirates. The plan gave the carrier access to Europe without incurring "monumental losses," Mueller said in an interview at the time.
- Malaysia Air said it regretted the inconvenience to passengers “and will deliver stranded baggage as soon as the situation permits.” The carrier said in the bulletin that it would “continue to assess the changing situation.”
- Malaysia Air’s no-baggage plan, not shared by any other Asian airline, comes even as global oil prices have declined to around their lowest in a decade. Singapore Airlines Ltd. increased baggage allowance in all classes starting November 2013. Passengers flying on Singapore Air’s suites and first class can check in 50 kilograms of bags, those on business class 40 kilograms and economy class 30 kilograms.
- Singapore Air has no plan to change its check-in baggage policy, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement.
- The Kuala Lumpur-based company initially advised people flying to Europe that the new rule would apply from Tuesday night local time until further notice, before issuing a further advisory suggesting that restrictions will be limited to flights to Paris and Amsterdam operated by Boeing Co. 777 aircraft on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Services to London using long-range Airbus Group SE A380 superjumbos can operate as normal using a shorter route after the airline updated a “risk-assessment matrix” with new data, it said.
- Passengers affected by the moratorium on checked-luggage will be limited to a single carry-on bag weighing no more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds) in coach and two pieces totaling as much as 14 kilograms in business class and first.
- Malaysia Air has been under intense scrutiny since MH370 went missing almost two years ago. Last month, the airline began investigating why Auckland’s air traffic control was provided with a wrong flight plan after the pilot questioned the air route.
- The carrier’s "Bucket List" advertisement campaign in September 2014 sparked criticism across social media. The airline later said it will stop the "inappropriate" campaign in New Zealand and Australia.
Sharp Leads Apple Suppliers Lower on IPhone Output Cut Report
- Sharp Corp. led suppliers to Apple Inc. lower in Tokyo after Nikkei Asian Review reported the U.S. company would reduce the first quarter output of its latest iPhones by about 30 percent.
- Sharp dropped 4.9 percent to 116 yen as of 9:15 a.m. and Japan Display Inc. fell 3.8 percent. The companies both supply screens for Apple devices. TDK Corp. slid 3.2 percent.
- Inventories of the new iPhones, which debuted in September, have piled up at retailers in China and Europe amid lackluster sales as an increase in the dollar against emerging markets currencies makes the device more expensive in those countries, Nikkei reported. Apple had initially told suppliers to keep production of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models for the January-March period at the same level as for their predecessors, the publication said.
- Once the inventory adjustment is complete, production should return to normal in June quarter, Nikkei said.
- Sharp spokesman Toyodo Uemura and Ryoichi Imai, a spokesman for Japan Display, declined to comment on the report. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment.
Toward the end of last year, many analysts of began predicting that sales of Apple’s best-selling product would slump in 2016, based on supply chain issues and weaker demand especially from saturated, developed markets. Apple’s growth is increasingly dependent on demand for iPhones, while iPad tablet sales decline and adoption of the Apple Watch remains modest. Apple predicted in October that it would have another record holiday quarter.
Nintendo Drops in Tokyo After SMBC Nikko Cuts Recommendation
Nintendo Co. fell in Tokyo trading after SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. cut its recommendation and said it now expects the company’s entry into smartphone games won’t make full contributions to revenue until the year ending March 2018.
- The video game maker’s shares dropped as much as 5.4 percent in Tokyo, the biggest decline on an intraday basis since Oct. 30. The stock was 4.7 percent lower at 15,640 yen as of 9:15 a.m. while the benchmark Topix index rose 0.4 percent.
- Operating income for the fiscal year starting April 1 will probably be about 30 billion yen ($252 million), less than half the previous estimate, because of reduced sales volume for the 3DS handheld player and revised assumptions about smartphone games, Eiji Maeda, an analyst at SMBC Nikko, wrote in a report released Tuesday. He lowered his rating on the shares to underperform from neutral.
- Nintendo has previously delayed the debut of its joint project with online games platform operator DeNA Co. While the company owns intellectual property including Mario and Zelda, the first game will be a free-to-play messaging-based application called Miitomo, which will have “few in game charges,” Maeda wrote.
Nintendo shares rose 33 percent last year, fueled by its March announcement that the company was entering the smartphone game market. Earlier in 2015, the stock was up as much as 80 percent before the smartphone delays raised doubts about its ability to compete in the fast-moving, competitive market for free-to-play games.
Faraday's Futuristic Concept Car Only Has One Seat
- Talk about a flight of fancy. Faraday Future Inc., the electric vehicle startup backed by Chinese Internet billionaire Jia Yueting, showed a concept car that would probably struggle to gain mass acceptance even if produced.
- For starters, the FFZero1 concept car, shown Monday for the first time in Las Vegas before the Consumer Electronics Show this week, has but one seat. The car’s space-age style white cockpit was inspired by NASA research and has oxygen and water fed to the driver’s helmet. If Faraday built this car, it would have the equivalent of 1,000 horsepower, not exactly what one drives to pick up the kids.
- While this won’t be the electric-drive car they build in 2017 to reach the masses, it is supposed to signal that Faraday takes a futuristic view and designs cars packed with connectivity and technology that are just as much a part of the sales pitch as style and transportation. The company didn’t elaborate on the production car that will first roll off the assembly line of its $1 billion factory north of Las Vegas in 2017.
- "We’re a forward-thinking company focused on the future of mobility, but we also share a passion for driving and performance,” said Nick Sampson, senior vice president of research and product development for Faraday. “On our platform, electric vehicles will not only deliver on sustainability, but will be seamlessly connected and exhilarating to drive.”
- Sampson said the first car Faraday produces will definitely be a premium-priced car and could be a sedan or a sport utility vehicle.
- The black-and-silver race car that Faraday showed is purely a concept that shows the kind of styling that future models will wear, said Faraday chief designer Richard Kim. “It’s a serious statement and it showcases what Faraday Future is about,” Kim said.
- A smartphone is embedded into the steering wheel of the FFZero1 so the driver can access anything he needs on the Internet. Since the concept is designed with autonomous driving in mind, Faraday wants to give drivers images, data and anything else they want from the Web.
- That would yield Faraday another source of revenue. The company is backed by Jia, who is the founder of Leshi Internet Information & Technology, or Letv, which sells Internet-based movies and entertainment content and services. Faraday said the partnership with Letv will enable the automaker to sell Internet content to drivers.
- Faraday promises a breakthrough in automaking as well. The FFZero1 is built on a large skateboard chassis that houses the battery, with an electric motor at each wheel. This allows Faraday to easily change the size and shape to make a one-seat hot rod like the FFZero1 or more mundane vehicles like a sedan or sport utility vehicle. Faraday will be able to build several different models at the same factory, the company said.
- This isn’t the first time a company has toyed with a skateboard concept. Before its bankruptcy, General Motors Corp. had its Autonomy concept, a large skateboard that housed the hydrogen tanks and fuel-cell system for its futuristic models. That one never made it past the auto show circuit as cash-strapped GM went into bankruptcy in 2009.