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Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng gets $2 billion in credit

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Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng stands next to the company’s P7 electric sedan as he addresses media at the 2020 Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

In July 2020, local branches for four of the “big five” banks extended 10.4 billion yuan in credit to Nio for the start-up’s China operations based in the city of Hefei near Shanghai. Participants in this deal included China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, according to an announcement from Nio.

In China’s state-dominated system, the banks prefer to lend to state-owned enterprises. That makes it difficult for privately owned companies to get financing, unless they can convince the state-owned banks of their ability to repay loans.

Xpeng’s credit line announcement comes after the company raised more than $4 billion last year in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in August and a follow-on offering in December.

Shares have soared more than 195% since the IPO.

Where is the money going?

The start-up did not disclose details on credit terms Tuesday. The agreement will help the Guangzhou-based company expand its manufacturing, sales and services and other operations, according to a release.

Xpeng said it began building a second factory in November. The company said it has opened 116 retail storefronts and 50 service centers, as of Sept. 30. And Xpeng revealed in September it is investing in the development of flying vehicles.

Deliveries totaled 27,041 last year, with more than half coming from a new P7 sedan that began mass deliveries in late June. The company added it delivered 100 units of its G3 SUV to customers in Norway in December.

Although overall deliveries more than doubled from a year ago, Xpeng’s figures fell short of Nio’s more than 43,700 deliveries. Nio’s vehicles have targeted the higher end of the market, while Xpeng’s price range has been lower.

In the last two weeks, both companies announced plans for new sedans. Nio’s is expected to arrive in the first quarter of next year. Xpeng claims its sedan will begin deliveries later this year.


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Stellantis rallies on first day of trade after $52 billion merger

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Flag with the Stellantis logo on the front entrance to FCA’s Mirafiori plant on January 18, 2021 in Turin, Italy.

Stefano Guidi | Getty Images

LONDON — Stellantis, the product of the $52 billion merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot, was well received by European investors on its first day of trading Monday. 

Shares of the world’s fourth-largest carmaker by volume, created after the merger was finalized on Saturday, climbed 7.5% by afternoon trade following its launch on stock exchanges in Milan and Paris.  

The Milan-listed shares started trading at 12.758 euros per share with a market cap of 39.2 billion euros ($47.3 billion), and by afternoon deals in Europe were up at 13.55 euros per share. 

In a virtual launch on the Borsa Italiana website, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, former CEO of PSA Group, said the merger would add 25 billion euros in value to shareholders over the coming years due to projected cost cuts. 

“All of our employees and our management teams are totally focused on the value creation that is embedded on the merger of FCA-PSA and the creation of Stellantis,” he added.

Chairman John Elkann said the coming decade would likely “redefine mobility as we know it.” 

“We have the scale, the resource, the diversity and the knowledge to successfully capture the opportunity of this new era in transportation,” he said. 

“Our ambition is to build something unique, something great, by providing our customers with distinctive, safe, convenient, innovative and sustainable vehicles and mobility services.” 

The stock will launch in New York when Wall Street opens on Tuesday, with U.S. markets closed Monday for a public holiday, after which Tavares will hold his first press conference as Stellantis CEO. 

The launch marked the culmination of tie-up talks that began in late 2018, and comes as the auto industry seeks to navigate a seismic shift in consumer demand toward electric vehicles. 

Ahead of the deal, S&P Global Ratings upgraded FCA’s credit rating, predicting that Stellantis would benefit from increased scale and geographical diversity and a strong capital structure. 

“The combined entity will have a solid balance sheet, good free cash flow prospects and large liquidity buffer,” S&P analysts Vittoria Ferraris and Margaux Pery said in a note. 

“In our base case, Stellantis’ net cash position will hover at about €14 billion on an unadjusted basis. This will provide the group with a considerable buffer to market conditions, which remain exposed to COVID-19-linked mobility restriction risks during the first half of 2021, and could suffer from the gradual reduction of government support.”


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Maruti Suzuki hikes prices of select vehicles by up to Rs 34,000

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NEW DELHI: The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India on Monday said it has increased the price for select models by up to Rs 34,000 to offset adverse impact of rising input costs. The company is increasing the price for select models owing to an increase in various input costs…The new prices are effective from January 18, 2021, Maruti Suzuki India said in a regulatory filing.

The price change varies across models and ranges up to Rs 34,000 (ex-showroom-Delhi), it added.

While the company did not specify the models, according to dealer sources the price hike impacts most of its models but select variants of certain models have left untouched by the increase in prices.

Last month the company had said it would increase prices of its vehicles from January to offset the adverse impact of rising input costs.

Over the past year, the cost of the company’s vehicles have been adversely impacted due to increase in various input costs, it had said.

Before the hike, Maruti Suzuki’s range of vehicles were priced from Rs 2.95 lakh for the entry-level small car Alto to up to Rs 11.52 lakh for the multi-purpose vehicle XL6.


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First Shanghai-made crossovers delivered in China

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai on Jan. 7.

Aly Song | Reuters

Tesla has reportedly started delivering locally-produced Model Y crossovers in China, marking another milestone for the electric carmaker in the world’s largest vehicle market.

Deliveries of the China-produced crossover began Monday, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. Tesla was previously importing Model Y vehicles from its plant in California to China. It’s unclear how many Model Y vehicles were delivered or whether they were delivered to employees or to retail customers. Tesla did not immediately respond for comment.

China – the world’s largest EV market – is critically important to Tesla and its growth plans. The company wants to increase its vehicle sales volume from about 500,000 in 2020 to 20 million annually over the next decade.

China was a driving force behind Tesla’s delivery volume in 2020 — the company delivered 499,550 vehicles, an impressive 36% increase compared to a year earlier but slightly below its most recent guidance of 500,000 vehicles.

The company started production of the Tesla Model 3 sedan at its Gigafactory in Shanghai, China – its first plant outside the U.S. – in late 2019. Deliveries to Chinese customers of the Model 3 started a little more than a year ago. Since then, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has become the world’s richest person thanks to a massive 700% gain in the company’s stock.

Tesla built its $2 billion Shanghai plant in just under a year, a rapid timeframe for the global automotive industry. Automakers establish local vehicle production to lower shipping costs and avoid import duties or delays, especially in China.


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