How GM CEO Mary Barra wowed Wall Street
GM shares have gained 41% this year
It was a good week for General Motors CEO Mary Barra and her shareholders as she paved the road for the legacy automaker to become a tech-focused "platform innovator."
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The stock gained 6.68% for the week after laying out plans to double revenue by 2030 while expanding profit margins on its quest to become the world’s top electric vehicle maker at the company's Investor Day.
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"The vehicle is really becoming a software platform," Barra told FOX Business’ Grady Trimble in a one-on-one interview. "We think we have some of the most beautiful vehicles that we've had on the road in my career, but then also being able to have a complete software and services business on top of that opens up tremendous growth with a very different margin structure."
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The company plans to rapidly scale EV manufacturing, with more than 50% of North America and China plants capable of EV production by 2030. Among the new fully electric offerings will be trucks from Chevrolet, GMC and HUMMER, Buick crossovers, as well as the Cadillac LYRIQ and CELESTIQ. Electric versions of the Chevrolet Blazer and Equinox are also in the works. The Equinox will be priced around $30,000, much more affordable than previously announced EVs from General Motors.
GM has announced a goal of going all-electric by 2035. Right now, however, EVs make up only about 3% of GM’s new vehicle sales. It is also taking on Tesla and Ford.
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Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the stock to $65 from $59 and Credit Suisse maintained its $75 target while issuing positive commentary on the plan.
The stock has gained over 40% this year.
When asked whether the company is moving too quickly to manufacture vehicles consumers aren’t sold on, Barra said, "We have done tremendous research with the customer and they tell us if the vehicle's beautiful, if it meets the functionality… that there is the right range over 300 miles and that there’s a robust charging infrastructure, they’re in on electric vehicles."
These vehicles will be equipped with new software and services, including its new hands-free driving technology Ultra Cruise, which will be offered starting in 2023 and be able to handle 95% of driving scenarios.
GM is also focused on growing its electric delivery vehicle company BrightDrop and its autonomous vehicle company Cruise.
Two shorter-term issues impacting General Motors are infrastructure talks in Washington, DC, and the computer chip shortage, which has been plaguing automakers for months.
General Motors new vehicle sales dropped 33% year-over-year in the third quarter, largely because of the chip supply chain problems. Barra said she expects chip supply to begin stabilizing in the fourth quarter and continue to do so in 2022.
"We were hit may be harder than most because some of the specific facilities in Malaysia were heavily impacted by COVID," Barra explained. "We had a team of people there. We shared our safety protocols to enable them to safely get people back to work and that's why we have confidence, as we move forward, we're going to start to see more and more recoveries."