Hagerty Debuts as a Publicly Traded NYSE Company

Hagerty, Inc. (NYSE: HGTY) said that shares of its common stock and warrants will begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbols HGTY and HGTY.WS, respectively. This results from the completion of the Company’s previously announced business combination with Aldel Financial Inc., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. Aldel shareholders approved the business combination at a special meeting held on December 1. Hagerty executives will ring the bell to open the trading day at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday 6 December 2021.

The transaction values Hagerty* at a pro forma enterprise of, gulp, ~$3.1 billion. Net proceeds of ~$265 million, it’s claimed, will be used to advance Hagerty’s growth. Hagerty is self-described as an automotive lifestyle brand and a leading specialty insurance provider focused on the global automotive enthusiast market. The firm has been close to the automotive Concourse scene with financial support, particularly in the US. It also sponsors classic car ride-and-drives associated with classic auto shows or events.
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First 2022 Toyota Tundra Built in Texas

Production of the 2022 Toyota Tundra started today at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX). TMMTX promoted the official line off of the Tundra and hybrid-powered Tundra that is not due until spring of 2022 as the truck’s first  major model change at the San Antonio plant since it began assembling trucks in 2006. (First Look: Gen 3 2022 Toyota Tundra)

In 2019, TMMTX announced an investment of $391 million to prepare for production of the 2022 Tundra, pushing its cumulative investment to more than $3.1 billion. This helped TMMTX prepare for production of the next generation Tundra by expanding its facility by 141,000 linear feet – equivalent to 470 football fields – for un-named new processes and technologies to bring the redesigned truck to customers. Continue reading

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Mercedes-Benz to invest €60B to be Electric Only

Daimler says using standardized battery platforms and scalable vehicle architectures – with advances in battery technology – will contribute to a reduction in the variable costs of vehicles. This of course sounds like the plan of all major automakers.

Daimler AG’s Supervisory Board today approved the Mercedes-Benz Business Plan for 2022 to 2026. This means that Mercedes-Benz will transform to a fully electric connected car company. After the Daimler Truck spin-off, Mercedes-Benz will focus on growth opportunities in the passenger car and van businesses. By doing so it is hoped that the German luxury can work for leadership in the area of electric drives and car software at a time when the entire industry is pursuing the same aim. (Shareholders Vote to Spin-off of Daimler Truck, Rename Daimler AG to Mercedes-Benz Group; Daimler Truck Receives Investment Grade Ratings)

The Supervisory Board agreed to  an investment plan for the years 2022 to 2026 of more than €60 billion. Mercedes-Benz claims it will reduce capital expenditures, research and development expenses for the electrification of the product portfolio and digitalization processes, including steps towards automated driving, albeit at an admittedly high level. Needed to do this is an increase net revenues per vehicle. In addition, a gradual shift toward a direct sales model, which includes control over pricing, is being sought. Rising revenue from digital services will further support results. Continue reading

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Immunomedics CFO Charged with Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged the former Chief Financial Officer of pharmaceutical company Immunomedics, Inc. and his former romantic partner with insider trading in the company’s stock. 

Herewith the, err, lowlights from the SEC legal action: while serving as CFO of Immunomedics, Usama Malik learned that the FDA had permitted the company to halt a clinical trial for a breast cancer drug because the existing trial data provided compelling evidence that the drug was effective. Malik – who was subject to a trading “black-out” that prohibited him and anyone living in his household from purchasing Immunomedics stock – immediately told Lauren S. Wood, with whom he lived at the time, as well as three family members. Wood and two of the family members then bought Immunomedics stock, as did an account in the name of the third family member’s spouse. Continue reading

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Ford Motor US Sales Up in November

Ford Motor appears to be the only major U.S. automaker to report a year-over-year sales increase in November 2021. Preliminary data show an increase of 5.9% compared to November 2020. Retail share totaled an estimated 13.8% or 2.7 percentage points higher than  a weak November 2020. During November, 29 % of Ford retail sales came from previously placed customer orders as the company struggles to manage the semiconductor crisis* that is affecting the entire industry. Initial industry wide data show a 6% y-o-y decline in November, which was better than in the previous two months, but volume fell to 1 million units and the annualized selling rate fell to under 13 million units, according to LMC.

As usual Ford Motor should consider changing its name to Ford Truck. Ford brand SUVs achieved record November retail sales on the success of new products. Sales increased 25.6% y-o-y to a  total of 66,390 vehicles. The Bronco family had its highest combined sales since launch – totaling 19,773 SUVs, which to put it in perspective is less than the output of one assembly plant on an annual basis. Continue reading

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EV Gold Rush – GM, Posco to Build New Plant

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on EV Gold Rush – GM, Posco to Build New Plant

Batteries work via electro-chemical reactions of lithium (Li) ions that flow back and forth from the positive pole (+) to the negative pole (-) to generate electricity. They are used to power EVs, IT devices and home appliances. Batteries consist of four elements: cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, and separators. POSCO Chemical produces essential materials used in batteries — cathodes and anodes.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and POSCO Chemical* today said the will form a joint venture to construct a factory in North America to process critical battery materials for GM’s Ultium electric vehicle platform. The joint venture will process Cathode Active Material (CAM), a battery material that represents ~40% of the cost of a battery cell. The location of the facility, which will create hundreds of jobs when it opens in 2024 it’s claimed, will be announced later.

“We are building a sustainable and resilient North America-focused supply chain for EVs covering the entire ecosystem from raw materials to battery cell manufacturing and recycling,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Analysts will not that Korean owned Posco’s operating income and net income have declined in 2019 and 2020. The GM deal – if it works – will be beneficial to the company, which also has close business ties with China. Continue reading

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Solid State Batteries: Factorial Energy Parade Adds Stellantis

Stellantis N.V. (NYSE / MTA / Euronext Paris: STLA) and Factorial Energy# announced today the signing of a joint development agreement to advance Factorial’s high-voltage traction solid-state battery technology. The agreement also includes a strategic investment from Stellantis. Mercedes-Benz also has invested in Factorial in what were in effect concurrent announcements. Stellantis announced in July 2021 its target of having the first competitive solid state battery technology introduced by 2026.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Solid State Batteries – Stellantis Joins the Factorial Energy ParadeSolid-state batteries exist as automotive vaporware currently so all the usual caveats about Forward Looking Statements apply*.They are alluring because of the difference in the use of an electrolyte that is made of solid material instead of the commonly used liquid electrolyte. The electrolyte, of course, is needed to transport ions back and forth between the electrodes when charging and discharging the battery. Solid electrolytes promise enhanced battery safety, as well as the use of new types of anodes, such as lithium-metal anodes. These can provide in theory an almost doubled energy density compared to today’s Li-ion battery cells. As a result, they also promise an increase in range, while at the same time ensuring shorter charging times. (Stellantis Has Lithium Supply Deal with Vulcan Energy; Solid State Batteries Lure Mercedes-Benz to Factorial Energy) Continue reading

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Solid State Batteries Lure Mercedes-Benz to Factorial Energy

Mercedes-Benz said today that it is forming a joint venture with Factorial Energy* to develop next-generation battery technology. The actual equity stake Mercedes took in Factorial was not disclosed. The testing of prototype cells is promised as early as next year. The goal of the partnership is to start with the cell and extend development to include entire modules and integration into the vehicle battery. Implicit in the announcement is the need to be able to access the capital markets for what will be an expansive and expensive transformation of the carbon fuel befouled auto industry. (Mercedes-Benz – New Platforms Electric Only From 2025; EV Battery Gold-Rush – GM and Wolfspeed Cut Deal)

Solid-state batteries exist as vaporware currently. They are enticing because of the difference in the use of an electrolyte that is made of solid material instead of the commonly used liquid electrolyte. The electrolyte, of course, is needed to transport ions back and forth between the electrodes when charging and discharging the battery. Solid electrolytes promise optimization of battery safety, as well as the use of new types of anodes, such as lithium-metal anodes. These can provide an almost doubled energy density compared to today’s Li-ion battery cells. As a result, they promise an increase in range, while at the same time ensuring shorter charging times. (Ford Ion Park in Southeastern MI is New Global Battery Center; GM to Invest in New Battery Building to Lower EV Costs) Continue reading

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