Last week saw global automakers stepping up their activities on the autonomous vehicle front. Japanese auto giant, Toyota Motor Corporation (TM - Free Report) , announced new e-Palette Alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle programs in order to meet the growing demand of multi-faceted transportation and business applications. The open vehicle control interface and a set of software tools of e-Palette Concept Vehicle allow partner companies to install their own automated driving system and management technology.
Ford Motor Company (F - Free Report) has announced that it will tie up with delivery service, Postmates, as it plans to begin the test in a U.S. city in order to understand how self-driving cars can help transport people, food and packages. Also, Volkswagen AG (VLKAY - Free Report) announced that it will utilize NVIDIA Corporation’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology for self-driving vehicles.
On the other hand, Japanese auto giant, Toyota and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC - Free Report) , are reportedly recalling more than one million additional vehicles in the United States in order to replace the faulty Takata air bag inflators. The latest recalls follow because of the announcement from Takata that it is recalling another 3.3 million defective inflators.
(Read the previous roundup here: Auto Stock Roundup for Jan 4, 2018)
Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories
1. Volkswagen and Uber Technologies Inc. will utilize NVIDIA Corporation’s artificial intelligence technology for self-driving vehicles, per a Bloomberg report. According to the news, Volkswagen will deploy NVIDIA’s technology to design co-pilot system. Again, ride-sharing company Uber will use NVIDIA’s processors and software of for its upcoming fleet of self-driving vehicles.
Importantly, competition among chip making companies has intensified in the growing self-driving car market. Leading automakers across the globe are tying up with different companies to find out the best way to remove the need for drivers.
The co-piloting system will offer convenience and include features using sensors inside and outside the vehicle. The system will get better with AI capabilities. Some of the important features may include the facility to recognize a driver who is a drowsy or distracted and keep the car running smoothly at the right speed (read more: Volkswagen to Collaborate With NVIDIA for Self-Driving Cars).
Currently Volkswagen has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
2. Toyota has announced new e-Palette Alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle programs. These programs are aimed at meeting the growing demand of multi-faceted transportation and business applications. This announcement is in line with the company’s focus on sustainable mobility. Moreover, this reveals sustained efforts being made by the Japanese automaker for creating new values and services for the customers, which is beyond traditional cars and trucks.
The new e-Palette Alliance will utilize Toyota’s proprietary Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a set of related mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle. The new idea will build an ecosystem of hardware and software support intended to help companies utilize advanced mobility technology in order to cater to the needs of the customers in a better way.
The open vehicle control interface and a set of software tools of e-Palette Concept Vehicle allow partner companies to install their own automated driving system and management technology. When automated driving system of a partner company is installed, Toyota’s Guardian technology will act as a safety net to ensure appropriate operation (read more: Toyota Unveils New Mobility Services & Concept Vehicles).
Currently Toyota has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
3. Ford has announced that it intends to build a cloud-based and shared platform for managing vehicles and connecting people with different modes of transportation, per a Reuters report. The auto giant is of the opinion that the connected platform will ease the flow of people and goods.
Ford has also announced that it will tie up with delivery service, Postmates, as it plans to begin the test in a U.S. city in order to understand how self-driving cars can help transport people and food and packages. Notably, Ford is already into partnerships with ride-hailing company, Lyft, and delivery company, Domino's Pizza.
The autonomous-vehicle business model aims at helping Ford’s business partners in expanding into uncharted territories and allowing the auto giant to support small and midsize businesses. The company already has self-driving vehicles in Detroit and Pittsburgh. Ford’s plans will challenge ride services companies like Uber and underscore how automakers and many technology companies are working toward developing businesses enabled by self-driving vehicles (read more: Ford Speeds Up Autonomous Vehicle Plans With New Tie-Ups).
Currently Ford has a Zacks Rank #2.
4. Per Reuters, Tesla Inc. (TSLA - Free Report) has initiated production of its premium solar roof tiles from December 2017. Located at Buffalo, NY, the automaker’s Gigafactory 2 is earmarked as the production facility of these rooftop-solar systems.
Additionally, the company started surveying the homes of customers, who made an advance payment of $1,000 last year, for booking Tesla’s solar roof tiles.
Introduced in October 2016, this solar roof production is in sync with the company’s strategy of unveiling options that are free of fossil fuels.
At the time of introduction, the company had announced to get the product ready for installation by the summer of 2017. Accordingly, last May, the company had also started taking orders for the solar roof tiles, for which, customers had even shelled out an initial advance amount via Tesla’s web site. The company now expects the product’s first installations to commence in the subsequent months of 2018 (read more: Tesla Begins Solar Roof Production at Buffalo Plant).
Currently Tesla has a Zacks Rank #3.
5. Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (GPI - Free Report) reported that it has added a new Land Rover franchise at Watford, United Kingdom, located in the northwestern part of greater London metropolitan market.
The franchise is projected to contribute an estimated $35 million to the company’s annual revenues. Also, it adds up to its total 56 franchises under the U.K. operations.
Per management, adding new franchises will enable the company to expand its activities in the United Kingdom as well as widen its brand portfolio in the country. Further, inclusion of this new franchise will help the company generate more than $2 billion in yearly revenues from its U.K. business operations (read more: Group 1 Automotive Adds a New Land Rover Franchise in UK).
Currently, Group 1 Automotive has a Zacks Rank #3.
Last week, all the stocks in the table moved upwards. The steepest rise was witnessed by Tesla and the minimum increase was registered by General Motors Company (GM - Free Report) .
All these stocks also rose in the last six months. The sharpest rise was witnessed by AutoZone, Inc. and the minimum increase was recorded by Tesla.
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What’s Next in the Auto Space?
Watch out for the usual news releases of other auto companies over the next week.
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