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Auto stocks: Famous car brands

15 symbols
Auto stocks are always a popular portfolio choice and for good reason. Not only do people love cars, most people need cars*. As such, the global market for vehicles is one measured in trillions of dollars and still growing strong. While Asia has a big stake in the market, a fairly sizeable chunk is also shared by US and European car makers. Finding their beginnings in Detroit, London, and Maranello, manufacturers in the US and Europe have since produced some of the biggest, most-recognizable, vehicles out there.

So, we really needn't introduce these businesses. These are US and European car makers all with a market cap no lower than $1bn. However, just because they drive well, doesn't mean these business will take your investment for an easy ride, so do your own research first.

*It must be pointed out that, whether the planet needs cars is another question entirely.

Symbol summaries

TSLA

From teetering on the verge of bankruptcy to being the most-shorted stock, Tesla has weathered storm after storm. Taking it on the chin, the Elon Musk-led company became the first car manufacturer in history to sit on a $1T valuation. For years Tesla struggled to turn a profit from anything besides credit sales until 2021 when the EV leader shrugged off supply chain shocks to nearly double its year-on-year deliveries to 963,172 battery-powered vehicles, pocketing a profit of $5.5bn for the year. A prominent Bitcoin holder, Tesla toyed with crypto for a while before it dropped it (for now) due to carbon concerns.

VOW3

Volkswagen, the pioneer of the “people’s car”, has a new destination in mind – to ax dozens of combustion engine models and focus on premium, more profitable makes. The German carmaker will be devoting time to slashing its lineup of about 100 models in total by 60% in Europe by 2030. As a result of this ongoing shift, the Wolfsburg-based group lost its ‘volume crown’ to Toyota, which became the world’s largest carmaker. VW also revealed a $52bn push into electric vehicles – the largest investment package of its kind. But its stock has been stalled around €145 over the past few years.

MBG

Mercedes Benz – known for wearing many hats, from lower-budget hatchbacks to battery-powered luxury saloons – dropped several cheaper combustion models in 2022 in pursuit of top-of-the-range vehicles. The pivot to a luxury-brand-only status, according to chief Ola Källenius, would help the legendary German carmaker to achieve profit margins of 13% to 15% by 2050. Latest strategy changes have translated to a muted investor response as Mercedes’s stock was underwater for the first six months of 2022. Still, last year the group doubled its pre-pandemic earnings to €14bn at a valuation of nearly €70bn.

F

The car business must certainly be going all in on electric if an industry heavyweight such as Ford is steering away from manufacturing petrol-powered cars towards EVs. Not only that, but the US-based group has revamped ambitions to become the world’s largest electric maker. However, even if Ford meets its goal to have at least 600K EVs sold by 2023, this target will still pale compared with Tesla’s close to 1M vehicles sold globally in 2021. Nevertheless, Ford has been floating in the upper echelons of the car industry for a long, long time. The company boasts a market cap of around $48bn and flashed a hefty profit of $17.9B in 2021.

GM

General Motors is the second largest carmaker by sales in the US and, more recently, is in an apparent race with Tesla over who will deliver more electric vehicles. In early 2021, GM unveiled a $7bn EV-focused plan that aims to raise production capacity to 1M battery cars by 2025. The scheme is part of the company’s larger efforts to funnel $35bn into EV investments by the same year. This storied brand, worth just above $50bn, will need to go above and beyond to catch the youngster – Tesla delivered a total of 936K cars in 2021. Shares of GM dipped below its $33 IPO price in mid-2022 for the first time since Oct. 2020.

BMW

A mainstay in the car-manufacturing industry, BMW ain't planning to stop dominating the auto market any time soon. The German carmaker delivered a total of 2.5 million rides in 2021, outperforming local rival Mercedes. BMW posted a profit of €12.5bn in 2021, the company’s biggest annual gain since its founding in 1916. The figures marked a 150% increase compared with 2019 before the Covid pandemic swept away consumer spending. The Munich-based manufacturer boasts a market capitalization of over €50bn while its stock has been relatively flat over the past years, hovering around €80 a share.

RACE

What’s sleek, red, and makes your heart race? Italian supercar brand Ferrari, obvs. With a hoard of slick-looking, high-end luxury auto models, Ferrari boasts a market capitalization of around $37bn. Ferrari is in a class of its own – the supercar king posted record figures for 2021 with net profit arriving at $876M from $640M in 2020. It’s even more impressive when you find out that it did so with just 11,155 models delivered. Not to mention, Ferrari’s stock has been in a gradual upside swing, adding more than 120% from mid-2017 to mid-2022. Simply uncatchable, it seems.

STLA

Stellantis is the world’s fourth-largest automaker by sales volume and owner of 16 car marques, including Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat, and upmarket brands Alfa Romeo and Maserati. It's worth about $42bn and boasts ambitions for an even larger footprint. The automaker aims to double car sales by 2030 and to become carbon free by 2038. For the fiscal year 2021, the car giant logged sales of over 3.1M units in the European region with a 33.7% market share for the same year. In mid-2022, Stellantis teamed up with Samsung to build a $2.5bn battery plant in Indiana as the company pivots toward electric cars.

VOLV_A

Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars became the country’s second largest listing ever to hit the markets. Volvo had its trading debut in October 2021 with a valuation of $18bn. The price tag however, was lower than the $30bn valuation originally sought by Volvo owner Geely. Nevertheless, the car manufacturer is determined to get ahead of the contemporary eco-friendly curve. The company has one of the most audacious climate plans in the car industry – it’s on a race to net zero emissions by going all electric by 2040. The car manufacturer’s fully electric models were roughly 8% of total car production in the first quarter of 2022.

LCID

Lucid Group is an electric-car manufacturer that took a different route to the public market than the traditional IPO. The group debuted for trading through one of the largest SPAC deals in history – a $24bn merger deal with Churchill Capital IV. Lucid is based in California but is majority owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Other big-name backers include BlackRock and Fidelity. Lucid is anticipating as much as $3.4bn in financing and incentives over the next 15 years to support the development of a planned factory in Saudi Arabia where it could make up to 155,000 EVs annually.

RIVN

Electric truck company Rivian went public in November 2021. One detail appealed the most to investors – the startup was backed by Amazon and the two had a deal for 100,000 electric vans to be delivered by 2025. In 2021’s fourth quarter, Rivian’s first one as a public company, it delivered 909 newly-minted vehicles, booking a revenue of $54M. Suddenly, in January 2022, in comes Stellantis with its own agenda to start selling its electric vans to the e-commerce giant from 2023. While Rivian’s IPO was stellar and the valuation jumped to over $100bn, the company’s worth has fallen by roughly 75% to hover around $25bn.

TTM

Tata Motors, an Indian automaker, may not be super popular in America but it's making strides in its homeland. In India, Tata is climbing up the sales ranks, claiming the second spot as the country’s best-selling automobile for May 2022. The Mumbai-based car maker boasts a solid lineup with its most-favored models being Nexon, Punch, and Altroz. You’d be surprised to learn that Tata Motors also owns a handful of companies, among them Jaguar Land Rover, acquired from Ford in 2008 (which is why it’s on this list). Since early 2020, shares of Tata have been steadily rising to a cumulative market valuation of just under $20bn.

RNO

French carmaker Renault has endured some headwinds over the years. Hardships culminated in the company’s decision to exit Russia in May 2022 by selling its 68% stake in AvtoVAZ, Russia’s biggest automaker, accounting for 15% of Renault’s total operating profit in 2021. Renault is 15% owned by the French state but has a 43% stake in its alliance partner Nissan. Both companies were led by infamous former CEO Carlos Ghosn until 2018 when he was arrested in, and subsequently escaped from, Japan. New CEO Luca de Meo has set a goal for Renault – in concert with Nissan, to sell 1M electric cars, joining high flyers Tesla and Volkswagen.

FSR

Fisker, a US-based startup electric vehicle maker, aims to dominate the sustainable EV market with new car models, cheaper than those of industry heavyweight Tesla. The innovative ‘mobility devices’ are in the playbook for 2023. Its stock, however, is yet to gain traction as the company has yet to start making proper revenue. Shares of Fisker have seen their value slashed in half in the first six months of 2022, even amid a high demand for its affordable electric rides. Fisker Ocean EV, the carmaker’s first all-electric SUV, crossed a major milestone of 50,000 reservations in June 2022.

AML

Aston Martin is one of the reasons why humans love cars. These bad, mad and irresistible drives can make your pulse rise and head spin. What else can the luxury carmaker do for you? Probably high blood pressure and a receding hairline if you invested in Aston Martin’s IPO. The company had its trading debut in the UK in late 2018. Since then, Aston Martin’s stock has been severely battered – it’s lost over 90% of its valuation. Knowing that the James Bond car marque has declared bankruptcy seven times in its more than 100 years of history, current investors are likely hoping not to see number eight.