Aug 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

GM toys with spinning off its electric vehicle business

Coming in 2022: the electric Cadillac LYRIQ. Photo: GM
Coming in 2022: the electric Cadillac LYRIQ. Photo: GM

Wall Street still views General Motors as yesterday's news, so one way for GM to get credit for its in-house capability is to spin off its electric vehicle operations as a stand-alone business.

Why it matters: Pure plays on electric vehicles are all the rage among investors — just look at Tesla's valuation.

Driving the news: GM on Thursday unveiled the Cadillac LYRIQ show car, a luxury crossover SUV that will be among the first based on GM's new modular electric vehicle platform and Ultium battery propulsion system.

  • It's among 20 EVs that GM plans to launch by 2023, including a reborn Hummer electric vehicle.

Context: The reveal came just a week after GM CEO Mary Barra opened the door to a potential electric vehicle spinoff in response to a question during a call with investment analysts.

  • "We are open to looking at and evaluate anything that we think is going to drive long-term shareholder value," she said, adding that "nothing is off the table."
  • In fact, GM had already floated the idea internally back in 2018, according to Bloomberg.
  • Today, the motivation looks even stronger with aspiring electric vehicle makers like Nikola, Fisker and Rivian attracting vast amounts of capital in both the public and private markets.

Yes, but: The downside is that if GM does lop off its electric vehicle business as a standalone entity, its core manufacturing business could look even less attractive to investors.

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