COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

18 January 2021 | Business

GM to invest C$1 bln in Canada plant

General Motors Co and labour union Unifor said they have reached a tentative deal for the automaker to invest nearly C$1 billion (US$785.42 million) in its CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, to manufacture commercial electric vans.

Under the tentative deal, which is yet to be ratified by the union workers, GM has agreed to begin large-scale commercial production of EV600, an electric van, at its CAMI plant, Unifor said in a statement.

The Detroit automaker said in a separate statement that work would begin immediately at the plant. The new deal builds upon recent investments by GM in Canada, which in November had agreed to invest C$1 billion in its Oshawa plant to expand production of its full-size pickup trucks.

The Canadian government welcomed the deal and said it would confirm its support as soon as the union members ratified the deal.

Unifor, the union representing hourly workers in Canada, said more details of the deal would be presented to local members of the union at an online ratification meeting scheduled for Jan. 17, the results of which are scheduled to be released a day later. - Nampa/Reuters

Total quits top US oil lobby

France's Total SE on Friday became the first major global energy company to quit the main US oil and gas lobby due to disagreements over its climate policies and support for easing drilling regulations.

Total said it would not renew its 2021 membership with the American Petroleum Institute (API) following a review of the lobby's climate positions, describing them as being only "partially aligned" with Total's.

Its withdrawal from the API, the most powerful US oil and gas lobby, comes ahead of sweeping changes in policy direction in the United States, with incoming President Joe Biden promising to tackle climate change and bring the country to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The API is recognized for industry safety standards and practices that are considered the global standard.

European oil companies have in the past pointed to its role in formulating industry standards as their rationale for remaining with the group. - Nampa/Reuters

BMW aims to double vehicle sales in 2021

BMW said that it aims to double its sales of fully-electric vehicles this year as the German carmaker and rivals’ race to release new models to comply with CO2 emissions targets and chase market leader Tesla Inc.

BMW also said that including plug-in hybrids, it aims for a 50% increase in sales of electrified vehicles versus 2020.

It did not give sales volumes for its fully electric vehicles but in 2020 data released on Tuesday BMW said it sold close to 193 000 electrified vehicles last year.

Tesla delivered just under 500 000 vehicles, all fully electric, to customers in 2020. The BMW Group currently produces 13 electrified models either fully electric or plug-in hybrid sold in 74 markets.

BMW said that its global EV sales rose 31.8% in 2020 and accounted for 15% of its sales in Europe, helping the company meet its European Union emissions targets for last year.

By 2023, BMW said it would almost double its line-up of electrified vehicles to 25 models, with more than half of them fully electric. - Nampa/Reuters

Hyundai Motor Group to build plant in China

Hyundai Motor Group has signed an investment pact with the government of China's southern province of Guangdong to build its first overseas fuel cell system production plant in the country, the South Korean firm said on Friday.

Fuel cell vehicles are a niche technology amid concerns about a lack of fuelling stations, resale values and the risk of hydrogen explosions, although hailed by hydrogen backers who say the technology is cleaner than other carbon-cutting methods.

Construction of the Guangzhou city facility with annual capacity of 6 500 fuel cell systems is to begin in March, with completion aimed for the second half of 2022, the automaker group said.

"The Guangzhou plant will leverage the groups extensive expertise in fuel cell system production to secure a technological leadership position in China’s rapidly developing hydrogen industry," it said in a statement.

Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor Co and Kia, did not disclose the investment amount, but added it would work with Chinese firms to participate in Guangdong's hydrogen-related projects. - Nampa/Reuters

Samsung launches new Galaxy S smartphone

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled the first Galaxy S smartphone with a stylus for on-screen work called the S Pen, more than a month ahead of its usual annual release schedule for models of its flagship compact phone.

Analysts have said offering a stylus within the Galaxy S21 series might signal the South Korean tech giant will merge the S line with its other premium smartphone range, the Note, already equipped with a note-taking stylus.

That could free up resources for Samsung to push its separate range high-end foldable phones as key mass products rather than niche devices.

Samsung is also looking to grab market share after China's Huawei Technologies was hit with U.S. sanctions that restricted its supply and hurt sales, analysts have said.

An early Galaxy S21 launch is a likely tactic to capitalise on Huawei's woes, said Counterpoint Research analyst Sujeong Lim. New iterations of the Note typically come in the second half of the year. - Nampa/Reuters

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