Let's take a quick trip back to 2021, a year in which tech stocks were flying high, and the new phenomenon of Special Purchase Acquisition Company (SPAC) listings on NASDAQ were de rigeur.
SPAC listings were the talk of the town during 2021, because they represented a new and ingenious way for privately held companies to circumvent the usual due diligence associated with listing on a prestigious public stock exchange by creating a 'blank check' company which acquires the firm that wishes to list, and then meets the criteria very quickly via the new entity.
For this reason, many companies which were almost startups managed to become publicly listed, and the most interesting of all of them were little-known electric vehicle manufacturers who had hardly sold any vehicles at all but were being valued at stratospheric levels, sometimes into the billions of dollars.
2022 was a very different year. Tech stocks were crashing in value, and the sobering reality of declining economies across North America and Europe was evident, punctuated by cost of living crises and high levels of inflation. Suddenly, 2021, the year of the speculative meme stocks and pie-in-the-sky multi-billion dollar valuations for unknown firms doing SPAC IPOs on NASDAQ seemed a distant memory.
The value of electric vehicle stocks in general absolutely reflects this dynamic.
The most established pure electric vehicle manufacturer of all, Tesla, which is the firm that swooped in and disrupted the traditional automotive industry in 2014 with its Model S luxury sedan has had a rotten 2022 and its values are still a shadow of what they were this time last year as 2023 is well underway.
In fact, all of the publicly listed electric vehicle companies have recorded a disastrous 2022, and the low values of their stock is continuing into the second week of 2023.
Rivian, which launched on NASDAQ on November 10, 2021 at $78.00 a share, raising nearly $12 billion, is a case in point. Its R1T electric pickup truck is a work of automotive art and it was surrounded by huge hype at its IPO considering that it is a relatively new company founded in 2009 and suddenly was raising billions from public investors.
Today, however, looking at the chart over a one year period makes for sobering reading. The line is a constant decline all year, and today Rivian stock sits at a lowly $16. A far cry from its post-IPO $78!
Traditional automotive giants such as Ford Motor Company sat quietly and watched these newcomers go through 'boom and bust' style stock listing exercises.
Even Tesla is on the backfoot, and this week sits at its lowest point by far in well over a year.
The hype is over. Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are the norm, and perhaps buyers would rather pay what amounts to a substantial outlay for a car made by Porsche, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover at the high end, or Ford, GM, Kia and Hyundai at the run of the mill end, because these are automotive firms with prominence.
There was one particular company which listed on NASDAQ via a SPAC listing in 2021 and valued itself at over $50 billion but had not delivered a single vehicle.
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