Luxury car sales boom as cheaper brands lag behind. The most luxurious brands such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche, and BMW have reported record sales. With international travel stalled during the pandemic and many avenues of flashy spending closed to them, a young generation of luxury-car consumers went on a shopping spree last year. Read more here.
EV sales overtook diesel models for the first time this past December in Europe. A new milestone for the industry. In 18 markets, including the UK, more than one-fifth of new cars sold were powered by batteries. Diesel cars were just under a fifth, and that’s according to data compiled for the FT by an independent auto analyst. The shift comes as drivers continue to choose subsidized electric vehicles over diesel. Source(3:54)
Ford signs five-year payments deal with Stripe. The deal is aimed at bolstering the automotive giant’s e-commerce strategy. Ford Motor Credit Company, the carmaker’s financial services arm, will use Stripe’s technology to process digital payments in markets across North America and Europe. People now expect to be able to buy anything and everything online, says Mike Clayville, Stripe’s chief revenue officer.
Amazon scraps plan to stop accepting Visa’s U.K. Credit Card. Amazon said in an email to customers Monday that “the expected change regarding the use of Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk will no longer take place on January 19.” They are working closely with Visa on a potential solution that will enable customers to continue using their Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk.
Oil prices traded within striking distance of a seven-year high at $86.71 a barrel on Monday, threatening to drive global inflation up further as supply remained constrained and fears of another pandemic-induced slowdown in demand faded. Opec and its allies have stuck to a plan agreed in July last year to replace output cut at the start of the pandemic gradually, by just 400,000 barrels a day each month to help oil prices track higher.
Nvidia is pushing the limits in autonomous driving. TuSimple Holdings Inc., a self-driving truck company, said it has partnered with Nvidia Corp to use the company's vehicle chips to design and build an advanced autonomous driving computer for its self-driving trucks. Nvidia will provide artificial intelligence expertise and its Drive Orin hardware, a chip specifically designed for autonomous driving capabilities. Read more here.
WHAT TO WATCH
World's 'first NFT restaurant' is coming to Manhattan next year. Flyfish Club announced it’s coming to Manhattan early next year. You need to be an owner of a Flyfish digital token to partake of the globally inspired seafood menu; and another, more exclusive token will get you into a special omakase room. Flyfish has sold 1,501 tokens this month to raise around $15 million for the venture. On the secondary market, they’re trading for 6.63 ETH ($22,000) minimum.
Pfizer CEO predicts ‘Return to Normal’ by spring but expects COVID-19 to circulate for years. Albert Bourla credited developments in COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and therapeutics for his optimistic outlook, telling BFM TV in a separate interview that he expects the current Omicron-driven wave to be the last with so many restrictions. At the same time, Bourla predicts that COVID-19 would circulate for years as a virus. Read more here.
Time spent in cars will jump by 25% by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley. The rise of autonomous vehicles will unlock a new arena for virtual reality, Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas predicts. Today, it’s your car. Tomorrow, it’s an immersive VR experience supercomputer. Increased free time on the road should bode well for Apple and Tesla, according to the analyst in what he calls the “Mobile-Metaverse”.
Walmart to enter the Metaverse with Crypto and NFTs. Walmart looks to be pushing into the metaverse, including creating its own cryptocurrency and NFTs, based on filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The trademark filings include the provision of a Walmart virtual currency, in addition to cryptocurrency exchange services using blockchain technology. A separate application describes downloadable software. Read more here.