Ford is cutting prices on its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV by as much as $6,000 just weeks after market leader Tesla took similar steps.
The Detroit automaker is increasing production of the Mach-E this year and said it is taking advantage of streamlined costs to reduce prices across the board, it said Monday.
The cut comes just over two weeks after Elon Musk’s Tesla dropped prices 6% to nearly 20% in the United States on most of its models in an effort to bolster demand and raise market share.
Ford’s maneuver will almost certainly force other automakers to trim prices as well, touching off a bit of a price war for electric vehicles, said Jeff Schuster, president of global forecasting for LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area consulting firm.
“To remain price competitive to consumers, it’s going to require a response from anyone who wants to play in this area,” he said.
However, Schuster says he doesn’t see an all-out price war that brings prices down even more. Automakers will try to protect profit margins on EVs as their share of the US market keeps growing, he said.
Although Ford didn’t mention Tesla in its statement, the Dearborn, Mich., company said the price cuts are part of Ford’s plan to keep the SUV competitive in a fast-changing market.
“We are not going to cede ground to anyone,” said Marin Gjaja, Chief Customer Officer of Ford Model e, the company’s electric vehicle unit.
The price of a base rear-wheel-drive standard range Mach-E will drop $900, from $46,895 to $45,995. The top-end GT extended range will fall $5,900, from $69,895 to $63,995. The prices don’t include shipping, government fees or taxes.
On Jan. 13, Tesla slashed prices dramatically on several versions of its electric vehicles, making some of its models eligible for a new federal tax credit that could help spur buyer interest.
The company dropped prices nearly 20% in the United States on some versions of the Model Y SUV, its top seller. That cut will make more versions of the Model Y eligible for a $7,500 electric-vehicle tax credit, which will be available through March. Tesla also reduced the base price of the Model 3, its least expensive model, by about 6%.
The cuts were in response to slowing demand and Tesla’s sagging stock price.
Ford said customers who ordered Mach Es and are awaiting delivery will automatically get the lower prices. The company will reach out directly to those who already have their vehicles with a sale date after Jan. 1.
A Los Angeles-based lawyer employed by Google discovered he was being laid off by the tech giant in an email that he received at 2 a.m. while he was feeding his newborn infant daughter.
Nicholas Dufau had been employed by the search engine as its associate product counsel for six months when he was granted parental leave following the birth of his daughter in the early morning hours of Jan. 17.
Dufau shared a photo of him cradling his little bundle of joy to his chest on Google’s internal Slack channel, where dozens of colleagues sent their warm wishes.
Little did the new dad know that just 72 hours later, he would receive a message from his employer notifying him that he no longer had access to his work email and that he was effectively terminated — this while feeding his daughter in the wee hours of the night.
He was among 12,000 employees let go by Google last week.
“Last Tuesday morning at 2am, I became a father,” Dufau wrote in a LinkedIn post Wednesday that has gone viral.
“The next day, my Google teammates showered me with heart emojis and virtual confetti, wishing me well on my paternity leave.”
Dufau continued: “On Friday morning at 2am while feeding my infant, I received a notification that I had lost access to my Google corporate accounts.”
“I had been laid off via automated email,” he wrote.
Dufau wrote that his colleagues at Google reassured him that the company “was one that treasured its employees and encouraged me to take the full extent of my parental leave to cherish this precious time with my family.”
“I had never been so thankful to find myself on a team that valued me as a person,” he wrote.
“Every layoff hurts — the timing of this experience, however, not only made me feel acutely expendable, it made me feel naive,” Dufau wrote.
He wrote that he has found solace in his “saintly wife and miraculous daughter” who “have been here to lift my spirits and give me comfort.”
The Post has sought comment from Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
Laid-off Googlers have not been shy about posting their stories on social media.
Nicole Tsai, a Southern California-based “vlogger,” posted a viral TikTok video showing the precise moment she learned she was being let go.
In my 50-plus years of managing money — which started back in the days when Carly Simon was cranking out hits — recessions have mostly been surprises. Now, almost everybody expects one.
The Philadelphia Fed’s Recession Probability gauge has hit a record high. A survey from The Conference Board shows 98% of American CEOs expect an economic downturn within 12 to 18 months, with 99% forecasting the same for Europe. KPMG found that 63% of Asia-Pacific CEOs expect recession. In Taiwan, it’s 9 out of 10. It is, surely, the most- and longest-anticipated recession in modern history.
That’s where Carly Simon comes in. No stranger to life’s surprises, in her 1971 single “Anticipation” she crooned, “We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway.” That’s key because, as I noted in this column on Christmas Day, forewarned is forearmed. When you beware, you prepare. In short — to concoct a rhyme that I would never accuse Carly of writing herself — anticipation is mitigation.
Recession chatter perked up last spring with the Ukraine war. Growth forecasts and CEO confidence plunged. Two quarters of (barely) shrinking US GDP raised alarms, causing many to think we were already in recession. Now, recession warnings are at DEFCON 2. If you think CEOs aren’t preparing, you must take them all for idiots. (And if you aren’t preparing, maybe you’re the idiot — or “so vain” you probably think this column isn’t “about you”).
More specifically, gloomy business leaders are nixing growth endeavors and cutting costs as if recession were already here. There have been 364,000 global layoffs since April. US job openings are off 12% from March’s peak. Over a third of Asia-Pacific CEOs are freezing hiring. Firms are leaning toward lean and mean fast.
Beyond headcount, the World Federation of Advertisers found almost a third of multinationals slashing ad budgets, with 75% putting spending plans under “heavy scrutiny.” Firms are squeezing operations—accelerating receivables collections, scrapping productivity-sapping meetings, even kiboshing free coffee.
This isn’t how firms historically acted before downturns. On recession’s eve in Q4 2007, the Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Index ticked higher. Respondents expected rising or flattish capital expenditures and employment. Headlines touted Big Tech and telecom expansion plans well into 2008. The subsequent surprise deepened recession’s pain.
Recessions wring out the excesses of prior expansions — indeed, that is their very reason for being. But this time, firms have been increasingly at it since spring. How much wringing remains? Enough for a brutal recession and another bear market implosion? Unlikely. Widespread anticipation renders mild downturns — or none at all.
A mild recession would be consistent with 2022’s 24.5% decline through October’s bear market bottom — a cub by historical standards. And if we actually sidestep recession, nearly everyone will be shocked — and positively. Stocks move most on surprise — hence the bull market ahead (smaller or bigger, as I detailed Christmas Day).
Note that, since good data start in 1925, 9 of 10 US bear markets tied to recessions ended long before the recession bottomed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nearly a year of increasing corporate sobriety means any downturn can’t cut as badly as feared.
As Carly ended Anticipation, “These are the good old days.” Be bullish.
Ken Fisher is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Fisher Investments, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and regular columnist in 17 countries globally.
PayPal Holdings said Tuesday it is planning to cut 7% of its workforce, or about 2,000 employees, the latest fintech firm to blame mass layoffs on the economic slowdown.
The payments firm also joins Big Tech firms and Wall Street titans, which are executing layoffs across corporate America as companies look to rein in costs to ride out the downturn.
PayPal’s move to keep a tight lid on costs comes against the backdrop of decades-high inflation hitting the purchasing power of consumers who also have to contend with the threat of a looming recession.
“While we have made substantial progress in right-sizing our cost structure, and focused our resources on our core strategic priorities, we have more work to do,” said PayPal’s Chief Executive Dan Schulman in a statement.
Shares of the payments firm, which lost about 60% of their value last year, closed up 2.3% at $81.49.
“Similar to other tech companies, PayPal is seeking to position itself financially and strategically, bracing for an economic slowdown,” said Moshe Katri, analyst at Wedbush.
Thomas Hayes, chairman and managing member at investment firm Great Hill Capital told Reuters that “tech over-hired during the pandemic and rationalizing staff during a soft period will help them to retain margins as conditions recover.”
In November, PayPal had cut its annual revenue growth forecast in anticipation of a broader economic downturn and said it did not expect much growth in its US e-commerce business in the holiday quarter.
Executives at the company said at the time that a challenging macro environment, and slowing e-commerce trends were pushing it to be prudent with its forecast.
The world’s tallest Holiday Inn has won a judge’s approval to become a shelter for migrants in downtown Manhattan — clearing the way for a deal with the city that will pay the hotel’s owner $190 a room per night.
Earlier this month, the 50-story, 492-room Holiday Inn Manhattan Financial District – which filed for bankruptcy in November after getting slammed by the pandemic — inked an agreement with New York City Health and Hospitals, the agency charged with housing the Big Apple’s ballooning migrant population, according to court documents.
The nightly room rate the city will pay — which, with the hotel at full capacity, amounts to a daily tab of $93,500 and a monthly tab of $2.8 million — is at the high end of a range between $115 and $190 the city has allotted for a migrant hotel housing program that now reportedly spans dozens of hotels citywide, according to hotel consultant Geoffrey Mills.
It’s also well above an average daily room rate of $102 the hotel was getting in January with an occupancy rate of 60%, according to court filings. On Tuesday, the hotel’s website was advertising rooms at $145 to $149 per night.
A federal bankruptcy judge in Manhattan approved the plan on Monday submitted by the hotel’s owner, Chinese developer Jubao Xie. The hotel estimates that it would earn $10.5 million through the end of the contract on May 1, 2024, which would help pay down its debts, which include $11 million in interest on its loans.
Under the agreement, the city will provide 24-hour security and be responsible for removing “guests that may be unruly or otherwise pose a danger or nuisance to the other guests, the employees and contractors,” according to court papers. The hotel will provide housekeeping services at least three times a week.
The filings provide a rare glimpse into the partnerships the city is forging with some 70 local hotels, including The Row, The Watson, The Stewart, The Paramount and Night Hotels that have agreed to temporarily house migrants.
“It pulls back the curtain on these agreements, which are otherwise not public,” said distressed-debt expert Adam Stein-Sapir.
Under the agreement, the hotel’s franchisor IHG Hotels and Resorts is requiring that it not be advertised as a Holiday Inn during the contract period and that “exterior branded signage be covered and it otherwise be made clear to the public that the Hotel is not available for public use,” according to court documents.
If any migrants stayed in the hotel past the contract, the city would be obligated to pay the hotel $750 per room per day as incentive to clear the hotel out, according to the filings.
Mayor Eric Adams said this month that the cost to house and care for asylum seekers coming across the Mexican border, mainly from Central America, has already exceeded the city’s estimates and is approaching $2 billion or double what the city had forecasted. Some 40,000 migrants have come here since last year, the city said this month.
According to the agreement, microwaves will be removed from the rooms, with a few moved to common areas to prevent safety hazards that have stemmed from migrants using hot plates in their rooms — an issue that arose at the Row NYC hotel in Times Square, as exclusively reported by The Post. The city will also provide all food but might use the hotel’s restaurants and employees to prepare meals, according to the filing.
A conflict between the Holiday Inn and its lender, Wilmington Trust National Association, came to a head last week when the bank asked the judge to block the plan, objecting to among other things the terms of the agreement that allow the city to determine whether to repair “excess wear and tear” to the hotel.
“Operating the hotel as an asylum seekers’ residence is not consistent with the Hotel’s brand, how it is marketed or how it may be impaired from being marketed after the proposed contract ends,” the lender said in a Jan. 24 filing.
The property’s owners countered in a Jan. 17 filing that the bank’s claims were “outrageous,” alleging that the lender’s “ultimate goal is getting rid of the [hotel’s] favorable loan.”
The hotel, which first opened in 2014, defaulted on its $137 million mortgage in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. The hotel’s loan rate is 5.25%, which equals about $612,000 in monthly interest payments.
“The hotel has to be performing pretty well for it to keep its existing loan in place,” Stein-Sapir said. The irony is that “if the hotel is performing well, it’s not great for the lender, which doesn’t want to get stuck with a low market loan on its books,” Stein-Sapir added.
An attorney for Wilmington Trust didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The famed plane — nicknamed the whale for its distinctive hump and formally known as the Queen of the Skies — has been in service since 1970.
It has logged tens of millions of miles carrying passengers around the world and will even been modified to fly the president on Air Force One.
The 747 was taken out of service by US carriers in 2017, though some remain in use abroad.
It has remained in service as a cargo plane, with the last and 1,574th, a model 747-8 Freighter, delivered to Atlas Air in Boeing’s hometown of Everett, Wash.
Thousands of current and former Boeing employees, customers and suppliers were in attendance to celebrate the final delivery.
“It’s a very emotional experience, I know, for so many of the current team and so many that have lineage in the program over the many decades,” Kim Smith, Boeing’s vice president and general manager for the 747 and 767 programs, told Reuters.
Developed in the late 1960s, the first 747 made its debut for the now-defunct Pan Am in 1970. The wide-body jet was designed to facilitate larger passenger flights during a boom in air travel at the time.
Boeing took just 28 months to design and build the 747, which was the world’s first twin-aisle plane at the time of its debut. The model has long been produced out of the same Boeing plant in Everett.
Newer plane models produced by Boeing and its competitor, Netherlands-based Airbus, are more fuel efficient than the 747 and utilize two engines instead of four.
“If you love this business, you’ve been dreading this moment,” aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia told The Associated Press. “Nobody wants a four-engine airliner anymore, but that doesn’t erase the tremendous contribution the aircraft made to the development of the industry or its remarkable legacy.”
Production of the 747 had slowed in recent years due to sagging demand. Boeing delivered just five of the planes last year, far less than its peak of 70 aircraft in 1990.
Smith said that Boeing employees who worked on production were either reassigned to other roles or voluntarily retired.
Nevertheless, Boeing 747-9 planes are expected to remain in service as cargo freighters for the next several years.
Colossal Biosciences unveiled Tuesday its “Jurassic Park”-like goal to bring back the dodo, adding to previous pledges to resurrect two other long-extinct species — the woolly mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger.
The firm’s newly formed Avian Genomics Group will lead the effort to reproduce the dodo, which Colossal said died out “as a direct result of human settlement and ecosystem competition in 1662.”
“The dodo is a prime example of a species that became extinct because we — people — made it impossible for them to survive in their native habitat,” said Beth Shapiro, Colossal Biosciences’ lead paleontologist and advisory board member.
Colossal’s founders say the company aims to reverse damage to the dodo’s environment and ecosystem — but its mission could have broader implications for gene editing and other fledgling technology of interest to investors.
“Having focused on genetic advancements in ancient DNA for my entire career and as the first to fully sequence the dodo’s genome, I am thrilled to collaborate with Colossal and the people of Mauritius on the de-extinction and eventual re-wilding of the dodo,” Shapiro added.
The firm’s goal, while unusual, has drawn a roster of notable investors that includes “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth, “Succession” actor Nicholas Braun, Paris Hilton, the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, and other entities.
The firm is valued at $1.5 billion after a recently closed $150 million Series B fundraising round. Participants in its most recent funding round included tech investor and “Jurassic World” producer Thomas Tull’s United States Innovative Technology Fund and Breyer Capital. Colossal has raised $225 million since its debut in September 2021.
Ultimately, Colossal aims to successfully reproduce the dodo and recreate a sustainable habitat for the bird in Mauritius, where it was once found.
Critics of the firm have expressed skepticism about the achievability of its goals, as well as the unknown variables associated with recreating a long-extinct species.
For investors, the “de-extinction” effort is only part of the appeal.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Tull touted the possibility of scientific discoveries as Colossal works through the process.
“Along the lines of being able to bring a species back, we’re going to learn things we can’t learn in a wet lab,” Tull told the outlet. “When you’re doing big things like this, who knows what you’re going to discover along the way.”
Colossal said the latest infusion of cash will help the firm to “continue to advance genetic engineering and pioneer new revolutionary software, wetware and hardware solutions, all of which have applications to de-extinction, conservation and human healthcare.”
The startup has more than 40 scientists and three labs working on its woolly mammoth project and claims it will be able to produce calves by 2028, the firm said. The team working on the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, consists of “30 dedicated scientists” who have “already achieved great progress,” according to a release.
“A society embracing endangered and extinct gene variants is one poised to address many practical obstacles and opportunities in carbon sequestration, nutrition, and new materials,” Colossal geneticist and co-founder George Church said in a statement. I am pleased with our company’s progress across multiple vertebrate species.”
Colossal Biosciences co-founder Ben Lamm told Bloomberg that his firm has a recruiting advantage over rival genetic engineering firms due to its eye-catching goals.
“You can work on yeast or you can work on bringing back an extinct species,” Lamm told the outlet.
More than half of Americans earning six-figure salaries admitted they were living paycheck to paycheck last year as high inflation slammed households, according to an alarming study released this week.
As of the end of December, 51% of Americans with $100,000 or more in annual income said they lived paycheck to paycheck, according to the survey conducted by LendingClub and Pymnts.com. The share rose 9% compared to one year earlier, when 42% of six-figure earners made the same admission.
Overall, a whopping 64% of US consumers — the equivalent of 166 million Americans — said they were living on razor-thin budgets each month. That was up from 61%, or about 9.3 million, compared to the previous year’s findings.
Of the 9.3 million Americans who joined the ranks of monthly struggle, 8 million earn more than $100,000.
“The effects of inflation are eating into every American’s wallet and as the Fed’s efforts to curb inflation drive up the cost of debt, we are seeing near-record numbers of Americans living paycheck to paycheck,” said Anuj Nayar, financial health officer at LendingClub.
“While the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck is close to the height we saw in the middle of the pandemic, the causes appear to be very different, as the economy is not sheltering in place like it was back in 2020,” Nayar added.
Inflation has cooled slightly in recent months, but it still remains a major source of pressure on US households. Overall, prices rose 6.5% in December, while the cost of groceries jumped nearly 12%, according to the Consumer Price Index.
The services index, which includes housing, transportation and medical care, rose 7% compared to last year.
The share of Americans who said they were having trouble covering their bills jumped to 24% in December, up 2% compared to the same month one year earlier, according to the survey.
Within the six-figure income bracket, 16% said they were struggling to pay their bills.
Despite some improvements in inflation, many Americans are still taking a pessimistic view of the economy. Just four out of 10 Americans who admitted living paycheck to paycheck expect their incomes to keep pace with inflation this year.
Additionally, 90% said their pay increases were effectively wiped out by higher prices last year.
“We can expect more and more Americans of all incomes identifying themselves as living paycheck to paycheck until we see the economy recover,” Nayar added. “Now more than ever, it is crucial for consumers to examine spending and build a cushion of savings to prepare for the unexpected.”
The survey based its findings on responses from nearly 4,000 US adults between Dec. 8 and Dec. 22.
Americans will be watching closely this week as the Federal Reserve makes its decision on another interest rate hike. Fed officials have signaled rate hikes will continue until inflation is addressed — despite concerns of a slowing economy.
A top venture capital firm had a chance to unload a major stake in FTX days before Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire collapsed — but botched the deal after trying to squeeze more money out of the buyer, The Post has learned.
San Francisco-based Greenoaks Capital found a suitor in the private markets less than two weeks ago who was willing to pay $28 a share for the fund’s FTX stake, which was valued at roughly $35 million at the time.
The deal had valued FTX at more than $20 billion, said a source with close knowledge of the situation. That might have clinched a tidy profit for Greenoaks, which was among several venture capitalists that invested in FTX when it raised $400 million at an $8 billion valuation in January, according to published reports.
But instead of taking the offer, Greenoaks, run by Neil Mehta — known for backing South Korea e-retail giant Coupang and stock-trading start-up Robinhood — decided to pressure the buyer into ponying up $34 per share, up from an earlier ask of $31 a share, the source said.
Had Greenoaks not been so greedy, it could have likely signed the paperwork to make the deal binding before FTX filed for bankruptcy, the source said. The buyer may have challenged the contract in court after Bankman-Fried’s downfall, but there would have probably been a settlement, the source speculated.
Greenoaks has $15 billion in assets under management. The 38-year-old Mehta has been prone to naming some of his funds for Batman characters, such as the fictional mob boss Carmine Falcone, according to the Financial Times.
Looking ahead, Mehta can name any future fund after a new villain — SBF.
Tweets have been disappearing from Sam Bankman-Fried’s Twitter account — and those of ex-business partners including NFL legend Tom Brady — as the disgraced ex-boss of the FTX crypto exchange scrambles to address fallout from the platform’s collapse.
The missing tweets include both old missives from Bankman-Fried himself as well as his retweets of posts from other prominent FTX-linked figures — including Brady and Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House adviser who heads SkyBridge Capital.
One of the most notable deleted tweets was a thread from Nov. 7, when Bankman-Fried asserted that a “competitor is trying to go after us with false rumors.”
“FTX is fine. Assets are fine,” Bankman-Fried wrote. In subsequent tweets which have also disappeared, Bankman-Fried had claimed FTX doesn’t “invest client assets” and “has enough to cover all client holdings.”
Within days, FTX, its sister cryptocurrency trading house Alameda Research and more than 100 affiliates had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Earlier this week, FTX noted in court filings that it could have more than 1 million creditors.
Reuters reported at least $1 billion in FTX client funds is still missing. The report said Bankman-Fried had “secretly” moved $10 billion in FTX assets to help prop up Alameda’s risky bets — a revelation that directly contradicted the ex-CEO’s deleted claim.
Brady, an FTX investor and brand ambassador alongside his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, deleted a slew of posts related to the platform, including a Fourth of July video for FTX in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback used a flamethrower to melt a block of ice with a cryptocurrency token inside.
“I’m around if anyone needs me for their 4th of July barbecue. Fire it up @FTX_Official,” Brady said in the now-deleted tweet.
Scaramucci appeared to have deleted the Sept. 9 tweet in which he revealed that FTX Ventures had acquired a 30% stake in his firm, SkyBridge Capital.
The hedge fund boss and former Trump administration official told CNBC that FTX’s collapse made it “the worst week in cryptocurrency history.”
The Tie, an information systems firm focused on digital assets, compiled an archive of tweets that appear to have disappeared from Bankman-Fried’s timeline since they were posted. The exact timing of those deletions is unclear.
“Due to the recent bankruptcy, and growing concern around his account activity, we’ve decided to release the list of 118 tracked tweets that have since been deleted after posting,” The Tie tweeted Monday, while noting the list was not exhaustive.
Scrutiny of Bankman-Fried’s Twitter account intensified after he posted a series of cryptic, one-word tweets spelling out the words “what happened,” followed by more unverified details with his view on FTX’s current situation.
The Post has reached out to representatives for Bankman-Fried, Brady and Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital for comment.
Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried has continued to insist that he and other FTX executives are doing all they can to make customers whole.
“My goal — my one goal — is to do right by customers. I’m contributing what I can to doing so. I’m meeting in-person with regulators and working with the teams to do what we can for customers. And after that, investors. But first, customers,” Bankman-Fried said Tuesday.