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$200,000 Lamborghini SUV: A Financial Mistake?

 2 min read / 

The Story

Lamborghini

Source: Lamborghini

Lamborghini has just unveiled the Lamborghini Urus, an SUV equipped with a 4.0l V8 twin-turbo engine. The vehicle gets from 0 to 100 kph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 305 kph. This is the company’s only SUV since the Lamborghini LM002, which was in production between 1986 and 1993 and the company re-enters the SUV market. The Urus will be available from Spring 2018.

Why It’s Important

The Volkswagen Group also owns Audi, Bentley and Porsche, all of which have released high-end SUVs. This begs the question, why release another? The motivation behind producing the Bentley Bentayga, a $230,000 luxury SUV which went on sale in 2016, came from finding that the most Bentley owners also owned an SUV. By appealing to this segment of the market, the model was thought to be very lucrative.

Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali said that he expected the SUV to gain popularity in Asia. Sufficient appetite for SUVs in China, where the luxury automobile market grew by 54% last year, could make Lamborghini’s model a success. However, if triumphant, the Urus could cannibalise many of the sales from other Volkswagen Group manufacturers. Whether this financial decision makes sense relies on capturing market from the likes of the Range Rover, BMW X1 and Toyota Land Cruiser.

The Volkswagen Group’s stock is down today.

Lamborghini

Source: Google Finance

The second-generation Urus will be a hybrid model, and arrive in either 2020 or 2021, says Domenicali.

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Asia

Google to Open Artificial Intelligence Centre in China

 2 min read / 

Google AI China

Google will be opening its first artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in China, despite many of its services being blocked there.

Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist of Google Cloud, said:

“I believe AI and its benefits have no borders. Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone’s life better for the entire world. As an AI first company, this is an important part of our collective mission. And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it.”

The research centre will focus on basic AI research, and will consist of a team in Beijing, who will be supported by Google China’s engineering teams.

Google’s search engine and its Gmail are banned in China. However, the country has 730 million internet users, making the market too large to ignore.

Google is not the only tech giant facing restrictions in China. Facebook is also banned, while Apple’ App Store has been subject to censorship. In order to comply with government requests, Apple removed many popular messaging and virtual private network (VPN) apps from its App Store in China earlier on this year.

China has recently announced plans to develop artificial intelligence, and wants to catch up with the US. However, human rights groups are concerned by China’s use of artificial intelligence to monitor its own citizens.

Keep reading |  2 min read

Companies

A Deal Looks Likely for Disney’s Fox Takeover

 2 min read / 

Disney's Fox Takeover

The Story

Disney is on the cusp of confirming a deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox in a $60bn deal, reports claim. The sale would see Disney acquire 20th Century Fox film studios as well as Sky and Star satellite broadcasts in the UK, Asia and Europe, according to the BBC.

21st Century Fox would retain broadcasting network Fox News and Fox Sports 1. While both would remain independent initially, they “could consider a merger later with the Murdochs’ publishing company, News Corp.,” reported Bloomberg’s David Hellier and Anousha Sakoui.

Fox CEO James Murdoch could potentially be offered a senior position at Disney once the deal is done.

Why It’s Important

Fox has reassessed its place in the current media landscape and decided that to in order to be successful it would need to scale up. Disney has the scale that Fox lacks. By consolidating their efforts around news and sports, Fox will be able to play an important role in the media industry.

On the other hand, Disney’s acquisition will extend the company’s reach. Plans to roll out a new Disney streaming service could benefit from the increased international exposure, where there appears to be the most growth.

Disney would also acquire Fox’s streaming service Hulu, opening new opportunities for Disney to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Keep reading |  2 min read

Companies

ExxonMobil under Shareholder Pressure

ExxonMobil Shareholder

The world’s largest oil group has agreed to publish the impact of climate policies on its bottom line.

In recent years, shareholders of the world’s largest oil and gas conglomerates have been pushing companies to publish analysis of the threat they face from climate change and the threat of green policies. In a regulatory filing, Exxon announced that it would change how it reports its results to include a paper on how climate policies are hurting its business. The proposal was backed by around 60% of Exxon’s shareholders back in May, which was led by the New York state employees’ retirement fund. The move follows Exxon’s gradual shift towards addressing climate change; in the 90s, the group campaigned against the Kyoto protocol but has since committed to reducing emissions.

Keep reading |  1 min read

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