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EV Checkpoint: Cramer Says Ford Hired Apple Exec 'To Defeat Musk'

See the latest news for the top stocks in the electric vehicle space including Tesla, General Motors, Nio, Lordstown Motors, and more.

Ford Motor  (F)  has hired former Apple  (AAPL)  executive Doug Field, who was the head of the computer giant's car project, as its chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. 

“Doug is one of the world’s most respected engineering and product design leaders and has been a driving force behind breakthrough products across auto, tech and mobility, including at Apple, Tesla and Segway,” Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said.

Field's appointment is effective Tuesday, the company said in a statement, and he will report to Farley. Field returned to Ford after beginning his career as a development engineer from 1987 to 1993. He had come to Apple from Tesla and was a key player on the Project Titan team, serving as a VP on the special projects team. 

"Field may have been frustrated at Apple, but this is a reaction to defeating Musk," said Jim Cramer. 

"Jim Farley is the first guy to openly declare war against [Elon] Musk saying that he's going to 'bury him.' Farley has one particular attribute that people forget...the best-selling truck in America is Ford's F-150 and that's going to be electrified. The whole fleet is going to be electric if they can get the battery capacity to install in them. Field is going to help imagine new trucks."

Cramer added that he believes the pushback Musk had on the Tesla pickup through mid-2022 is the beginning of a tough saga. "The F-150 is the bedrock of Ford and they will do anything, including electrifying it, to make sure they have the crown," he said. 

Tesla pushed back the delivery dates for its cybertruck while Ford is doubling the production of the F-150. "That could be a potential market share opportunity for Ford," said Cramer. 

"Chip shortages could move into the second quarter of 2022, which is keeping Ford from having a million more [in production]. I'm a huge believer in Ford and I think the people who are watching should subscribe to Action Alerts Plus because if they did, they would know that it's a very huge position of ours," he added. 

Many other major automakers are still concerned about the global semiconductor shortage that has curbed their production. Volkswagen  (VWAGY)  Chief Executive Herbert Diess, Daimler  (DMLRY)  Chief Executive Ola Kallenius and Gunnar Hermann, chairman of the management board for Ford Europe told CNBC that it’s difficult to predict when the problem will end.

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, has ceded market share in China thanks to the shortage, Diess said. “We are relatively weak because of semiconductor shortages,” he said. “We are hit more in China than the rest of the world. That’s why we are losing market share.”

Intel  (INTC)  Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said Tuesday that the semiconductor stalwart planned to build new chip-making factories in Europe, investing up to $95 billion. The executive discussed the investment at an auto industry conference in Munich, according to The Wall Street Journal. The plan is part of a longer-term effort to combat the global chip shortage.

Intel intends to build two new chip facilities in Europe and could expand from that, bringing the total spend to as much as 80 billion euros, or $95 billion, Gelsinger said, according to The Journal.

Here is a list of the electric vehicle stocks to watch:

Tesla's August Sales in China Up Nearly 50%

Tesla  (TSLA)  shares moved higher after the clean-energy carmaker netted its strongest China sales in more than a year. The China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) said Tesla sold 44,264 China-made cars in August, with 31,379 of those destined for export to international markets. China-based sales, CPCA said, totaled 12,885, up 49.5% from the previous month, even as overall sales in the world's biggest car market fell 15% from the same period last year.

The sales bump follows a Bloomberg report from last week that suggested Tesla's gigafactory in Shanghai faced four days of closures in August linked to the global semiconductor shortage that largely affected the carmaker's Model Y SUV. 

"I think Tesla had great numbers," said Jim Cramer. 

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Tesla as a Hold with a rating score of C.

Ford Restructuring Operations in India 

Ford is restructuring its operations in India to curb losses, ending its car production there and cutting 4,000 workers. The company plans to “significantly expand its Chennai-based Ford Business Solutions team and bring to market" some of its global vehicles and electrified SUVs, it said.

Ford will end vehicle assembly in Sanand by the fourth quarter and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai by the second quarter of 2022. The carmaker has sustained operating losses of more than $2 billion over the past 10 years and an $800 million non-operating write-down of assets in 2019, it said. “The restructuring is expected to create a sustainably profitable business in India.”

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Ford as a Hold with a rating score of B-.

GM Extends Plant Shutdown on Chip Shortage

General Motors  (GM)  shares slumped lower after the carmaker extended the shutdown times of several north American plants amid the ongoing shortage in global semiconductor supplies and the recall of its Chevy Bolt battery. The carmaker said plants in Orion, Michigan would add an additional two weeks of downtime to Sept. 27 owing to a 'batter pack shortage" linked to the recall. Plants in Lansing, Michigan, and Wentzville, Ohio will also add another week of downtime, as will the carmaker's assembly facility in Ramos, Mexico.

The extension comes after the recall of nearly 141,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles, which are produced at the plant. The recall resulted from a battery defect that exposes the cars to fire risk. The recall came after 10 battery fires. Detroit-based GM said it wouldn’t restart Bolt manufacturing or sales until it was sure it had solved the fire-risk issue. GM is working with its battery maker LG Chem on the problem.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates GM as a Buy with a rating score of B.

Nio Offering $2 Billion in Shares 

Nio  (NIO)  said Tuesday that it will offer $2 billion of its American depositary shares through an at-the-market equity offering. Unlike an IPO, in which all shares are sold at a single price, an at-the-market offering allows a company to sell shares as needed at the then-prevailing market price. The Shanghai-based electric vehicle maker said proceeds from the sale will be used to fortify its balance sheet and for general corporate purposes.

Earlier this month, NIO shares were hit after the company cut its deliveries estimate, blaming ongoing semiconductor chip shortages that have plagued much of the auto industry this year. NIO delivered 5,880 vehicles in August, representing 48% year-over-year growth.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates NIO as a Sell with a rating score of D.

Lordstown Motors Names New CEO

Shares of Lordstown Motors  (RIDE)  soared the most in 10 months this past week after the electric-car maker named former Icahn Enterprises boss Daniel Ninivaggi as its new CEO. Ninivaggi succeeds Steve Burns, who along with Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez resigned in early July.

The electric vehicle maker demonstrated its Endurance pickup truck at the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives’ Annual Conference. Lordstown drew cautious commentary from analysts after the company said it was ready to start "limited production" of its electric pickup truck in September. The company, which also announced a second-quarter loss, said it will begin limited production of its Endurance pickup truck in late September.

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Lordstown Motors.