As it becomes clearer that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is unlikely to ever turn Project Titan into an autonomous Apple-branded car of its own making, Motley Fool analyst Sean O'Reilly and senior auto specialist John Rosevear talk about a different auto company that's doing very well for itself: General Motors (NYSE: GM).
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A full transcript follows the video.
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This podcast was recorded on Oct. 20, 2016.
Sean O'Reilly: Before we head out, I always like to have a little bit of an investor takeaway. What's an auto stock that you like these days? Since it's obviously not Apple. (laughs)
John Rosevear: I am an Apple shareholder. I love Apple!
O'Reilly: Full disclosure.
Rosevear: This is my Mac, this is my iPad --
O'Reilly: Oh, here we go.
Rosevear: I actually got a gift for my 14th birthday many years ago, I got a share of Apple that's now over 100 shares because of all the splits that have happened in the 1980s and the 1990s.
O'Reilly: And you never sold?
Rosevear: I never sold, so I can still say, unless your last name is Wozniak, I've probably owned Apple stock longer than you have. Anyway, that said, I wouldn't buy Apple for a car stock right now. This market's slowing down. With that happening -- it's a cyclical market -- profits may be squeezed for a little while, but looking at a little longer term, I really like where General Motors is going. I like where [CEO] Mary Barra is going. I like that they are on top of this potentially disruptive technology. Their 200-mile electric car goes into production in a few weeks; it will be shipping before the end of the year. They're well ahead on the self-driving effort they're developing internally. They've bought Cruise Automation, which was a San Francisco start-up. They have this great thing where they let Cruise be Cruise, but they've given Cruise access to GM's resources and GM's deep opportunities. So that's progressing really quickly, and the Bolt will be the platform for their self-driving stuff. And meanwhile ...
O'Reilly: They're making money.
Rosevear: Yeah, they're making a lot of money right now. They're making money in China, they're doing well in Europe, and in the U.S., not only are they selling a lot of trucks and SUVs with $2 gas -- big profit margins -- but also, Barra has set rolling a number of initiatives to make sure that the margins stay fat as time goes on, as it perhaps becomes somewhat less profitable to sell trucks as you have to incorporate more technology to meet tightening regulations. For instance, one of the things that we talk about a lot is they're ramping up Cadillac. Luxury brands are very profitable. Cadillac was a joke for years, tufted velour seats built for elderly Americans -- no offense to elderly Americans. Those were nice cars, if that's what you wanted. But now, Cadillacs are moving upscale. They're much better built. And there's this long-term effort to elevate the brand, as well. It's already starting to show success. That's just one example.
There's other things going on where they're cutting costs, they're making better use of their global scale. On top of that, GM is cheap, which means the dividend that they're paying is a 4.5% yield, give or take. You reinvest that through the ups and downs in the next few years, and as we get price appreciation as Barra's plans really start to show up on the bottom line in 2020 or 2022, somewhere around there, and you might be really happy.