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Analysts Expect GM To Either Re-Negotiate The Terms Of The Deal, Or Walk Away

Nikola Badger GM-Nikola Deal Partnership

The GM-Nikola Deal was supposed to be finalized today. But the dotted line will be left blank. This move comes after volley after volley of different controversies have hindered the startup automaker. Just two days after the GM-Nikola deal was announced, Hindenberg Research published an exposé with the sole intent to paint Nikola Motors and its founder Trevor Milton as frauds. Its stock plummeted. GM was subsequently painted as being had. And it was just the beginning.

Two weeks after the deal was announced, founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton resigned from the company. He then deleted his social media accounts. Then another bombshell followed this week: a sexual allegation report regarding Milton published by CNBC. Hindenberg Research didn’t have anything like that. Also, Tesla is suing them over its Class 6/7 truck design. A truck that, allegedly, was unable to run on its own power during a demonstration event.

Nikola One Semi Truck

All the while, the SEC is looking into Hindenberg’s original claims of fraud in regards to Nikola Motors.

The highest officers within General Motors claim that the company did its due diligence when forming the partnership with Nikola. Steve Girsky, former GM Vice Chairman from 2010-2014 (now current Nikola Executive Chairman, in place of Trevor Milton), is said to have facilitated the GM-Nikola deal, has said he is putting his decorated reputation on the line, insisting his team at investment firm VectoIQ had vetted Nikola thoroughly before presenting a deal to GM. Other former GM executives make up the VectoIQ team, including former Global Connected Customer chief Mary Chan, and furloughed car sharing brand Maven chief Julia Steyn.

Nikola Motors Corporation Logo

But evidence is mounting to suggest otherwise. Now, according to The Detroit Free Press, the automaker seems to have blinked. GM will not finalize the Nikola deal on its “anticipated” closing date of today, September 30, 2020.

“Our transaction with Nikola has not closed. We are continuing our discussions with Nikola and will provide further updates when appropriate or required,” reads a prepared statement from GM. The automakers have until December 3 to finalize the existing deal, but analysts believe that the Detroit-based automaker will see this as an opportunity to alter the existing terms.

In the original deal, GM would develop, validate and build the electric/fuel-cell Nikola Badger pickup truck, due to market at the end of 2022, as well as supply its Ultium battery technology across Nikola’s products, including its Class 6/7 electric and hydrogen fuel cell semi trucks. In exchange, Nikola will give GM $2 billion in stock – an 11 percent stake in the company. General Motors has the right to nominate one board director at Nikola. Upon signing, GM would have been locked into Nikola’s stock until 2025. But the deal would have lasted for 10 years total.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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