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MIT Technology Review

Companies to Watch: Public

October 20, 2009

Company: Ford
ford.com
Global auto sales, 2008: 5.5 million
Market cap: $23.6 billion

The only carmaker of the Big Three to avoid bankruptcy, Ford still lost nearly $15 billion last year. Promising to bring plug-in hybrids to showrooms in 2012, the company has also turned to Magna International to help it build an electric version of its popular Focus.


Company: General Motors
gm.com
Global auto sales, 2008: 8.4 million
Market cap: N/A

Recently emerged from a bankruptcy reorganization, GM hopes its much-anticipated electric Volt, scheduled to reach customers in 2011, will help rehabilitate its image.


Company: A123 Systems
A123systems.com
Market cap: $1.86 billion

Although it lost out to South Korean battery maker LG Chem in its bid to charge up the Chevy Volt, A123 recently struck a deal with Chrysler to provide the batteries for its ENVI line of electric vehicles, the first of which is expected to hit the market next year. A $250 million stimulus grant and a $378 million IPO signaled support from both the federal government and Wall Street.


Company: Toyota
toyota.com
Global auto sales, 2008: 9.0 million
Market cap: $128.9 billion

The largest automaker in the world recently unveiled the third generation of its Prius hybrid. The company also announced that it plans to bring an all-electric vehicle to market by 2013.


Company: BYD Auto
byd.com
Global auto sales, 2008: 170,000
Market cap: $19.9 billion

Last year, Warren Buffett bought a stake in this Chinese carmaker, which sprung from a manufacturer of cell-phone batteries. The BYD F3DM, introduced in 2008, was the first mass-produced plug-in hybrid to hit the market.


Company: LG Chem
lgchem.com
Market cap: $13.7 billion

With subsidiary Compact Power, this South Korean battery maker won the contract to provide power for the forthcoming Chevy Volt. The company plans to invest more than $800 million in a plant to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles.


Company: Johnson Controls
johnsoncontrols.com
Market cap: $15.1 billion

Grabbing $300 million of the $2 billion in grants that the stimulus bill set aside for manufacturing advanced batteries, Johnson Controls is building a new facility in Holland, MI, to make lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and all-electric vehicles.


Company: Siemens
siemens.com
Market cap: $80.9 billion

The German engineering giant designs and builds mass-transit systems around the world. The new Sapsan high-speed train that it developed for Russia will be a competitor for planned U.S. high-speed links.


Company: Daimler
daimler.com
Global auto sales, 2008: 2.1 million
Market cap: $50.7 billion

Having ended its ill-fated marriage with Chrysler two years ago, Daimler can now focus on its Mercedes-Benz and Smart car lines. The company says it expects to commercialize a hydrogen-powered car by 2015.


Company: General Electric
ge.com
Market cap: $176.2 billion

GE’s transportation division provides $10 billion in revenues and nearly $1 billion in profits. The company has just unveiled what it claims is the most fuel-efficient rail locomotive, and it recently announced it would build a facility to manufacture batteries for hybrid locomotives.