Shares of Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS) are rising today, up 12.3% as of 10:30 a.m. EDT, after the maker of electric delivery vans announced a strategic deal with Japanese electronics giant Hitachi (OTC:HTHIF) aimed at helping Workhorse execute its growth plan.
In a statement before the markets opened on Monday, Workhorse said that it has entered into "strategic agreements" with Hitachi's U.S. subsidiary, Hitachi America, and its financing arm, Hitachi Capital America Corporation.
Under the deals, Hitachi America will assess Workhorse's manufacturing, supply chain, and other operational capabilities and provide recommendations to get them to best-in-class levels as Workhorse ramps up production of its new C-Series package-delivery vans.
In addition, Hitachi Capital will help Workhorse build out a U.S. dealership network and will provide financing to both its customers and its new franchised dealers.
Long story short: Workhorse is getting some help from a big player as it works to ramp up production and sales of its C-Series vans. That certainly seems bullish, and that's why auto investors were bidding up Workhorse's stock price on Monday morning.
Both Workhorse and Hitachi said that the deal will allow Workhorse to benefit from Hitachi's expertise in electric vehicles and highly automated manufacturing, and to take advantage of the Japanese company's existing financing capabilities. Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said that Hitachi Capital's involvement could help convince fleet operators to place orders.
Hicham Abdessamad, Hitachi's U.S. chief, also noted that his company will help provide a charging network and digital tools to help Workhorse's commercial customers manage their fleets.