What happened

Shares of several U.S. auto companies opened lower on Monday, amid a broad sell-off of U.S. stocks triggered by rising rates of infection with a new COVID-19 variant.

All three of these stocks opened considerably lower on Monday but recovered somewhat as the morning went on. Here's where they were as of noon EDT, relative to their closing prices on Friday.

So what

Stocks around the world were selling off early on Monday amid a new round of concerns about COVID-19. Coronavirus cases caused by the fast-moving delta variant of the virus have been rising in many U.S. states and in other areas around the world where vaccination rates are still low. 

It's not hard to figure out why investors and traders are concerned: The original COVID-19 virus caused economic havoc around the world as factories idled and supply lines were disrupted; while many people have since been vaccinated against the virus, the new variants still have the potential to do significant damage. 

A Ford F-150 Lightning Pro, an electric pickup designed for commercial fleets, shown on a construction site.

Ford and GM are still scrambling to make enough pickups to meet demand amid a global shortage of computer chips. A new round of COVID-related factory closures would only make matters worse. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

There didn't appear to be any significant company-specific news moving any of these names on Monday, but here are the most recent key developments on each:

  • If all goes well, Churchill Capital IV won't exist for much longer. The SPAC is set to hold a shareholder vote on its planned merger with electric luxury-vehicle start-up Lucid Motors on Thursday, July 22. Assuming it's approved (very likely), the merged company will begin trading as Lucid Motors under the ticker LCID soon thereafter. Lucid's CEO, Peter Rawlinson, will continue as CEO of the combined company.
  • Ford said on Friday that it is recalling over 800,000 vehicles for suspension issues, including about 35,000 2020 and 2021 Super Duty pickups and roughly 775,000 Ford Explorers made between 2013 and 2017. Ford didn't disclose the expected cost of the recalls. (That's generally a signal that the recalls won't have a major impact on earnings.) 
  • GM last week announced a new electric-vehicle charging service for its commercial and government fleet customers. Called Ultium Charge 360, the service's goal is to make it easier for GM's fleet customers to transition to fully electric vehicles. GM's partners in the service include up-and-coming charging network EVgo (NASDAQ:EVGO), which went public itself earlier this month.

Now what

Next up for auto investors interested in these companies is of course the Lucid Motors merger, and we should know by close of business on Thursday whether it has been approved by Churchill Capital IV's shareholders.  

As for the Detroit auto giants, both are scheduled to report second-quarter earnings soon: Ford after the U.S. markets close on July 28, and GM at an as-yet-unannounced date likely to fall in late July or the first week of August.

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