Panasonic plans to get rid of its dependence on Tesla and cooperate with other automakers to be more compatible with batteries

by:CTECHi     2021-09-04
In the morning news on March 15, Beijing time, it was reported that the outgoing Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said that the company plans to produce batteries that are more compatible with electric vehicles produced by other global automakers in order to reduce Heavy dependence on Tesla. Before Tsuga Kazuhiro made the above remarks, Tesla is beginning to develop its own batteries and expand its procurement partners to South Korea’s LG Chem (LGChem) and Chinese battery giant CATL (CATL) to support Tesla Increasing sales of electric vehicles. After serving as chief executive officer for 9 years, Tsuga Kazuhiro will step down as chairman of the company on April 1. 'At some point, we need to get rid of the business model that only relies on Tesla's one leg,' he said in an interview with the Financial Times. 'We are entering a different phase. We need to pay close attention to manufacturers other than Tesla.' Panasonic made its first investment in Tesla in 2010, but it was under the leadership of Tsuga Ichihiro that Panasonic decided Shift the focus to the automotive business. Prior to this, he shut down his plasma display and other loss-making consumer product production lines, and instead invested in Tesla's $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada. Since the two companies signed an agreement in 2014, Panasonic has invested more than US$2 billion to establish a battery manufacturing joint venture. These efforts have finally paid off, and Panasonic expects that at the end of the fiscal year in March this year, the company will achieve annual profitability from Tesla's battery business for the first time. In some respects, Panasonic is no longer the sole supplier of Tesla. This fact proves that Musk has expanded its business from the company that was short of funds and at a loss to a global valued at $665 billion. The most valuable car manufacturer exceeds Panasonic's own market value by 22 times. Musk revealed that the cost of Tesla batteries will be halved in the next few years, and Panasonic is currently developing a new battery with a larger specification. But Tsuga Kazuhiro said that Panasonic also needs to produce batteries that are not just for Tesla vehicles. Panasonic currently has a battery partnership with Toyota, and has previously supplied batteries to European automakers such as Volkswagen. But the cylindrical lithium-ion battery that the company makes for Tesla requires sophisticated temperature management skills to prevent the battery from catching fire and extend the battery's life. 'We need to produce batteries that are easy to use by other automakers.' Tsuga said, 'At present, this type of battery is difficult to sell unless there is a company that can handle cylindrical batteries that meet Tesla's specifications.' For Yihong, the cooperation with Musk and the hiring of senior managers from Microsoft and Google are also part of his efforts to change the inward-looking corporate culture of this Japanese conglomerate. In the two years ending in March 2013, Panasonic had a cumulative loss of nearly US$15 billion. Since then, Tsuga Kazuhiro spent most of his 9 years as CEO to make up for these losses and shift the company to a business with higher profit margins. According to two people familiar with the matter, the company's balance sheet has been restored and is currently negotiating to acquire BlueYonder, a US supply chain software supplier, for billions of dollars. Tsuga Kazuhiro said: “But when I tried to shift to high-growth areas such as automobiles, I realized that other different businesses could not formulate growth strategies, and losses continued to appear.” In order to break this vicious circle, he announced the transformation of the group. For the plan of the holding company structure, Yuki Kusumi, the current head of automotive business, will serve as the new CEO. He said the move will help make quick decisions while instilling discipline to ensure that each department achieves financial goals. He hinted that those companies that failed might be sold. 'Because Panasonic is such a large company, people feel that they can survive by moving to another department, even if their current department has no future. We must ensure that there is no such escape route.'
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