GM reportedly wants to spin off Cruise, its $11.5 billion self-driving car business


General Motors is eyeing a separate stock listing for its Cruise self-diving unit that received an eye-catching $11.5 billion valuation last month, Bloomberg reported Friday.

"The largest U.S. automaker is researching possibilities including a public offering of shares, listing a separate tracking stock to reflect its value, or spinning off the unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private," the news site reported, noting that a decision could be years away, depending on the speed of Cruise's development. 

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Consumer Reports' Top Picks for 2018: Best cars, trucks, and SUVs to buy
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Consumer Reports' Top Picks for 2018: Best cars, trucks, and SUVs to buy

1. Compact car: Toyota Corolla

Price as tested: $20,650

Why it's here: "This practical, fuel-efficient sedan has all the virtues that small-car shoppers seek, backed by its strong reliability track record," the publication said in a statement. Consumer Reports praised the Corolla for its roomy interior, secure handling, superior ride, and solid 32 mpg fuel economy.

2. Compact green car: Chevrolet Bolt

Price as tested: $38,424

Why it's here: "We put the Bolt through our battery of rigorous tests and drove it thousands of miles, both at our test track and on public roads," Consumer Reports' director of automotive testing, Jake Fisher said in a statement. "With the ability to go up to 250 miles on a charge, the Bolt is a good option for someone who might never have considered an EV before."

3. Luxury compact car: Audi A4

Price as tested: $48,890

Why it's here: "The A4 shines by being sporty, luxurious, and polished in a competitive category," Consumer Reports wrote. "It's very satisfying to drive, with nimble, secure handling helped by its minimal body roll and responsive steering."

4. Midsize car: Toyota Camry

Price as tested: $26,364 — $28,949

Why it's here: Consumer Reports praised the Camry for its overall competence, new styling, and improved handling. The publication was also particularly impressed by the four-cylinder Camry's 32 mpg fuel economy as well as the Camry Hybrid's 47 mpg.

5. Large car: Chevrolet Impala

Price as tested: $39,110

Why it's here: "The Impala continues to be a gem among large cars, providing a driving experience that's akin to a luxury car," Consumer Reports gushed. Its staff was also impressed by the Impala's spacious, quiet, and well-appointed cabin.

6. Compact SUV: Subaru Forester

Price as tested: $27,145

Why it's here: "This is a practical, smartly packaged small SUV that emphasizes fuel economy, room, visibility, and reliability over trendiness or flash," Consumer Reports wrote.

7. Luxury Compact SUV: BMW X3

Price as tested: $53,745

Why it's here: "This luxury compact SUV combines driving enjoyment, comfort, slick technology, and utility in an appealing package," the publication wrote. "It's sharp, sporty handling encourages drivers to seek curvy roads."

8. Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander

Price as tested: $41,169 — $50,875

Why it's here: The Highlander garnered praise for its good performance, fuel economy, and reliability. In addition, the three-row SUV's ability to handle eight occupants while remaining small enough to be easy to park also won the Highlander plaudits.

9. Minivan: Toyota Sienna

Price as tested: $38,424

Why it's here: "In this segment, the Sienna offers the best all-around package with a comfortable ride, an energetic powertrain, and respectable fuel economy," Consumer Reports wrote. "The spacious cabin features convenient folding seats and available seating for eight."

10. Full-sized pickup truck: Ford F-150

Price as tested: $52,535

Why it's here: "The F-150 tops the full-sized pickup truck category," the publication wrote. "The best-selling vehicle in America is an impressive workhorse that pulls ahead of the pack thanks to its weight-reduced design and fuel-efficient turbocharged six-cylinder engine."

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In late May, Cruise nabbed a $2.25 billion investment from Japan's SoftBank tech fund, which valued the unit at $11.5 billion. The investment will come in two stages of $900 million immediately and another $1.35 billion once Cruise’s autonomous vehicles are ready for commercial deployment, GM said. It will also invest $1.1 billion of its own money in Cruise when the deal closes.

Cruise was purchased by GM in March 2016 for $581 million, when it had just 50 employees. At the time, the San Francisco-based startup had received more than $18 million in venture-capital funding at a valuation of roughly $90 million

Last September, Cruise said its first self-driving car was ready for production, and that it had built 50 cars — accompanied by human drivers — for test rides near its Silicon Valley headquarters. The cars will be produced at GM’s plant in Orion, Michigan using parts from the Chevrolet Bolt.

Commercialization, according to GM President Dan Ammann and Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, will arrive in 2019.

Shares of GM spiked about 1.5% on the news. GM did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. 

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