Automakers have spent more than a century refining gasoline and diesel engines -- and creating a network of factories and research centers to develop and build them. Now they face a worrisome prospect: The quickening transition to electric cars is sharply devaluing those assets, threatening not only short-term profits but also their long-term survival.
It's a question that is weighing on every automaker, analysts said. In recent months, some have taken action by creating separate business units for EVs and combustion cars, shifting internal combustion engine activities to separate companies, and even separately listing electric car brands.
In doing so, they are hoping to ensure their futures and unlock some of the capital -- and attention -- that has flooded in to Tesla and other EV startups, as their own share prices have stagnated.