Nothing yells “future!” like flying cars.
And Uber is looking to usher in this future. Who would have thought that it might be Uber, and not Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) or General Motors (NYSE: GM), developing flying cars?
In its quest, Uber has hired Mark Moore, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aircraft engineer who has a published paper on helicopter-like cars.
The 30-year NASA veteran will be the director of engineering for Uber’s aviation program, Uber Elevate.
Uber Elevate is the ride-hailing company’s program to bring airborne commuting to the market. Uber already has over 50 million riders that it can leverage. Meanwhile, Uber has published its own paper on developing flying vehicles.
Uber won’t be taking on airlines; it hopes to corner the short-haul market. Moore thinks there will be a number of flying cars on the road in the next three years. And Moore is making a big bet on it by moving to Uber — giving up his NASA retirement package and free health care for life.
It may not be Uber that eventually makes the biggest foray into the flying-car market. Other competitors could take the lead.
But the auto-parts industry will do well regardless of which company emerges on top in either the driverless car or flying car markets.
These auto-parts companies might be the best way to play both the flying car market and the driverless car market, as I discussed in a piece on flying cars just last year. Shares of one of those auto-parts companies, Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA) — one of the biggest seat makers in the world — are up more than 40% since then.
We’ve found two other auto companies that are well-positioned as the flying car industry emerges. Here are top two stocks that will benefit from the advent of flying cars:
Delphi (NASDAQ: DLPH)
Delphi is a major player in the vehicle component market, with a focus on electrical and electronic power train products. Even though we’ll be flying instead of driving, cars will still need wiring, connectors and electrical centers — perhaps more than ever.
So, flying cars will mean more electric cables, with more sensors and diagnostics. Safety will become an increasing priority as driverless cars become more common and flying cars emerge in the skies.
Delphi also has a stronghold in the safety component market, where it provides safety software and systems. This business, and Delphi’s cheap valuation — it trades at just 11 times next year’s earnings — also make Delphi a potential buyout target for larger auto companies looking to gain a position in growth markets.
BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA)
BorgWarner is an underrated play on the car components market, with a $9 billion market cap. It is a propulsion system company focused on engines and drive trains — a market that could be key for flying vehicles.
For now, combustion engine vehicles are still the largest category sold. And the trend to make engines cleaner and more efficient will also benefit BorgWarner. The company is targeting the hybrid and electric vehicle market, which is another market with large growth potential like flying cars. Shares are also relatively cheap, trading at just 11 times next year’s earnings. Lest we forget its decent balance sheet and 1.2% dividend.
In the end, Uber won’t take down the airlines. But it is a serious early contender in a nascent flying-car industry. That’s good news for auto-parts makers, which will see a number of growth opportunities. The two stocks above are a couple of great ways to capitalize on these opportunities.