"Our company has worked with a lot of different partners and we're a very capable team that has done the appropriate diligence," Barra said. "(The deal) validates our technology, it allows us to have more people using the technology, which gives us the advantage of scale, which will help us drive costs down."
Girsky's investment firm VectoIQ has injected Nikola with $700 million and oversaw its public listing. He has said he vetted Nikola thoroughly before presenting a deal to GM and "I did put my reputation on the line for this deal."
Girsky, who was at GM from 2009 to 2014, served in many roles there that give him the solid understanding of GM's global strategy, how it works with partners and how it develops technology, said Martin French, managing director of USA for Berylls Strategy Advisors.
"So he's now in a really good position to formulate what Nikola needs to do," French said.
Given Milton's resignation and the federal investigations into Nikola, Girsky's first job is to "stay in the game and be transparent with the investors and keep engaging with GM with the plan. He is the right guy to do what he needs to do and settle things down and move forward."
The deal with GM is a smart one for both sides and the noise around Nikola may just be a "bump in the road," French said.
"The full extent of what that bump is with Nikola is yet to be seen, whether it did defraud investors or not - but Steve is putting his reputation on the line that he did do the due diligence," French said. "And, GM's way of partnering, without investing a lot of money, but rather using its resources, is a very shrewd move."
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