Shifting Gears: Uber will turn a profit this year … kind of

uber ipo CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Happy Friday and welcome to Shifting Gears, Business Insider's roundup of everything that happened in transportation this week.

The coronavirus outbreak is still causing headaches not just for flyers - but also for cruise ships, cargo lines, and more. But it's not all bad news out there: Uber reported it will turn a profit (kind of) by the end of the year, Tesla's market value skyrocketed, and airline veteran David Neeleman launched a new US airline targeting oft-forgotten routes.

And in south Texas, SpaceX is accelerating its quest to build out its Mars spaceport, but some homeowners in the hamlet known as Boca Chica have something to say about it. Our own space correspondent Dave Mosher has the details.

As always, let us know what else we should be covering - email grapier@businessinsider.com. And if you were forwarded this email or found it on the web, subscribe here.

Let's dive in:

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Last Town Before Mars: A multipart series on SpaceX's quest to conquer Mars ... and a small hamlet in southern Texas

Last Town Before Mars: A multipart series on SpaceX's quest to conquer Mars ... and a small hamlet in southern Texas

Space correspondent Dave Mosher has details from deep inside Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX is continuing development of its Mars spaceport.

The situation there has changed dramatically in the last few years, culminating in the company's recent effort to buyout the remaining homeowners there. Many of those homeowners are retiree-age citizens who had no plans to leave.

Read the first installment of our "Last Town Before Mars" series here.

What on earth happened with Tesla

What on earth happened with Tesla

Tesla was, depending on which day you checked, worth $140 billion, or $159 billion, or $134 billion this week. The stock absolutely skyrocketed after earnings last week, before falling nearly as much. Not even well-paid Wall Street analysts know why.

"Many investors are struggling to identify a strong fundamental underpinning for the move," Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley wrote. He didn't know either, but noted "folks are asking a lot of questions."

Matt Levine, writing for Bloomberg, pointed to Elon Musk's most hated group: short sellers (but its way more complicated than that):

More on Tesla's wild week here.

Uber might turn a profit this year, depending on who you ask

Uber might turn a profit this year, depending on who you ask

Shares of Uber gained as much as 10% Thursday afternoon into Friday after the ride-hailing juggernaut said it will turn a profit the end of 2020 (as compared to 2021, previously).

But of course, that's on an adjusted metric excluding interest, taxes, depreciation or amortization. The fine print:

"Adjusted EBITDA excludes certain recurring, non-cash charges, such as depreciation of property and equipment and amortization of intangible assets, and although these are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized may have to be replaced in the future, and Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect all cash capital expenditure requirements for such replacements or for new capital expenditure requirements."

More on why a quickly rationalizing ride-hailing market is good for Uber and Lyft here.

You could call this a $93,000 parachute

You could call this a $93,000 parachute

The New Jersey-based Expedition Motor Company is converting vintage Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens into bespoke convertible vehicles.

These units are sourced from the German military, and they include a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 250GD Wolf that can be dropped from a helicopter. Our visual features reporter Brittany Chang has all the details on these rides.

Electric-cars ads dominated the Super Bowl, which is more than we can say for the US auto market

Electric-cars ads dominated the Super Bowl, which is more than we can say for the US auto market

The Business Insider transportation team's newest member, associate editor Alanis King, highlighted how US automakers aggressively marketed electric vehicles during this year's Super Bowl.

King aptly notes the reality of the car business at present: EVs barely make up 2% of automotive sales in the US.

UPS' CEO isn't afraid of a fight.

UPS' CEO isn't afraid of a fight.

Last week, my colleague Rachel Premack had an exclusive interview with UPS CEO David Abney in which he opened up about the firm's very public competition with FedEx.

"If you're chasing a target, and the target is stationary, that's one way. You're chasing a moving target — and we are definitely a moving target with the investments that we're making," he said of his counterparts recent public charge that FeEx could catch UPS.

Read the full interview here.

Moxy becomes Breeze

Moxy becomes Breeze

A new airline from JetBlue founder David Neeleman called Breeze launched this week after months of being known by the codename Moxy. There's no word on what routes it might fly — or where the operations will be based — but the goal is to connect secondary cities where other major airlines don't always serve.

David Slotnick has more here.

Global Exit?

Global Exit?

New Yorkers might have to wait in line like the rest of the world soon after the Trump administration said it won't let state residents apply or re-apply for the Global Entry program.

The charge comes as New York pols feud with the White House over so-called sanctuary status and denying Homeland Security access to certain state records.

David has everything you need to know about the spat.

A cross-country day trip

A cross-country day trip

Our newest transportation colleague Tom Pallini flew round trip to Los Angeles. Normal. Except he did it in a single day.

Meet the $100 hamburger, a rite-of-passage among pilots and aviation enthusiasts, and something he says he'd do again.

GM and Ford had very different weeks.

GM and Ford had very different weeks.

It was a week rife with automaker earnings, but not all fared equally. GM's was mostly impressive, considering it absorbed a 50-day strike, while Ford barely beat analysts revenue expectations.

In speaking to the chief financial officers of both companies, Matt DeBord got the duo of executives to open up about the biggest open secret in the industry: there's an auto market, and then there's a Tesla market.

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