Even sub-$200, Tesla has us in brainlock

Tesla brand traction TeslaMondoA new survey of “brand traction” by Added Value, a marketing firm, bolsters TeslaMondo’s assertion that Tesla has us in a brainlock. That’s at good thing. It will correct over-selling like we’re seeing now. Here are the rankings based on a 7500-person survey of “traction.”

Tesla, Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Etsy, Nike, Ford, Coca Cola.


Lexus might try mall outlets

Toyota has disregarded Tesla’s powertrain solution, but it’s not disregarding Tesla’s retail solution. This frank interview with Ward’s Auto about opening mall outlets should be read as a trial balloon floated by Toyota, akin to a concept car. It’s meant to gauge public (and dealer) reaction. Surely there’s more to come. Tesla is eating Lexus’ lunch in the premium sedan segment and now occupies the runner-up spot behind Mercedes.

The phase-in plan probably goes something like this:

Phase I: Casual mention in the press, to break the ice
Phase II: Quiet discussion with dealerships to ease shock
Phase III: Public announcement
Phase IV: Execution

Will these Lexus outlets be factory-direct or independent? In a stroke of journalistic ineptitude, the Ward’s article fails to clarify that crucial aspect, but rest assured that every automaker would go factory-direct if it could. Remember, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, of which Toyota is a member, has complained about being forced to use dealers while Tesla can skip the middleman.

Complaint 1
Complaint 2

Automakers badly want a direct pipeline to you, the customer. Ford and GM tried it in 1999, but the efforts flopped for various reasons.

Meanwhile, TeslaMondo long-ago predicted that Tesla would expand beyond mall outlets, and more recently, Tesla has indeed said it might expand to a hybrid system of factory-direct mall stores and independent dealerships. Perhaps that’s ultimately where auto retailing is headed, period.

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Penetrating China might not be fun

Earth-boring machine TeslaMondoSee the green attachment to that tunnel-digging machine? That’s probably what it feels like to be president of Tesla’s sales operation in China as the company bores through undisturbed Earth while the rest of the auto world relaxes. Tesla’s original green attachment, Kingston Chang, resigned in March. Here’s an announcement about his departure, by his right-hand woman Veronica Wu, who ended up replacing him at the head of the machine. Well, now Wu has resigned too. This can be viewed from two different angles: Either Musk is putting immense pressure on the machine, or Musk is putting immense pressure on the machine.

Surely the stock will sag below $200 before Christmas. We’ve got images dancing in our heads, and they’re not sugar plums. No matter. TeslaMondo has an itchy finger on the “buy” button. History will show the winter of 2014/2015 was the last chance buy TSLA for less than $200.


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Proof of demand, for peeps who demand it

Tesla Montreal TeslaMondo

Tesla’s big Montreal showroom. Click image for video.

Tesla felt compelled to open its biggest North American showroom this week in Montreal, because of rampant public interest there. A Chicago limo service called E-Motion saw its website crash soon after adding the Model S to its fleet, and had to seek private owners for auxiliary cars. Tesla’s October registrations in the US are up 152% over last October. The Model X is sold out for the first year of production before anyone knows what it will look like or what it will cost. Tesla’s Australia launch event caused ecstatic, hallucinogenic phenomena, such as a mysterious woman taking the stage nineteen seconds into this video. Can anyone identify her?

When you couple this stuff with the recent TSLA sell-off, you get a buying opportunity. Tesla will probably never sell near $200 again after this winter. Sure, it has a little more room to fall this winter, but a lot more room to rise in 2015, especially late in the year amid Model X Mania. Sentiment will again grow hooves as people realize the pump is well-primed the mighty Model 3.

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“How Should I Presume?”

Woman with three beasts TeslaMondoCup and underwire patternTesla is open for business in Australia. But there’s a spook story to go along with it. The electrical infrastructure supposedly isn’t robust enough to handle Tesla. “How should I presume?” That’s the question famously asked by J. Alfred Prufrock. Presumably, we should presume Tesla has done its homework before setting up shop, instead of simply presuming everything will go smoothly.

TSLA reversed the curse today, posting a gain. But there’s a spook story to go along with that too. Apparently the stock is forming another head-and-shoulders pattern. We heard the same thing a year ago. So how should we presume? TeslaMondo sees merely the formation of a third bra cup this winter. Look at TSLA’s two-year chart and you’ll get the picture.

The dual-motor Model S is being delivered to customers, but another spook there. Bloomberg reports the EPA says the range is 250 to 242 depending on wheel size. That counters Tesla’s claim that the AWD gets better range than the RWD system.

And gas prices are down, so people feel they’ve got more disposable income. Of course, they could save similar money just by bagging a lunch every other day, but that’s okay. When people feel richer, they buy richer things, like Teslas, right? No. The blush is off Tesla’s rose now that gas is way under $3/gal, according to Simpleton Musk in t shirt TeslaMondoinvestors who have fueled this sell-off and created the best buying opp in months. Fools! The Model S isn’t about ROI in gas savings. That’s Prius stuff. Everyone knows the real appeal of Tesla boils down to Musk’s washboard abs.

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Take Tesla, add Xiaomi, and stir

Xiaomi Tesla TeslaMondo

Model S at Xiaomi HQ

No traditional advertising. Just social media and word of mouth. Factory-direct selling with no middleman. A brilliant disruptor as CEO, still just in his early 40s. In fact, he’s Forbes’ Businessman of the Year for 2014. He’s compared with Steve Jobs quite a bit.

We’re not talking Tesla. We’re talking Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone phenom that ranks #3 behind only Samsung and Apple, and whose CEO is a big Tesla fan. And his VP is supposedly in Silicon Valley right now. Yes, another possible Tesla partnership; another dandruffy head-scratcher. If you can interlock these puzzle pieces, maybe there’s a complete picture somewhere here:

Fact: Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun hearts Tesla.
Fact: Xiaomi plans to enter the EV business and is already working with a major auto company. And the timing is good, because China is trying to sprout more local EV builders by massaging policy to allow non-car companies into this regulated business. However, this article ties Xiaomi to BYD, the poor-man’s Tesla produced by Chrysler.
Fact: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Tesla and Xiaomi are sprinkled together here. And we know Apple has talked to Tesla. What’s the relevance? A bridge between hand-held tech and cars.
Fact: Lei Jun just bought a stake in Misfit Wearables. The company is located in Daly City outside San Francisco. Not Silicon Valley, but close enough. If Lei Jun or his VP were spotted in the area, that alone could have sparked the recent Tesla speculation.

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File under “not necessarily the news”

Stuart Pankin TeslaMondoIt’s been quiet ’round here. That’s because the news has been quiet overall. Yes, BMW slapped Tesla for overstating a “partnership” that it never actually stated in the first place, and got all defensive about some implication that it would need to piggyback on Uncle Elon. Touchy, touchy, BMW. You did indeed talk to Tesla a while back about EV tech, true? Now it seems you’re sensitive about getting blown away at the starting gate by a California startup. So the real news is the world’s hypersensitivity to Tesla. Any utterance by Musk is a headline followed by repercussions, reverberations, aftershocks. It’s a bit much. Tesla PR chief Simon Sproule will attest. Wait — he’s gone already. Probably shellshocked.

And now Consumer Reports says the Model S is the vehicle most-loved by its owners. That’s nice, but not a surprise. The Model S won last year too. And the CR survey was dominated by the Prius and Volt for many years prior. The handing of the torch to the Model S was only natural. People who buy vanguard vehicles tend to proselytize via surveys. Will TSLA see a boost today because of the CR headlines? Maybe. Are we headed for a news hibernation and a stock slump this winter, as the faint-hearted lose sight of the story? Probably, as predicted here.

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Tesla factory in Jeopardy!

Tesla Jeopardy TeslaMondoThe crew from Jeopardy! visited the Tesla factory and came away amazed that anything is manufactured in such a spotless facility. Trebek and crew will sprinkle Tesla-related questions into tonight’s match, apparently. What time is the show on? Check airtime for your area here.

UPDATE: The answer to the $1,000 Tesla question was “electromagnetic induction,” and it stumped all three contestants.


Turns out that “D” stands for DEMAND

Model D Demand off the charts TeslaMondoA new GQ Interview with Musk largely restates what we already know, except for this paragraph. Read it and leap, not weep. Average transaction price and profit margin are going way up. So investor disappointment with the “D” unveiling was, as usual, totally off-base. It was indeed a big turning point for Tesla. Far from a niche product from a niche carmaker, the “D” is proving to be the go-to powertrain for the vast majority of Tesla products going forward. Surely we’ll see a Model 3D. Hey, more alphanumeric fodder! Speaking of the 3, here’s the best look yet at the Gigafactory scene over in Nevada. Sweeping panoramas. Colorful narration. You’ll even see the “Electric Ave” street sign.