A cabal of politicians and car dealers writhes in a steamy love pretzel in Michigan, each partner enthralled with each other’s sliminess. And GM is holding the camera, sporting wood all the while. Meanwhile, Daimler has sold its remaining shares of TSLA while downplaying the significance. Will Toyota follow? Hope so. If we witness a dip to $200/share this winter, it’s time to load up on more TSLA and ride the falcon wings in 2015. This is so easy, it seems almost illegal. Hey, wait — never mind almost. Tesla IS illegal! Seems that Musk and gang are like the Dukes of Hazzard, just making their way the only way they know how. But that’s just a little bit more than the law will allow. Maybe it’s time for a General Lee version of the Model S.
Better minds have prevailed elsewhere. A summary of pro-Tesla statements:
Detroit is the ceremonial seat of American auto ingenuity, yes? Tesla is the latest example of that ingenuity, albeit based in another state, yes? Tesla wears the same red, white and blue team uniform, yes? Tesla even inspired GM to build the Volt, yes? All of this is lost on the Michigan auto dealer lobby, which obviously fears that Tesla’s factory-direct sales model could become a contagion and render the middleman obsolete. Dealers have found a friend in Senator Joe Hune, a wayward 34-year-old boy, who obligingly finagled some key wording into an unrelated bill that now sits on the governor’s desk. If the Gov passes it, Tesla is forbidden from selling or even showing its American auto ingenuity to Michigan residents.
TeslaMondo has already suggested an alternate approach for dealer groups: improve your game and ultimately make Tesla want to use dealers. Recent comments by Musk suggest it may eventually happen anyway.
UPDATE: Michigan governor signs the bill on 10/21, after GM voices support for the Tesla ban. And there was much rejoicing.
The rear-drive Model S beat out EV challengers from BMW, Nissan, Renault and MItsubishi in acceleration and road-holding, in a wintry-conditions road test by Germany’s Auto Bild magazine. When it comes to grip, the Model S has proven once again to be the Winter Warlock. Imagine when these publications get their hands on the dual-motor version.
In an interview with USA Today, Elon said some unnamed automakers have not only inquired about Tesla’s patents, but are going to use them. Time to look again at the TeslaMondo pie charts, which show the EV segment needs to grow if it expects to shoulder the burden of skepticism and justify expansion of EV infrastructure. Will patent-sharing dilute Tesla’s cachet? Nah. If Tesla just maintains its lead and continues to innovate, it’s going to vanguard a major subset of automobiles, akin to Toyota’s dominance in hybrids. So bring on the “me too” electric cars from GM et al. We all know the Beatles from the Monkees anyway.
Normal, sport and insane. Those are the three drive settings for the new P85D, the dual-motor super-Tesla unveiled last week. This means Tesla has broken yet another auto-industry rule that says every automaker has to take itself super-seriously and can’t inject a little humor into the product. Can you name any other instance of a car company joking with its drivers, even a little bit? Tesla’s “insane” setting is an underappreciated new approach in car building, and will likely inspire similar cheekiness among rivals.
Car companies do have a sense of humor, albeit nothing that affects the user interface of the car. Instead, the humor tends to take the form of press releases or strategic videos — that kind of thing. Some examples:
1. Fiat pranked VW on Google Maps by parking a Fiat outside VW offices when the camera car went by.
2. Ferrari thanks fans with amusing cartoon.
3. Toyota issues April Fools announcement that it will reintroduce the Tercel.
4. Mini says its new Cooper T will run on tea-leaf biofuel composite.
5. Acura says it’s the number one luxury brand — when listed alphabetically.
6. BMW issues the ultimate sleeping machine.
7. Nissan introduces the Limo Z.
8. An online bully tried to say Smart cars are delicate. How delicate? Even a bird plop would total the car. Well, Smart did some homework on that subject before responding.
MANIC: Carrier-deck acceleration of the dual-motor Model S. Bodes very well for the imminent Model X. Delivers on the promise of being “efficiency neutral,” and then some. Opens up more potential market, especially northern latitudes. Will drive trade-in business, followed by re-selling through Tesla’s fledgling certified used program. So Tesla will have a second chance to sell the same cars. Also manic is the company’s drive to push auto technology to the limit of legality, with the new autopilot system. Here’s a MUST-SEE video of Tesla autopilot in action. If only Chevy Chase had this in National Lampoon’s Vacation.
DEPRESSION: Early trader reaction. Disappointment that “D” was the only letter that surfaced last night, and that the “something else” was mere autopilot. And disappointment that a self-taught car didn’t tap-dance its way across the stage with a hat and cane whilst singing in tongues. Though we DID see a car lifted and manipulated by a robotic arm. Not good enough. Early reaction today points to a big drop, after a big run-up in the week preceding the “D” event last night. And more disappointment from recent Model S buyers who are wishin’ they stood in bed. The myriad upgrades to the car over the past two years apparently aren’t meaty enough. This “D” is the cutting-edgiest of edgy cars on the road. Barely legal, even. Makes a plain ol’ S seem like a mid-80s Chevy Malibu or something. TeslaMondo predicts many customer inquiries to Tesla about how to order a red “D” to glue onto the back of the car.
What’s a TSLA long to do? Some simple deep-breathing exercises while waiting for the bipolar meds to take effect. In short, nothing. The Model X is coming. Then we’ll see some ups without downs.
Tesla’s “new” spokesman Simon Sproule allegedly is going to Aston Martin.* Frankly, Elon does fine by himself using Twitter. The bigger news is that Tesla is building a certified used program, which will take full advantage of stellar resale value and, after some initial capex, bring home a lot more bacon. Used cars tend to enjoy a fatter profit margin than new. And this comes just in time, because the Model S is turning three years old, and undoubtedly the new Tesla products we’re likely to see Oct. 9 will trigger much interest in trading up, or whatever Tesla will call it.
This year is expected to be a record-setter for certified sales. Studies show about half of new car shoppers will consider a certified-used vehicle, and that figure gets better when they’re fully educated on what certified means. The leader in certified sales is Toyota, which started its program in 1996 and currently leads its nearest rival in certified sales by eight percent. Fittingly, Tesla is tapping the skills of former Toyota lending chief Reddy Pakanati for its certified program. All Tesla needs now is a slogan. Unfortunately, “The best new cars make the best used cars” is already taken — by Toyota.
* Earlier version of this post said he used to work at Aston Martin. Not true.
Panasonic has created a new company called Panasonic Energy Corp. of North America, to be based at the Gigafactory and focused entirely on Tesla battery production. The announcement came late Friday but received little airplay, likely due to “D” dementia this weekend. Here’s Panasonic’s own blurb about it. TeslaMondo readers will recall Tesla’s battery business is one of Panasonic’s most profitable ventures.