Musk stars in BMW spook video

 

Musk at window TeslaMondo

What BMW brass sees every night

BMW fears it’s falling behind in EV and autonomous tech, so it’s showing employees a scary movie about obsolescence, with Musk as the monster. “We’re in the midst of an electric assault,” says the narrator while Musk is onscreen — according to this account. TeslaMondo was not invited to the screening.

Let’s back up just a few years. In 2014, BMW publicly accused Musk of trying to associate himself with BMW by “talking up” partnership rumors, as if he was trying to piggyback on BMW’s image. Three years later, Musk is the face of terror at BMW offices.

BMW’s i-team, you may recall, went AWOL and joined a Chinese startup. Musk laughing at the i3 might have impacted their morale a bit. What a horror show.

Salem's Lot final

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Tesla shall inherit the mall

Criswell predicts TeslaMondoThe good ol’ shopping mall is dying, sapped dry by Amazon et al, as countless headlines attest. But if you’ve been to a Tesla store lately, you’ve seen the foot traffic. Auto sales in general, and especially Tesla, may prove to be the cockroach that survives retail armageddon. Cars don’t fit into UPS trucks very well, and they’re hard to return for a refund, even if they make your butt look big.*

As Tesla’s model line expands and its overall company scope widens to include a host of clean energy solutions beyond cars, this may require at least some expansion of retail footprint.

Put these two trends together — withering malls but flourishing Tesla — and you’ve got a scenario where malls are no longer anchored by the likes of Saks or Nordstrom — but by Tesla. In fact, if Tesla moves to inventory selling instead of strictly build-to-order, the company might occupy much of the mall parking lot. Remember how Tesla scooped up the Toyota/GM plant at clearance-shelf pricing after GM’s bankruptcy? The same thing could play out at your local mall.

This will put a lot of pressure on states that ban Tesla sales. Do you want abandoned malls? Lost tax revenue? Lost jobs? Empty mall lots?

Criswell is given to rash thinking, so this might be 100% poppycock. But after a whole five minutes of analysis, it doesn’t appear so. Next up: movie theaters. They’re under pressure from Netflix et al, and they tend to have voluminous parking lots. This could be another opportunity for the auto industry in general. It might be the last brick and mortar (and asphalt) retail player.

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Tesla, if you do inherit the mall, please buy out these mall kiosks and re-assign these cretins to toilet-scrubbing duty. And after six months of stellar performance in that function, only then should you consider issuing brushes.

* Sure, someday cars will ship themselves. And if you don’t like your new car, you’ll just crack a whip and send it galloping back to its origin. But let’s stick closer to the here and now.

When journalists smoke crack, volume 23,565

The Street decided that Tesla’s innocuous third-party recall regarding a parking brake component should be billed as one of the biggest automotive blunders of all time. And they figured the best way to illustrate the story, is . . . a Tesla pop-up store (?)

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But the next morning, the crew apparently decided they might have oversold the story. Yes, they went right back to the drawing board, wiped everything clean, and came up with this new, improved headline that, like, totally befits this parking brake recall. Ready?

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Ahh. Much better.

Cramer, if you’re reading this, please leave a comment about what you’re smoking and how much.

Kneejerk responses to Neuralink. Get it?

  1. Long live blogs. What other medium could handle this topic this well?
  2. Long live Tim Urban. When super-simple line drawings and basic language can convey extremely complex concepts, you know you’ve got a top-notch journalist.
  3. Long live anyone who is trying like hell to improve the human condition, and maybe even cheat mortality. Literally long live. Don’t leave us.
  4. Even if you can’t digest the massive Neuralink post, or don’t even have time to read 100 percent of it, you’ll never look at your smartphone the same way again. An auxilliary computer that you have to carry everywhere you go, and haphazardly tap with your fingers, and speak into, and hold up to your ear — and risk dropping in the toilet? Come on now. We can do better. Bring it “in house” already. Ditto the human scrotum, while you’re at it. Can someone please solve the thermal management riddle and get men’s testicles behind some bones where they belong? The future of the human race is dangling in a squishy, goofy-looking skinbag. Men should be able to swap out a pair of useless nipples for some ovaries.
  5. When everyone can effortlessly soak up and transmit information, what separates smart people from dumb people? Well, existing technology should pose the same question, but doesn’t. Some people are just better at assimilating and regurgitating information and have more to say. Equal tech, unequal results.
  6. It seems we don’t like this idea of brain implantation, or any mental ability beyond the current norm. Every film that deals with next-level mental powers is a horror movie. Except Zapped!, starring Scott Baio and Willie Aimes. Actually, that might be the most horrible of all.
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Can Autopilot survive sue-happy USA? Part II

On Christmas day, 2015, TeslaMondo predicted that Americans would soon start suing Tesla for inflicting Autopilot on the poor public. That same post introduced y’all to Sean Kane, the “safety advocate” who poses as a dry analyst and often gets nose-picking reporters to fall for his ruse — even though he’s on the plaintiff payroll.

Well, it took a little over a year, but here comes the litigation. The lawyer is Steve Berman as usual. He pursued, with the emphasis on the “sued” part, the farcical sudden-acceleration cases against Toyota despite the NHTSA and even NASA finding zero defects. Toyota predictably settled many of those cases out of court. Ka-ching! Now that Tesla has money, it’s time to grab some. Stand and deliver, Mr. Musk.

And, of course, here comes Sean Kane, right on cue. Are Kane and Berman talking to each other behind the scenes, plotting a little PR campaign to dial in some pressure on Tesla? You can bet on it. Look for some juicy sound bites from “safety advocate” Kane.

Further reading: Part One.

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Tesla semi, while totally novel, brings deja vu

We’ve been here before. The chatter about Tesla’s move into trucking echoes the chatter from Tesla’s early years almost verbatim. People are asking the same old questions: Where’s the market for this? How can Tesla build this, never mind scale this? How will people use this? How will Tesla service this? Where’s the infrastructure for this? How does the math work for this? What about the physics? Why hasn’t anyone else done this?

And, just like years ago, journalists and stock analysts and industry insiders have their arms folded and their heads a’ waggin’ back and forth. But not quite as much, you may have noticed.

That’s because the world is a different place now. Crazy stuff happens nowadays. Rockets make repeat launches. All wheel drive vehicles are more efficient than rear wheel drive. Electric cars are the fastest-accelerating production cars of any stripe. Giant factories are energy-neutral. Davey Inc. is worth more than Goliath Inc. In a kooky world like this, anything is possible, even a hot-selling electric semi.

Regarding a Tesla pickup, apparently warming up in the bullpen, here are two observations:

  • Tesla referred to this as a “different kind of pickup,” but that doesn’t mean anything. After all, Musk said Model III wouldn’t look like other cars, but it looks quite a bit like the Model S. So a “different” pickup might not be radically different. The Roadster, Model S, Model X and Model III are pretty conservative on the outside, despite the totally novel innards, and wisely so.
  • By the time a Tesla pickup hits the streets, Tesla will have much more brand equity or, in a nightmare scenario, the girth to withstand a sales disappointment– just barely. This was TeslaMondo’s biggest misgiving about a Tesla pickup in years past. What if Tesla is shunned by this segment and its locker room mentality? The truck market is irrational, emotional and fickle. It’s steeped in a romantic idea of rugged adventurism. Blue collar guys with stubble and baseball hats, guys that look out of place in Tesla stores, must somehow leave behind Bob Seger and hay bales and move into a new automotive era. This will test Tesla’s marketing talents. Here’s a free assist from TeslaMondo:

like a roc TeslaMondo

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Leaving, returning to TSLA proved timely

You may recall TeslaMondo divested its shares of Tesla and Mobileye last summer and sank everything into Nvidia. Here was the plot:

“Tesla and Mobileye will likely trade sideways for a few months while NVDA rises. TeslaMondo plans to pile back into TSLA, with more $$$ in hand, in time for part II of the Model III reveal. As for MBLY, we’ll see. The company will become increasingly important for sure, but Model III will arrive first. So think of this move as going to the ATM to withdraw more money for TSLA.

Well, here’s how it shook out:

  1. Part II of the Model III reveal still hasn’t come, regardless of what Tesla says.
  2. Mobileye, which TeslaMondo bought long ago, then bought some more, then sold — was suddenly gobbled up by Intel.
  3. NVDA stock did indeed explode in the second part of 2016 while TSLA unbuttoned its pants and took a nap on the couch, exactly as predicted.

Sticking to the plot, TeslaMondo sold NVDA in chunks in early 2017 and started buying TSLA. Some $$ was diverted for other uses, so there’s some missing money here:

portfolio check 4-10-17

Overall, the plot panned out well. Partial credit goes to pure luck, of course. Who knew that Trump and Tesla would get along at all, never mind tete-a-tete? Who knew that a rapper named Tencent would buy a five percent stake in Tesla? Yeah boyeee! Imagine if 50 Cent follows suit?

Tencent Rapper TeslaMondo

From zero to hero in 13 years? Yes.

Here are some cars you’d see on the street 2004/2005:

Do they have any nostalgic value yet? Are they quaint? Probably not. Do you look at them and say, “Ah yes, I remember those days.” Probably not. In fact, they’re still pretty fresh. So thirteen years wasn’t long ago. Fair enough?

Well, here’s a snapshot of Tesla just thirteen years ago, as described in the Ashlee Vance book:

“Had anyone in Detroit stopped by Tesla motors at this point, they would have ended up in hysterics. The sum total of the company’s automotive expertise was that a couple of the guys at Tesla really liked cars and another one had created a series of science fair projects based on technology that the automotive industry considered ridiculous.”

Now let’s press the fast-forward button for just a split second, to 2017. Tesla is now worth more than Ford and, depending on daily market undulation, more than GM. Among millennials, Tesla is now the coolest automotive-related brand and one of the coolest brands in any industry, says a Google survey.

There’s still room for all of this to come crashing down. Model III might be a brief, kooky anomaly that quickly washes away. Think of the music business. The Monkees outsold the Beatles in 1967. Tesla could be the Monkees. But if that’s the case, who are the automotive Beatles?

With TSLA finally at $300, let’s reflect

How did we shareholders get to this milestone? After all, Tesla has done everything totally wrong for years. Haven’t you been reading? This company can’t do anything right.

The Gigafactory? A mistake.

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Model X? A mistake. Never mind the fact that the world has gone SUV-crazy, with the US the craziest of all. Never mind that Tesla is selling almost as many SUVs as sedans — and for higher gross. It’s all a mistake.

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This article, too, is about the Model X mistake. It violates Tesla’s original mission statement of increasingly affordable cars.

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Autopilot? Another mistake.

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SolarCity acquisition? Mistake. No, disaster.

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And Model III? You guessed it. A mistake.

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So now you know the secret recipe for success is a long string of catastrophic misfires.