TeslaMondo’s editor sells cars, full time, at a dealership. This means he talks to car-shoppers all day. Which means he is a seismograph for automotive trends. And he often capitalizes on those trends via timely stock investments.
In 2011, Kia was a couple years into a cool ad campaign utlilizing furry little cricetinae. Kia’s products were no longer the laughing stock of reliability studies, crash tests, resale indexes or any other metric. And they looked pretty good. Designer Peter Schreyer, just poached from VW/Audi, was penning interesting stuff for Hyundai/Kia. The Optima no longer resembled an Accord sapped of its mojo (the whole thimble-full). In fact, it suddenly had better pecs, lats, delts and glutes than most midsize sedans.
Then came the rumble, when Kia officially invaded buyer vocabulary in TeslaMondo’s dealership. A customer declared she was unimpressed with the Fit, Yaris, XB and those usual Jap suspects — and was headed to the local Kia dealership to buy a Soul. The seismograph started chattering. The next morning, TeslaMondo called Fidelity and asked about Kia stock. The symbol wasn’t known to Fidelity. Turned out the stock was sold only on the Seoul exchange, and so Fidelity would have to buy the shares through an expensive middleman. Undettered, TeslaMondo put $23k on the table in early 2011. Later that same year, TeslaMondo sold the shares for $49k. You see, 2011 was Kia’s breakout year, just as the seismograph had predicted. Speaking of seismograph, the Japanese earthquake didn’t exactly hurt Korean auto stocks.
Well, here’s some good news for TSLA shareholders: This week, Tesla entered buyer vocabulary. A guy who was taking delivery of an Avalon Hybrid said he REALLY wanted a Model S but couldn’t swing the price. A day later, another customer mentioned his friend was on the waiting list for a Model X. That’s two unsolicited Tesla mentions in a week, at a dealership that does not touch high-end product. Sure, dealers that carry Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and the ilk have heard the “T” word from customers quite a bit over the last year or so, what with the Model S outselling high-end sedans from the incumbents last year. Tesla is old news in those circles. But now we’re talking middle-class dealership selling middle-class iron. That’s the land of Joe Average. With nary a dollar spend on advertising, Tesla is now officially known to Joe Average. The name has trickled into a main artery of the public anatomy. It has tripped the TeslaMondo seismograph and started the needle a scratchin’. And yet the winged monster X hasn’t even peeked from its cage yet. Never mind the mainstream model to follow.
The future for TSLA shareholders? A 10 on the Richter scale.