Every drama has villains

The funniest thing about Tesla is that Tesla isn’t funny anymore. Some powerful people are becoming increasingly annoyed and increasingly vocal as Don Quixote Musk’s impossible dream of an electric revolution becomes less Quixotic every year. The other funny thing about Tesla is that anyone who tries to whack the company ends up looking like a possum’s pecker. Ask Chris Christie.

That’s because everyone considers Tesla the underdog in a fight with much bigger powers that be. So if Tesla is the protagonist, here’s the latest batch of antagonists in this serial drama. Every single one of them has stepped in it, PR-wise, as they struggle to stifle the inconvenient change that Tesla represents.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.49.23 PMThe Koch Brothers: Status and Quo
The very rich and well-connected duo are throwing their weight behind, well, inertia. Their pro-petroleum campaign is the moral equivalent of a pro-smoking campaign. Do villains come any yuckier than this?

Car dealer lobby
Gallup’s latest honesty and ethics poll is out. At the very bottom are car salesmen and lobbyists, yet we have to listen to car dealer lobbyists claiming they’re consumer allies. Next . . .

Rival auto company execs

How do they diss? Let us count the ways (more details about these incidents here):
* Porsche CEO Matthias Müller: “I cannot say anything about Tesla,” he said. “I don’t know anything about Tesla.” He’s since been promoted to CBO at VW. That’s chief bullshit officer.
* Brian Smith, Lexus VP: “They’ll probably come back,” he said, referring to former Lexus customers who’ve defected to Tesla. “I think the question remains to be seen how many people will buy a second Tesla.”
* Mercedes Benz USA boss Steve Cannon: “Folks are buying a Tesla now because they’re kind of cool, but if you’re a Tesla buyer, you have to have multiple cars. With Mercedes, you have a whole network. You’ve got no worries.”
* BMW: During speculation about a Tesla/BMW collaboration with batteries and carbon fiber, unnamed sources within BMW told a German magazine that Tesla is faking an association with BMW for marketing purposes.
* Audi: Issued a press release on its website (quickly taken down) titled, “Not so fast to put Tesla on that particular pedestal.” It slapped the media for hyping Model S sales numbers. Tesla’s sudden success represents merely a temporary blip from early adopters, said the press release.
* Aston Martin: “We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” So says Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer.
Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.50.50 PM* General Motors: It took publicity shots of the Bolt parked at Tesla’s HQ. Then, at the car’s official intro, (skip to 7:52), CEO Mary Barra took a tacit swing at Tesla: “We believe strongly in the dealer model, and the tremendous value our customers derive from neighborhood dealerships.” A totally false statement, as dissected here.

This week, GM backed an Indiana bill that would force Tesla to use dealerships or get outta town. Tesla sicced the dogs on Indiana pols until they voted today, with bloodied ankles, to table the bill until . . . until someone decides to get his ankles chewed again. Indiana Sen. James Buck, limping this morning, said: “I’ve gotten calls that I was tempted to play back to you and listen to the incivility from Tesla owners, even had that here this morning. And I don’t intend to put up with it.” Bullied by Tesla, the underdog? The press isn’t buying that depiction. All headlines accurately describe a “kill Tesla bill” sponsored by GM and tossed around by pols beholden to dealer groups. Once again, Tesla ends up with free publicity and probably a few more sales. Ka-ching! And GM looks like a possum’s pecker.
Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.57.31 PM* Bob Lutz: When he was with GM, Tesla inspired him to built the Volt. He even waxed avuncular with Elon Musk in this photo. But then a disturbing change came over him. He succumbed to the dark side and now preaches against Tesla at every open mike he can find. He’s personally banking on a new project: throwing Corvette engines in Fisker bodies. Yes, hybrids are the future. Viva amphibia!

One more funny thing about Tesla is that none of these buffoons has thus far achieved anything except making themselves look like possum’s peckers. Real damage to Tesla would require a wholly different kind of villain. Unfortunately, we know they exist:

unknown avatar TeslaMondoLunatic fringe
“We all know you’re out there.” Remember that 1981 song? John Lennon’s assassination gave it a boost of real-world relevance at the time. Unfortunately, a stroll through history means stepping over the dead bodies of high-achievers assassinated by otherwise anonymous self-loathing losers of the world. Back to the song: “You gotta blame someone, for your own confusion.” TeslaMondo has already called for tighter security around Elon Musk after this awkward moment at a shareholder meeting (skip to 38:55). In the subconscious mind of every shareholder, there’s a gunshot and a disaster for Tesla. Musk isn’t oblivious to this. In the Ashlee Vance book, he acknowledges that the list of people who wouldn’t mind if he were gone is growing. Here’s hoping he dies peacefully on Mars, not violently onstage.

7 thoughts on “Every drama has villains

  1. vfxx says:

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Actually the Matthias Muller quote was from July of last year, if I remember well. But, I guess that this particular quote was not from him. My opinion it’s that this quote was only done to balance an other declaration of Matthias Muller that he did in March of last year in a conference at Stuttgart if I remember correctly. That declaration was very genuine one and said: “Tesla has built an exceptional car. They have a very pragmatic approach and set the standard, where we have to follow up now.” I guess that declaration didn’t seem right for the ex-CEO of Volkswagen and principal stakeholders, so the July declaration was a try to correct the March one, in my opinion. And since Matthias Muller is the new CEO of Volkswagen, I’m seeing a very strong move in the acceleration of the electrification in all Volkswagen brands, Audi, Porsche, and even Volkswagen.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    @RWF, I knew it was him, but I think that his genuine thought about Tesla was the first one I cited (in March of 2015). This one from July could have be done after he was dug in his heels by Volkswagen CEO and stockholders because of the positive quote about Tesla he did in March. It’s only my guess, but I really think he admires Tesla work, but I can be wrong what would be sad for Automotive industry and particularly for Volkswagen.

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  4. Ace Diamond says:

    The reason why VW all of a sudden is replying “That’s Wonderful” when the EPA states “Oil and Gas bad, battery electric cars good”…is because the EPA told VW that if they want to survive, they’ve gotta play ball. The EPA knew all along about how all the different manufacturers are getting “creative” to meet EPA’s standards that are formulated to kill off the internal combustion engine….meanwhile there is no car worse for the environment than a TESLA.

    The worst emissions offenders were Ford pick ups, but Ford CEO promised the EPA 20 different electric models by 2020, so it’s all good. VW got punished because Porsche ridiculed TESLA.

    By the way, the article above forgot to mention Daimler CEO, Dr. Z : “we will absolutely not build a TESLA”

    In other news, socialists in various organizations all over the world are trying to raise the human health safety limits for electro-magnetic field exposure because powerful electric motors have such wonderful long-term effects on your brain….isn’t socialism wonderful???

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