Some Daimler shareholders think the Tesla rebel alliance has crept too far onto Daimler home turf. A glance at regional sales suggests they’re not wrong. Tesla has spread like an oil stain into Europe, even Germany. So now Daimler CEO Darth Dieter Zetsche suddenly finds himself in the doghouse for letting this happen under his nose, despite his supposedly excellent Force Disturbance Detector. It’s tempting to kick him while he’s down, but Tesla fans must refrain. Why?
Reason One: He’s your daddy. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Darth Dieter saved Tesla from the abyss with an 11th hour battery contract for the electric Smart and a purchase of TSLA shares. Musk recalls:
“There were a couple of near-death situations. One is where I had to basically take all of my personal reserve capital in 2008 and invest that in Tesla. I literally had to borrow money for rent. … I was totally tapped out. That was enough to get us through the second half of 2008 and into early 2009 and then, thankfully, Daimler, with whom we had a small deal to produce battery packs for the Smart [ED] actually invested $50 million into Tesla in the nick of time. It wasn’t some huge altruistic gesture, but nonetheless, they had to have faith that their $50 million wouldn’t go down the drain.
There was the potential to get an investment from another car company – not Toyota – but I don’t know if they would have actually followed through or not, but they did express interest. I think Daimler was maybe aware of that. Either way, they put $50 million into Tesla at a time when they themselves were cash strapped. Dieter Zetsche had to go to Abu Dhabi and raise emergency cash for Daimler and then reserve $50 million for Tesla. When someone is hungry themselves and they give you a bit of food, you’ve got to be grateful for that.”
Years later, however, Dieter succumbed to the dark side. He let his Mercedes USA chief talk trash about Tesla. Then he passed up a chance to invest in the Gigafactory. TeslaMondo found Dieter’s lack of faith disturbing. Well, now he’s getting his black bell rung by shareholders, for sleeping on the job. That’s risky behavior on the part of the shareholders. You don’t talk back to a Sith Lord, because of reason two.
Reason two: It’s bad for your respiratory health. The last time someone tried it — at a shareholder meeting of sorts — the dude got his windpipe pinched until his attitude improved.