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Discussion Starter #1
In spirit of full disclosure I am a fan of the IDEA of what Tesla has been doing, but have not been much of a fan of the EXECUTION of the cars themselves (not the business model, sales, etc, just the attention to detail of creating an actual "luxury" SUV). And I want them to succeed for MANY reasons, including being a leader in trying to get EVs to be acceptable (and they have done that to a degree). But what is going on with this company? I am starting to think Elon Musk has gone from an asset to a liability at this point with his antiques, and his "more decisions per minute" bs excuse for being erratic (I love how people buy that "theory" as a cover to his unstable and short sided flailing).

These two things today back to back really do concern me now, to the point where I think I may just sell my Roadster (mainly because I don't want to end up with a car that is unserviceable considering it needs to be serviced pretty often).

This is not meant to be trolling nor am I looking for Tesla fandom talking points. Anyone else have any concerns about the viability of Tesla despite the significant number of cars they have put on the road?

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/04/tesla-starts-leasing-model-3s-35000-version-is-now-software-locked/

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/04/panasonic-stops-investing-in-tesla-gigafactories-as-sales-slump/
 

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What's going on with Panasonic:

Toyota and Panasonic partner for next-generation batteries

January 28, 2019

TOKYO — To gear up for its move into electric vehicles, Toyota plans to make its own next-generation batteries in a new partnership with electronics giant Panasonic, and even sell them to other automakers.

The joint venture, announced last week by Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp., will start operations in 2020 and focus on the development and production of prismatic lithium ion batteries, solid-state batteries and other advanced power packs for electric cars.

The move comes as Toyota — often perceived as a laggard in EVs — plans to roll out 10 electric cars worldwide by the early 2020s. The first EV will be an all-electric version of its C-HR subcompact crossover for China in 2020, but Toyota will also launch EVs in the U.S., Europe, Japan and India.

In traditional Toyota fashion, Japan's biggest automaker will be keeping tight control over the component seen as the key to its strategic success. While other automakers, such as Nissan, shed battery subsidiaries to source cells and power packs from suppliers, Toyota will hold a majority 51 percent stake in the new Panasonic venture and have a strong hand in making its own.

Teaming up from the early stages of vehicle planning will streamline new battery development and ensure a better fit with the vehicles they go into, the companies said in a joint statement.

"The business environment is one in which independent efforts by battery manufacturers or automobile manufacturers are not enough for solving the issues concerned," they said.

Toyota is confident enough in the potential of the new batteries that it wants to sell them to other carmakers.

(more at Automotive News)
Now they're playing with the big kid on the block with the fat wallet.

What's going on in Buffalo NY for Panasonic I haven't kept up with, but at last reading Panasonic may or may not be stepping in there to produce solar panels. Else Tesla starts paying NY some pretty hefty fines.

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Re: the $35K model 3 - did you expect it to happen? I had no expectation either way, so.....

epirali said:
I am starting to think Elon Musk has gone from an asset to a liability at this point with his antiques, and his "more decisions per minute" bs excuse for being erratic
Starting to think? His "pedo" remark flew under the radar? "Funding secured" and the subsequent SEC settlement too?

The folks at SpaceX breath a sigh of relief every night that he spends on the couch in the conference room at Tesla. It means he's up the arse of Tesla employees and not them. If you've followed the bits and pieces over the years you know he's the boss from h*ll. Too many stories to even remember. Name one publicly traded corporation that's gone through as many executives as Tesla per year. I'm all ears......
 

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Discussion Starter #3
All good points. But Panasonic will happily provide batteries to everyone, they would not need to pull back from GigaFactory to do more with Toyota. It sounds more like the “overhype” has gotten them to reconsider further investment as the demand has not materialized. That is part of Musk’s problem: initially overselling as startup creates excitement and is even expected. But past a point it starts looking unstable and actually causes harm.

When I think of Audi/BMW and other luxury manufacturers I basically think “trust” in what they say and mostly deliver. Nowadays with Tesla I just roll my eyes (Full self driving my b**t). When they “slid” the new Roadster out talking about how great it will be I just thought about the thermal management issues BEFORE you push that hard and the fact that the darn 2 seater “sports car” will weight well north of 5000 pounds. What they are saying is pure horse droppings on that one.
 

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Panasonic relationship with Tesla has been on the edge for quite awhile. All Tesla vendors need to be very careful, Tesla does not place a value on their vendor's goodwill. They will burn them for $1. Expect to see more trouble with vendors not less.

The Model 3 configuration mapping and pricing has been crazy since day one. But it was never realistic to sell inactive hardware for free. Or promise a $35k car that far in advance.

IMO, the managerial mistakes that have cost TSLA the most:

The failure to turn remote charging into a profit center.
Failure to turn their Quality Management System into a profit center.
Selling cars that have software disabled expensive hardware. A better design would have user/dealer added options. "Lego Tech", like we do with computers, houses, and hotrods.
Announcing a Model 3 price and accepting money too far in advance. While it did gain some quick cash, it probably hurt Model S/X sales more than the capital helped.
Failure to understand the SUV market.
Flip-flop on the No Discounts policy each month. Just leave the subject alone. EVs will fall in price over the years, it will mean that inventory will probably have to be price reduced.
Burning vendors and staff. Having a high turnover of vendors and staff is a sign a company is either poor at paying their bills, or has poor managing skills.
 

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All good points. But Panasonic will happily provide batteries to everyone, they would not need to pull back from GigaFactory to do more with Toyota.
There's no reason we can be aware of right now for Panasonic to take their toys and go home, no. Respectable businessmen don't play that way.

There is the question of investing more at the GF. If I'm Tsuga-San, I'm going with the future, and with my fellow businessman Toyoda-San. We understand each other, and Toyoda-San has the resources we need. That's where the majority of my capex is going to go now.


Failure to turn their Quality Management System into a profit center.
That one has me scratching my head. I honestly don't understand the term "Quality Management System" as it relates to the term "profit center". I'm willing to be educated. :smile2:

Burning vendors and staff. Having a high turnover of vendors and staff is a sign a company is either poor at paying their bills, or has poor managing skills.
Which reminds me of the story of him screaming at vendors over the phone threatening to rape them in the [backside]. Kinda hard to verify but it fits his well known MO. He's also self-diagnosed bipolar - kind of a strange thing to tweet, but that is public record.

I don't know if it's fair to blame all of the executive fallout on Musk though. After watching a full stockholders meeting on YouBoob I got the strong impression that Straubel is 10 times the jerk Musk is. It was just one of those instinctive things you draw from his demeanor when dealing with the people there. I think he may be to Musk what Henry Frick was to Andrew Carnegie.
 

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Anyone else have any concerns about the viability of Tesla despite the significant number of cars they have put on the road?
Having failed to answer the original question.....

No, not really. Things have looked much worse than this in the past. If there's another equity dump soon and the deliveries continue to decline then maybe.

I am on record (somewhere) as saying that in order for Tesla to fulfill it's alleged future plans an equity dump will be needed. But they aren't required to produce anything they've claimed they will other than more model 3s.

In any case I'd hang on to that Roadster. It could bring serious cash at auction in 5-10 years if nothing else. Servicing is going to be an issue for any model as they put more cars on the market, and continue to have so few facilities nationwide. Concierge work is going to take longer and longer to be done, but if it's your weekend car, so what?
 

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Tesla said:
Please note, customers who choose leasing over owning will not have the option to purchase their car at the end of the lease, because with full autonomy coming in the future via an over-the-air software update, we plan to use those vehicles in the Tesla ride-hailing network.
Without hesitation I'm calling BS on this. There will be no Tesla ride-hailing network in my lifetime. Those off-lease cars are going directly into the very questionable CPO program.
 

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Yeah, I don't think Tesla has a viable business. Elon Musk was counting on huge sales volumes to provide cash and support economies of scale - 500k to 1Million Model 3 sales per year. Now, Tesla is losing its big Federal subsidy and they can't sell anywhere near the volumes required. Solar roofing and self-driving are both vaporware. Neither cars nor solar are producing any cash, and so Tesla is running out of time and money. They will have to either raise more capital, or restructure their business, most likely in bankruptcy. Without cash, there is no viable business.
 

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Telsa has accomplished what they originally set out to do and that was to normalise EV's for the auto industry. Even if they cant sustain themselves with the growing number of competitors, they've accomplished what many of the major brands said would never work. Best chance they have at surviving is being bought out by someone else.
 

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Best chance they have at surviving is being bought out by someone else.
That very nearly happened in 2013, but Musk insisted that Larry Page keep him at the helm as part of the deal. Best guess is that Page wasn't terribly favorable to that. Page knows Musk better than we ever will.

So I'd amend that with "and Musk gets punted". Best way to do that is to assign him a boss. He'll never acquiesce to that. This IMO is what Page knew too well.
 

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It would cost tens of billions of dollars to buy Tesla out at the current stock price. Nobody with any sense would pay that kind of money for Tesla as is - too many liabilities, and not enough assets.

Better to wait for bankruptcy, and then buy it for a song. Without Musk.
:laugh::laugh::laugh: Funding secured @$240/share! :laugh::laugh::laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Telsa has accomplished what they originally set out to do and that was to normalise EV's for the auto industry.
I think you give them too much credit. There were other manufacturers that made affordable EVs (like the Leaf and the Prius PEV), and the fact that EU and China are mandating switch from gasoline is what pushed other manufacturers into EVs. Teslas sales were not enough or in the right market (not profitable as you can see) to actually push the other manufacturers, nor did it normalize EVs. It is still a very tiny part of the US market.

I would give them credit for making EVs seem cool, with the original Roadster then the Model S (the Model S I don’t personally get). Model X is many things, cool is not a word that ever comes to my mind when I see one.
 

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Exactly - I give credit to Tesla, and Musk, for a significant amount of cool innovation. Unfortunately, these innovations were also almost entirely wasteful and unprofitable. Ultimately, you can't change the world without financial sustainability. Tesla couldn't do it, but perhaps someone else will. Someday.
 

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...
That one has me scratching my head. I honestly don't understand the term "Quality Management System" as it relates to the term "profit center". I'm willing to be educated. ...
A QMS is how you do closed-loop, continuous improvement, in quality control. A good system stops you from repeating your MRB deviations, rework of mfr'd parts, line stoppages, reduces assembly time, reduces warranty costs, and increases sales.

Old school is treating your "Inspection" dept as a filter to catch bad parts.
New (1990+) systems establish the reliability required to make quality finished products from the design stage to the delivery. Corrective Action Reviews will always have a Root Cause, and Corrective Action Plan. Then the effectiveness of the CAP is evaluated. You record trends in deviations, and develop Preventative action. Every year, the cost of defects falls.

When done right, the system is cheaper than just "Inspection" and Wack-a-Mole problem solving.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Exactly - I give credit to Tesla, and Musk, for a significant amount of cool innovation. Unfortunately, these innovations were also almost entirely wasteful and unprofitable. Ultimately, you can't change the world without financial sustainability. Tesla couldn't do it, but perhaps someone else will. Someday.
Not being contrarian but besides the engineering decision to use essentially laptop battery cells in large quantities to make a big battery what "cool innovation" am I missing? There is some clever engineering ideas (Take a Lotus Elise, make it electric. Use Laptop batteries in bulk to have power density) everything else about EVs are pretty much straight out of the book. Making 20% more efficient motors or integrating better aerodynamics into design is straight out of making good cars book.

And I do not consider using a giant monitor for bad UI as "innovative."
 

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Not being contrarian but besides the engineering decision to use essentially laptop battery cells in large quantities to make a big battery what "cool innovation" am I missing?
Fair question, and I don't disagree a whole lot with your perspective. A lot of what Tesla did was ripping off tech created by others - the laptop batteries, the 'skateboard' EV design concept which was invented by General Motors years earlier, automated driver assistance features, design and aerodynamics provided by Mercedes and Toyota (or whoever it was who designed much of the Model S for them), etc. Really what I admire most about Musk (it may be the ONLY thing I admire about him) is that he pushed the envelope - over the air software updates, electronic control of everything in the car - doors and AC vents, in addition to brakes, motors, infotainment, etc., autopilot, the silly iPad interface, for examples. Granted, Tesla did not invent any of this stuff, but they did push the envelope, and that's part of how progress happens. Also granted, many of their design choices turned out to be stupid, and in the case of Autopilot, homicidal. Still...
 
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