By on May 7, 2013

2013-Tesla-Model-S-front-3-1352910063631

As enthusiastic as I am about the actual product (when everyone was ready to crap all over Tesla based on some bad information, TTAC was one of the few publications to go to bat for the upstart auto maker), Elon Musk’s series of announcements, frequently couched in hyperbolic descriptions of their significance, are beginning to grate on me. Every week, Musk seems to descend from Mount Sinai bearing yet another set of tablets that promise to “disrupt” (to use a favorite term of Silicon Valley) the automotive landscape forever, yet end up being little more than a not-quite-a-lease program or some announcement about after-sales care.

A look through TTAC’s archives shows that Tesla has in fact cribbed some of their ideas from Hyundai. While Musk has endlessly touted that his pseudo-lease program will guarantee the value of the Model S, Hyundai has been making that same promise since April of 2011.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s service program, which Musk touts as the “world’s best” seems to have a lot in common with the one created by Hyundai for the Equus. Both involve having your car picked up from the location of your choice and exchanged with a loaner vehicle, ensuring that you never have to step foot in a smelly service department ever again.

Perhaps we’ll soon find out that Tesla overstated their mileage claims for the Model S, which would then allow us to really draw some parallels between the two companies. Oh, wait a minute…

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31 Comments on “Did Tesla Take A Page From Hyundai’s Book?...”


  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Is it a coincidence that the Tesla Model S looks more like a sedan based on the Hyundai Genesis Coupe than the Hyundai Genesis sedan does?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If Tesla really is emulating Hyundai in some respects, why is that news?

    Musk’s identification with Moses is partly him, and partly the mantle placed on him by the media as an entrepreneur.

    I see it as a good thing that Tesla has a deployed fleet large enough to discuss trade-in values and after-sales service. Other startups never get to that point. And Tesla is willing to quickly rework their offerings (product and service) when met with questions or criticism. How long has Ford’s MyTouch been complained about?

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    “TTAC was one of the few publications to go to bat for the upstart auto maker”

    That’s funny, because what I recall from your archives, is a series of 41 numbered articles under the “Tesla Death Watch” heading. And the last one ended with the following summary:

    “I still believe Tesla doesn’t have a hope in Hell of staying in business. But it will take a while for that to play out. [...] I made my point: they’re a company fuelled by tree-hugging hype rather than solid engineering or accountability. Tesla Death Watch out.”

    With friends like TTAC, who needs enemies, right?

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, I forgot that TTAC wasn’t allowed to do any reporting on an issue that may contradict something we wrote a half decade ago.

      • 0 avatar

        Evade it all you want, but it’s obvious to everyone that you cannot wrap into a mantle of some kind of Tesla champion.

        • 0 avatar

          There’s nothing to evade or champion. What Farago wrote 5 years ago has zero bearing on how I report on Tesla today.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            To bad you don’t understand that Tesla is just a burn rate, nothing more.

            It was 5 years ago, and nothing has changed in any measurable metric.

            You can “report” whatever nonsense you want – the facts are readily available for anyone who wants to truly know what is happening with that pile of cash on fire.

            Protip: Cash fire will never be less than amount poured in.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      TTAC was right then and they are wrong now.

      Tesla Really Slow Death Watch.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Woulda been dead already save for hundreds of millions of idiot funding.

        Inferior to Fisker save for having an excellent con-man at the helm.

        • 0 avatar
          walker42

          It’s easy to be a Tesla fan today, a few years ago not so much. More interesting would be to see who was right (optimistic) about Tesla even two years ago and consider their reasons.

          I’ve noticed conventional wisdom more in the new media than old, probably because of the comments sections in which many repeat the same tired points in the form of an entertaining new quip. Herd mentality taken to an extreme.

  • avatar
    wmba

    @ Thinkin..

    Well caught sir!

    Just goes to show my old technique for effectively assuming a new job position is the safe way. Take every document in the files of your predecessor(s) and absorb them. Spend the time. That way, you can avoid faux pas like this, except when memory fails, of course.

  • avatar
    EchoChamberJDM

    I give Tesla 2 years max before it goes the way of Fisker, Coda, and a littany of other “new energy” companies financed on a wing and a prayer of other peoples (taxpayers) money. The more Elon Musk touts grandiose plans like building pickups in Texas, the more I realize the company is sucking wind and its the PR machine taking over since the product can’t stand on its own 2 feet.

    I bought put options to sell this sucker short.

    Not to mention he declared war on all dealers in the US by teling them “we will sell Tesla cars without you….we have our own Tesla owned dealers”. What will Tesla do when they realize they can’t overturn franchise dealer laws in the most populous states in the country?

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Tesla is such a joke of a company. Their product sucks and their CEO is a cry baby. I can’t wait for that company and their hippy mobiles to go Ch. 7.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      2012 Corvette Z06: 3.7 sec, 2-passenger, $76k, $0.15/mile gas cost
      2012 Model S Performance: 3.9 sec, 5-passenger, $87k, $0.03/mile electric cost

      Yeah, Tesla really messed up.

      In these parts, Elon Musk is vilified and Bob Lutz’s ravings are viewed with bemusement.

      • 0 avatar
        EchoChamberJDM

        2012 Corvette – can get serviced at any Chevy dealer in the US.Easy to trade in or sell to someone else after you have had your fun with it, good resale value. Safe bet.

        2012 Model S – after the batteries give you range anxiety, you call the tow truck and pray the factory boys can fix it. Then try to trade it in or sell later and lose 90% of what you paid for it because the technology is long obsolete. Good luck with that.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Yeah, right Slippy.

        The Corvette will run circles around this stupid electric, dead end pile of garbage.

        Elon Musk is an idiot.

        How far can that goofy Tesla go on a single charge? The Vette can go almost 300 miles, and in 15 minutes at the pump, it can go another 300.

        The Tesla could be a good car….if it had a proper V8 rather than that electric crap.

        • 0 avatar
          gslippy

          The Model S will go 265 miles. Would you really drive a Corvette that far anyway?

          I assume when you say the Vette will ‘run circles’ around a Model S, you’re speaking philsophically. Because performance-wise, it won’t.

          And you are aware that this Musk ‘idiot’ is launching spacecraft which dock with the International Space Station, right? They let just anyone do that, you know.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      The product is mediocre and their CEO is a flim-flam man.

      Musk has never actually been “in charge” when anything he has ever been associated with actually made money.

      I know full well how manipulate 10Ks and 10Qs to have them appear to be profitable. The fact is, Tesla is about $1B in the hole, and they are only an ongoing concern because somehow people are dumb enough to fall for Musk’s song and dance and keep funding the burn.

      This is no different than GM or Enron – if you can actually understand what is really happening, you’ll see the only way to make money on Tesla is to short the garbage stock.

      • 0 avatar
        EchoChamberJDM

        You are correct….Tesla released earnings today, they were profitable but it was due to accounting tricks (release of accruals and valuation of un exercised stock options). Elon Musk is this years version of Victor Mueller at Saab.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          Sadly, most folks just don’t understand how to run a business, or that sooner or later your lenders are gonna want their money back.

          Tesla could make a $10MM paper profit every Q from now till 2030 and not have scratched the surface of paying back the initial investment + interest. Let alone the liabilities.

          GM redux…

  • avatar
    lunosalpha

    Wait, what was the point of this post? Did I come to TTAC or Yahoo?

  • avatar
    shaker

    I think this is the “Tesla Will Fail” prognostication thread. Maybe so, but I’d say Musk and his workers came the closest yet to a “desirable” EV, despite the limitations of the technology – viewed that way, The Model S is a success.
    Personally, I’d love to go crazy and spend my 401(k) money on one, and drive the coolest car ever, but this “reality” thing keeps stopping me :-)

  • avatar
    shaker

    Consumer Reports just finished testing the Model S, and gave it a 99 out of 100, which (I’m reasonably sure) is their highest score ever.

    The demerits listed that kept it from a perfect score: “Limited range, long charging times, access, visibility, some controls.”

    The pluses: “Energy efficiency, acceleration, quietness, ride, handling, braking, easy-to-use touch screen, luggage capacity, fit and finish.”

    They averaged around 200 miles of range (180 cold weather, 220 warm), but needed 12 hours for a full charge on the standard 240 volt charger.

    Definitely not for everybody, but a brilliant second effort (my words).

    Edit: CR’s calculated running costs (@ $0.11 kWHr) were $1.20/gal equivalent.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      99 out of 100 for a nice car, but one that still has some very clear drawbacks? They should have just scored it “OVER 9000″ with no explanation and been done with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      As someone who stopped reading CR’s biased crap decades ago, I’ve gotta ask after seeing this preposterous figure: what score did they give the Volt? Being a product of the hated Detroit makers, I’m guessing it was slagged for long recharging times (even though there’s a gas option) and using premium fuel, with a rating well south of the Prius, let alone the almighty Muskmobile. Let me speculate that if GM started selling a version of the Model S with nothing changed but the badges, it probably wouldn’t crack 50 on the CR scale.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I agree with gslip and shaker that this is an amazing car and that Musk is a brilliant man, but I do believe this product has a tiny market that will soon be tapped out and that this company will inevitably go tits up.

    Which reminds me, have you seen Elon’s wife? Not bad for a nerd, Elon. Don’t lose all your money.

    • 0 avatar
      EchoChamberJDM

      His first wife took him to the cleaners. Wonder how much of the paypal fotune she got? She was a hottie as well. He is better off being single. But like any nerd made good, he wants to be the envy of all the other nerds out there and will keep making more outlandish statements until he implodes. Just like the guy that ran Fisker, Victor Mueller from Saab, and Jim Press at Chrysler who insisted that they would never file bankruptcy. Lets not even talk about Enron, I will just stick with the automobile industry. Remember, its the CEOs job to be the chief salesman for the company, reality be dammed.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        He’s a psycho and a douche if you believe the account by his first wife. She knew him well before he made any money.

        She also didn’t take him to the cleaners at all — I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. She got a healthy sum of about $10M in support payments plus the house from accounts I’ve read, and I believe they split custody of the 5 kids. Her post-nup didn’t give her that much of the PayPal fortune, and she lost her bid to nullify it. If there had been no post-nup, she would have gotten half of the PayPal fortune under California law.

        The second wife got $4.2M over 9 years. I believe that was all from the pre-nup.

        • 0 avatar
          EchoChamberJDM

          Controllio – thanks for the info…not sure which wife it was, but I remember him living on a couch with friends back in 2007 or 2008 after his divorce and it was quite the story in the blog-o-sphere. My hunch is that he was hiding $$ from the IRS and didn’t want to give anyone (let alone his ex wife) an idea of what he was woth. Now you have the opposite story – the press keep saying the man is worth billions. Perhaps now with his options on TSLA, which will soon be worthless. Today was jump the shark day for Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “but I remember him living on a couch with friends back in 2007 or 2008 after his divorce and it was quite the story in the blog-o-sphere.”

            Those blog stories were BS. He wrote a response to that effect at some point. Someone started a rumor that he was poor, but come on — think about how much money the guy had. Even in the worst divorce, the wife couldn’t get more than her share of the community property under California law. That’s how it works.

            He may have been living on people’s couches for emotional support or something, but I doubt. He moved on to the second wife pretty seamlessly.


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