By on March 13, 2014


In preparation to enter the Chinese market while battling state governments of direct sales, Tesla has hired Renault-Nissan communications director Simon Sproule to the role of vice president of communications and marketing for the EV automaker.

Bloomberg reports Sproule’s experience gained from stints with Microsoft, Jaguar, Ford and Renault-Nissan may be of benefit to Tesla, according to AutoTrends Inc. principal Joe Phillippi:

In many respects he’s got the perfect background. He’s been on the tech side, he’s been on the international auto side and he works for a CEO with peripatetic qualities who runs more than one company.

Sproule will be responsible for marketing Tesla to Europe and China — who aim to increase sales of its Model S 55 percent through exports to the two markets this year — while aiding in the fight with various state regulators over direct sales to customers, including this week’s blow-up between the automaker and New Jersey.

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4 Comments on “Tesla Hires Renault-Nissan Communications Director...”

  • avatar

    decent enough car with okay image and some panache. Musk is a “can do” guy which I admire. initially, I didn’t think he had a prayer but now see there is hope. (then again I thought EMail was a fad and texting was odd) he may pull off what Tucker and DeLorean couldn’t and accomplish a feat the industry hasn’t seen since Durant left GM and started Chevrolet. I find myself kinda pulling for the guy because he is smart, keeps it simple, and knows how to lead. the odds are still stacked heavily against him and his business plan as we understand it. he may yet succumb to an attractive buyout unless his ego motivates him to look beyond money and at his place in history. once a fella has that much wealth it’s hard to predict what they may do next.

  • avatar

    The “States that ban direct auto sales” map is going in the reverse direction of the “States with gay marriage” map. Even with a legion of the finest PR wonks/lobbyists, you have to imagine at some point Tesla may just decide to cut their losses and quietly surrender, opening conventional dealerships in the ban states.

    It’s not like they’re swimming in cash, and the cash they do have is better-spent on the Model X and other future models. Of course, surrendering might hurt their maverick image. But I think not being able to sell their wares in several large states would hurt their stock price even more.

  • avatar

    I suppose it’s only fair. Rachel Konrad, who is in charge of communications for the Renault-Nissan alliance, was hired away from Tesla, where she had the job that Sproule is taking.

  • avatar

    Tesla is rolling in cash.

    Per Bloomberg: “Last week’s offering was $800 million in 0.25%, five-year notes and $1.2 billion in 1.25%, seven-year notes. That was the largest convertible bond deal in the U.S. in two years.”

    The original offering was planned @ $1.6 billion, but was over subscribed. This was announced as funding for their battery factory, but unless/until they pull the trigger on it, it is cash on the balance sheet. They are paying Treasury interest rates. I don’t see why they couldn’t do it again. In 5 years, Tesla will either be a huge success or out of business – So I doubt if they will ever need to pay back the money. They have done a convertible before and most of the owners have kept the warrants.

    Tesla is getting an enormous amount of free, positive publicity from the auto dealer opposition. I don’t see how this really hurts them — they still sell quite a few in Texas. Their current product doesn’t require used car trade ins and F&I as a profit center and to get deals done.

    My current thinking is that their best chance for longer term success is to be the low cost producer in the electric car segment. How could they do this? It isn’t what they have — it’s what they don’t have. Legacy costs, ICE engineering, advertising, unions &c.

    Having praised the company, I would strongly advise avoiding the stock and bonds — unless you are the type that likes to bet the long shots at the track. If for no other reason then to avoid owning any stock whose primary business is transporting people (airlines, cars, bus lines, passenger rail ). I used to subscribe to a theory that no large company named American or General would go BK. That theory went down the tubes in 2008 — General Motors, American General, and finally American Airlines.

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