It’s no secret that the success of Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 will dictate its position as a mainstream automaker for the foreseeable future. Tesla’s current status as the most valuable carmaker in the United States is riding, almost entirely, on the problem-free assembly of its “affordable” EV this summer. So, when one of its German suppliers threatened to go on strike earlier this month, you can imagine the series of panic attacks CEO Elon Musk probably suffered.
Last week, the company’s recently acquired industrial robotics unit Grohmann began labor negotiations over insufficient wages and Tesla’s decision to suspend all contracts that didn’t pertain specifically to the Model 3. And, to ensure things went his way, Musk has become directly involved in the process.
If you’re unfamiliar with Bob Lutz, it’s likely that you’re a recent addition to the world of automotive enthusiasm. Allow me to be the first to welcome you. The rest of us have been following Lutz’s career shift from extremely outspoken auto executive to extremely outspoken car blogger for years. Now 85, he hasn’t become any less critical of the industry after entering his “retirement,” nor has his advanced age done much to soften his frank rhetoric.
Love or hate him, Lutz’s time spent jumping between the Big Three has provided him with unique insights — and he always has plenty to say on the current state of the American automotive industry. His most recent revelations circle around the unsustainable nature of Tesla and his growing distaste for president Trump, despite his having voted for him. (Read More…)
Tesla founder Elon Musk recently cleared the air in regards to the automaker’s upcoming Model 3 sedan, telling his Twitter followers the more budget friendly Tesla won’t outperform the Model S.
Perhaps you’ve noticed, by its absence, that there isn’t any advertising for Tesla products. Elon Musk is pretty good at generating buzz without having to pay for it. For example, a number of media organizations recently ran the news that Musk took the advice given to him by a fifth-grade girl — via her dad’s Twitter account — on how to publicize his electric cars.
Bria Loveday had a school assignment involving writing and mailing a letter to a noted person and, the way the story goes, she chose Musk. In her letter she noted that while Tesla doesn’t advertise, a number of Tesla enthusiasts have produced their own entertaining commercials for the EV maker, and Bria suggested that Tesla hold a contest for the best one. The winner would get his or her ad aired and then receive some kind of prize like a free year’s worth of supercharging at a Tesla station. (Read More…)
With his employees showing a growing interest in unionization, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shot off a lengthy email to staff urging them to forgo joining the United Auto Workers. While the UAW has romanced Tesla’s growing workforce for years, a recent — and highly publicized — blog post written by an employee expressed renewed concern over the company’s treatment of its workforce, as well as his hope to see them join the labor federation.
Musk initially reached out to the press to defend his company and is now appealing to workers directly, refuting allegations about subpar wages and condemning an earlier investigation into worker safety. “After looking into this claim, not only was it untrue for this individual’s team, it was untrue for any of the hundreds of teams in the factory,” he wrote. (Read More…)
After posting a profitable fall quarter, Tesla returned to spending more than it made. However, its fourth quarter losses, announced on Wednesday, were substantially less than originally assumed by analysts. The electric carmaker’s stock price continued to climb during the final three months of 2016, despite losing $448 million from its operations.
Tesla has been throwing a lot of money at projects and acquisitions. It recently purchased SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering, so going into the red was to be expected. However, the dark cloud looming in the distance isn’t related to capital — it’s about production. (Read More…)
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk knows a unionized workforce would add another variable to his lofty, carefully crafted production plans, and an unpredictable one at that: labor strife.
Until now, the electric automaker’s top boss has fended off the possibility in a progressive-sounding way, but a simmering unionization movement, which reared its head this week, shows no signs of abating. Since the appearance of a scathing blog post written by a Tesla assembly plant worker, Musk has found himself on the defensive. A paid union agitator, Musk claimed, wrote the post to rile employees. Then the UAW jumped into the fray.
Now, it’s one big battle. Musk likely wishes a recently introduced bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act was on his side. (Read More…)
Some employees at Tesla Inc.’s Fremont, California factory have been moving ahead with efforts to unionize. Fronting that campaign is Jose Moran, who claims to have worked at the plant for the last four years. He and other disgruntled Tesla employees have reached out to the United Automobile Workers, claiming they work long hours for low pay under unsafe conditions as the company pursues aggressive production deadlines.
While Tesla’s CEO has responded with his own claim that Moran was paid by the UAW to join his company and proselytize for a union, the organization promptly refuted that suggestion by accusing Tesla of spreading dreaded “fake news.” (Read More…)
It appears apprehensions over the driving range of electric vehicles will be sticking around for a few more years.
Tesla initially said its highly anticipated Model 3 would posses a 215 mile per charge capacity in its base trim, encouraging rumors that the BEV would offer optional power packages and extended range. However, Big Daddy Musk tweeted yesterday the Model 3 is incapable of housing the larger batteries found on the Model X and S.
Tesla’s CEO also said the current 100 kWh battery will be as large as the company plans to go on its present passenger vehicles — but did mention larger units would need to be installed on the company’s semi-trailer-trucks and, again, referenced the possibility of an electric pickup truck. (Read More…)
Bob Lutz has worked as an executive for General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and BMW at various points in his storied life. Saying he’s a man who is well-versed in the automotive industry would be a colossal understatement. And that expertise has led him to the assertion that a certain manufacturer is a cult led by a false god.
That, Audi has abandoned its wildly successful career in endurance racing for something far less popular, Ford takes a financial body blow, and Volkswagen Group continues to suffer with Porsche as its sugar daddy… after the break!
Yesterday, after a brief delay and weeks of teasing, Tesla Motors said it will equip all of its new vehicles with the hardware needed for fully autonomous driving. Starting yesterday, the technology comes standard on every model, including the upcoming Model 3 sedan.
But that doesn’t mean you can use it anytime soon. (Read More…)
Mini has revealed what form its new hybrid will take.
That, the e-tron name lives on in Audi’s first dedicated electric SUV, Unifor squares off with Ford, and hype man Elon Musk reschedules his alleged big announcement … after the break! (Read More…)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk vigorously defended his Autopilot system when accident reports rolled in earlier this year. Even when a fatal Florida crash was blamed on a temporarily blinded Autopilot, Musk assured citizens, Tesla owners, regulators and everyone else that the semi-autonomous driving system made his vehicles the safest things on the road.
Just do the math, Musk told the skeptics. Well, someone finally has. (Read More…)
To help make its promise of producing 500,000 vehicles per year a reality, Tesla Motors wants the city of Fremont’s approval to nearly double the size of its assembly plant.
The expansion plan comes as the electric automaker’s CEO promises something unexpected next week. (Read More…)
The brief uptick in share price Tesla enjoyed after beating production estimates this week was swiftly erased by a newly critical Goldman Sachs Group.
The investment bank downgraded the company on Thursday, sending its stock back down the hillside, Bloomberg reports. It’s bad news for CEO Elon Musk’s fundraising plans. (Read More…)