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…)
Despite garnering below-average reliability ratings, Tesla is probably the one car brand with the most fervent disciples. While not all Tesla fans are blindly loyal, most are willing to cut the company much more slack than you would Ford the next time your Focus’ bum transmission acts up. Granted, Tesla’s automobiles do possess elements that most Fords do not — namely prestige and a highly unique driving experience.
An elegantly fashionable car will, of course, be more easily forgiven for its missteps than some plain-Jane model. However, the Model S and X have suffered more than just the occasional mechanical error. The Model X is infamous for its malfunctioning electronic doors and wonky electronic interface, while the Model S has suffered from quality control issues since day one. Still, every time an owner voices a concern about reliability or the company’s lackluster ability to service its vehicles, their complaint usually comes with an addendum specifying that they still adore their purchase. (Read More…)
Tesla is taking its most affordable model off the market next month. In order to “simplify the ordering process,” the automaker has decided to abandon the Model S 60 and 60D, according to its official newsletter.
It hasn’t even been a full year since the 60kWh trim returned after the more-expensive Model S 70 replaced it in 2015. Good riddance. (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…)
In the world of corporate automotive name changes, this one isn’t on the same level as, say, anything involving Chrysler over the past 10 years.
Tesla Motors, builder and purveyor of tech-laden ecomobiles, isn’t the same fledgling company it was when the Tesla Roadster was still a hazy promise a few could conceive of an automaker offering home energy products on the side.
Now that its business umbrella covers both vehicles and the offerings of recently acquired SolarCity, the company needs to change things up. Well, just the name, really. (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…)
A materials engineer fired by Tesla Motors earlier this year is suing the automaker, claiming that his age led to the dismissal.
The discrimination suit filed by Thomas Flessner, 69, paints a picture of a Logan’s Run-like corporate atmosphere that values youth above all else, Fusion reports. It’s the latest in a steady stream of complaints about the youth-focused culture within the tech industry. (Read More…)
The Tesla Model S is neither new nor surprising anymore. When the electric sedan entered the market in 2012, it shattered perceptions of electric cars and proved electric motoring viable.
Since then, Tesla has established itself as the go-to brand for geeks and early adopters. We’ve driven the Tesla Model S before, so there’s no need to talk about its most obvious features. But recent events make this a great time to talk about its second-most-important feature: Autopilot.
Is Tesla’s autonomous system any good? Can it be dangerous? How far is it from being truly autonomous? And, besides that, how did the Model S improve over the last few years?
Eager to find locations to expand its U.S. recharging network, Tesla Motors is busy seeking new partners, with fast food, gas stations and convenience stores being top of mind.
One of the chains Tesla is attempting to seduce is the jack-of-all-trades Sheetz, according to the Washington Post. With hundreds of locations in the mid-Atlantic region, Appalachia and Ohio, Sheetz — maker of the Shmuffinz breakfast sandwich — operates a gas bar, convenience store and fast food restaurant at its locations.
It’s the place to be, and Tesla wants a Supercharger on that property. (Read More…)
Founded with the intent of finding energy solutions (and profit) in the power of the sun, SolarCity’s photovoltaic energy business has grown in leaps and bounds since 2006. Now, as the company poises itself for bigger profits, a very familiar man wants to acquire the operation.
Tesla Motors published a note on its website yesterday stating its intention to acquire SolarCity. The offer, made by Tesla, would see the electric automaker trade shares with the San Mateo, California-based company, bringing the business into its fold.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is no stranger to SolarCity’s operation — he co-founded it with cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive (CEO and CTO of Solar City), and serves as the company’s chairman. (Read More…)
South Koreans are used to having a bunch of Americans hanging around, but the arrival of a group of Tesla employees won’t be welcomed by executives at Hyundai.
Tesla wants into the South Korean marketplace, and just posted job listings for sales and engineering positions in the Asian country, Bloomberg reports. Already registered in South Korea, the automaker plans to open up an office in Seoul and hire a recruiter based out of Japan. (Read More…)
As the owner of a 2013 Tesla Model S P85 and occasional TTAC writer, I have my opinions on the Model 3. Many commenters thought Tesla’s business model of starting at the high-end and working its way down market was crazy, but Elon Musk had the right idea: use the cash flow from high-end car manufacturing to ramp up your engineering chops and supplier relationships so you can push prices down to eventually make a mainstream product.
That’s exactly what Tesla is doing and the plan seems to be working brilliantly — but there’s a catch: managing the engineering “complexity budget.”
For Tesla Model S P90D owners who have concluded they won’t soil their firm, supportive seats if given the chance to go faster, well, they’re in luck.
Tesla Motors is offering to bring “Ludicrous” mode to owners of the top-end Model S as an aftermarket upgrade, assuming their wallet can match their need to blow everything else out of the water. (Read More…)