By on December 16, 2014
Teslas in a row Courtesy ibtimes.com

Tesla’s first fleet deal? Around 100 Model S’s were sold to a Las Vegas startup taxi service.

The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start reporting sales consistently. They based their story on a report by Seeking Alpha that deduced that Tesla may have as many as 12,000 unsold Model S’s, based on registration figures and the automaker’s quarterly financial reports.

We say congratulations, Elon Musk, you truly are the head of an American car company now, as reporting bogus sales numbers to the press is a normal part of an automaker’s modus operandi. Auto manufacturers claiming they sold more cars than they actually did is nothing new.  Sales numbers in the US are based on those deliveries reported by dealers, not when the automakers wholesale the vehicles to the retailers as some believe. Carmaker execs at times may be motivated to look good to their bosses or shareholders or to outsell a rival. They will then pressure, coerce and bribe dealers with one-time cash incentives to have them report bogus sales at month or year-end, often to the dealer themselves as loaner or demonstrator cars.  The vehicles are never driven and then sold as new, ideally as quickly as possible as their warranty clocks are ticking. Dealers who do not comply are thus put in an unfavorable price disadvantage with competing same-brand stores.

The Japanese automakers pioneered this practice during the high-demand, low supply days. At American Honda from the 1970s to the early 1990s, dealers reported every unsold car as sold at the end of each month or they risked losing precious future allocations. Those were the days when every Honda dealership employee “bought” a dozen cars a year and then the dealer would turn to the white pages of the phone book to find more “buyers.” It is not an urban car legend that a California Honda dealer once sold Accords to customers named “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck.”

In December 2012 BMW North America, in their zeal to beat Mercedes-Benz in the US, reported 37,399 vehicles sold, an amazing 69% higher than their 2012 average monthly sales rate, thus claiming the US luxury brand crown. That December the industry rose 21% over the 2012 average due to it being the heaviest incentive month of the year and this no doubt contributed to the rise in Bimmer sales. However, BMW dealers that I spoke with in January 2013 complained that half of their inventory had been reported as sold in December.  BMW got tons of pub for beating Benz but few noticed that when actual registration numbers came out a few months later it was revealed that Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW for 2012. Incredibly, in one of the few occasions where the media sniffed out this practice, the Wall Street Journal had reported about BMW’s shady sales numbers just months before.

It was one thing to report cars sold as loaners or demonstrators under the direction  of the factory; it is another to do report ghost sales when your dealership needs the incentive cash to stay afloat. We covered the story of a South Carolina Suzuki dealer who was convicted of fraud earlier this year for doing just that. It probably did not help his case that he was also convicted of a cornucopia of illegal advertising and finance practices.

As far as Tesla sales this year, here are the facts as near as we can determine: Automotive News has estimated Tesla’s reported sales in the US through October were 19,530 units. Actual registration numbers for the same period were 11,731 cars, a full 40% below the sales figures.  Further, these registration figures show Tesla off 22% from the same period in 2013.  Other sources have pegged the drop off at 26% this year.  This may explain why Tesla may be dabbling in the fleet market for the first time, as pictured above.

Elon Musk responded to these reports by saying they are selling every car they build and his team issued a response saying that don’t report monthly sales because, “the media tends to read all sorts of nonsense into deliveries.” They also pointed out that a car could be sold one month and not registered until the next. Why, yes, just like every other automaker.

 

Elon Musk Courtesy static1.businessinsider.com

If GM or Ford stopped reporting monthly sales and started spewing such drivel, the press would vilify them but the rules are different for Musk.  If he told the media that Tesla sold 200,000 cars one month, outsold all the other luxury carmakers combined and that he personally just got back from Mars, the slobbering press would not question him and resultant news stories would send Tesla stock into orbit.

Don’t get us wrong. We think that a new auto company selling 15,000 high dollar electric cars annually in the US through a unique, direct sales channel is an incredible accomplishment.

The Tesla Model S is one of the most innovative cars available today and Musk is one of this century’s greatest entrepreneurs, not to mention an amazing PR man. Who cares if can’t tell us the truth about how many cars his company sells?

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167 Comments on “Tesla’s Tanking U.S. Sales And The World Of Automakers Falsifying Sales Numbers...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Time for a money on the hood, 0 down, 0% for 84mos fire sale

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    I don’t own their stock and I don’t care. But the SEC might.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    This was always an ego inflated exercise. The fact Elon has a billion dollars for his Christmas light project to out shine the neighbors doesn’t negate that the stock is not worth whatever yesterday’s quote was. He fancies himself Alfred Sloan when he is really Madman Muntz.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      He’s more like a modern day Howard Hughes!

      Still, I’m rooting for what he’s trying to do, and I want one of their cars as soon as my rising income meets their move downmarket.

      • 0 avatar

        Same, its my next car once I can afford. Musk needs a middle class version of the tesla- a leaf counterpart, which is doing $1billion annually. I’m proud to say, my e-car is yet even more basic. Everyday for a year and a half so far, I’ve been driving my converted ’95 geo metro electric car from Bellevue to work in downtown Seattle and back. I travel up to 75 on highways, but consistently 60mph, and it has a range of 40-50 miles, depending charge quality. It’s a good ride and a great alternative to most e- cars. I bought it because I was spending $200-250/month with my gas car and with my budget, that was too much. Now I spend $0. :-D

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Anyone who is (a) reasonably intelligent, and (b) honest/objective (i.e. not emotionally affected by a love of all things Tesla) has realized, based on Tesla’s business model & reporting methodology (or lack thereof), that the company is not a sustainable automaker.

    AT BEST, as argued under purely speculative assumptions about the rate of possible technological improvement (and actual breakthroughs) regarding the capacity of advanced batteries to safely & in a stable manner store much larger quantities of energy, Tesla could, in the best light, be represented as a business that one day may be viable and actually profitable as an advanced, high capacity battery manufacturer (but this, too, is probably extremely unlikely).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This has been beaten to death here, but anyone who’s listened knows it’s not the car anyone can build an EV, “it’s the battery capacity, stupid”

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      I ran into two carloads of Tesla factory reps last year while in Seattle getting a quick passport. After two minutes of questioning, their lack of objective knowledge and experience floored me. They were well dressed cheerleaders, not sharp marketing or financial or even product guys. What goodwill I felt previously was shown to be misguided. Good looking car in the flesh, however.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      DeadWeight – you’re not buying into the Gigafantasy? Shame on you. You must be one of those gol’durn troglodytes who doesn’t realize we are running out of fossil fuels. You gotta recognize that Musk understands Silicon Valley, so he’ll make battery technology subject to Moore’s Law in no time flat. Believe!!!

      • 0 avatar
        mik101

        Wow. I hope you’re being sarcastic otherwise we have someone who is delusional calling someone else a troglodyte here.

        The reality is battery technology is going basically nowhere. Hence manufacturers getting behind fuel cells, which without nuclear has little chance of actually succeeding (and the same goes for EVs really, otherwise we’re just changing who is doing the burning).

        Believe? No more Miracle on 34th Street for you. :)

        Musk and co have lost over a billion dollars in value over the past few weeks.

        There is plenty of fossil fuel left. Saudi Arabia is currently trying to stop the rest of the world from developing those resources by forcing oil prices below where those other alternatives are sustainable (which wouldn’t be possible with any type of constrained supply on their end). Let them run out and then we’ll talk.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      They are very vertically integrated. I interviewed with them (and didn’t make the cut) and they have many joint ventures with Tier 1’s that end up setting up production in their facility, then handing the reigns over to Musk after launch.

      It was a unique glimpse into their organization. The entire interview left me racking my brain as to how their capital could be cost effective in California. I’m no MBA holder, but I can smell bullsh1t a mile away in manufacturing. I’ve done enough ledgers for various Tier 1 accounting departments to ‘see’ profit. Musk’s 1 shift, 50 jobs per hour, early 1900’s vertically integrated operation is pure BS.

      One thing that blew me away was the positive energy that permeated through the environment. Tesla has a culture that is unlike any other manufacturer. It’s like Google but with injection moulding and stamping operations. For this alone, I hope they make it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Sounds like you have a personal gripe against the company, Tres. That kinda invalidates your argument.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          And I’d say he has more qualifications to speak on this issue than anyone else here, unless we have Tesla insiders lurking about.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          I’m not sure I would have accepted the offer. Way too much risk. They sensed I wasn’t keen on their set up. That and I think they wanted someone with more exterior trim experience. I think it worked out for the better of both parties.

          Would I buy their stock? Only with gambling money, and I don’t gamble.

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            Tesla stock is purely speculative. At one point their market capitalization I think was 50 billionish. Yes it is a gamble, but it is a gamble that the hype continues and others push the share price even higher. It may be a decade or more until the fundamentals support todays stock price.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Vulpine: “Sounds like you have a personal gripe against the company, Tres.”

          I didn’t get that vibe at all. Seems to me he personally admires Tesla for a number of reasons but is skeptical of the business for professional reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Vulpine likes to jump on straw men. My bed is made of straw, so come on in Vulpine baby.

            I also was overly harsh in my opinion. If I wasn’t, my posts wouldn’t be so polarizing and fun to read.

            I also didn’t want to make 75k living in San Francisco. I make more than that in the poorest part of the south. Tesla does compensate with stock upon completion of a trial period. That and I believe they promote out of the gate upon recognition of your work.

            I was at a time in my life where I honestly didn’t give a crap about where I ended up (post Mexico). It would have been an interesting ride, but I believe I made the right choice.

            The talent that I interviewed with was unmistakably good. I even interviewed with a few old coworkers. It’s a mesh of various OEM and supply base professionals. They know how to build a car.

            Forgot to mention: the recruiter was incredibly gorgeous (and very up beat).

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            I agree. Tresmonos’ post seemed quite fair to me, as an expression of his views, and he had both positive and negative thoughts to offer.

            Vulpine seems to be trying to pick a fight where none exists.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “Forgot to mention: the recruiter was incredibly gorgeous (and very up beat).”
            I’ve noticed most Tesla Girls are even prettier than the OMD song……

            Musk’s a rock star. Those guys’ always tend to gather around them, a parade of easy on the eyes groupies.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Vulpine:

          “Sounds like you have a personal gripe against the company, Tres. That kinda invalidates your argument.”

          Tresmonos:

          “One thing that blew me away was the positive energy that permeated through the environment. Tesla has a culture that is unlike any other manufacturer. It’s like Google but with injection moulding and stamping operations. For this alone, I hope they make it.”

          “I hope they make it”… Vulpine, if that sounds like a “personal gripe” then everything Pch101 said about you is true, you’re nutz!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Doesn’t Magna Steyr of Austria build entire vehicles for major automakers (VW, Skoda, Jeep, Daimler, etc.) with the automaker of record merely putting their badge on the final product post-production, then selling it to their franchisee dealers?

        I view the whole premise of Tesla as “an automaker” in this same context.

        The making of the chassis, body, etc, is no longer what gives an automaker its persona (though styling can help – but even that can be subcontracted).

        Tesla’s persona is inextricably tied to being the “one” automaker far exceeding what other EV manufacturers can achieve, at any given moment in time, in terms of EV reliability, styling, performance and RANGE.

        And 3 of the 4 attributes above deal with battery technology more so than anything related to garden variety auto manufacturing in the context of Tesla.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That question seems a bit disingenuous, DW. Certainly different brands contract independent factories to build their cars, but those cars are still built to that brand’s specifications, not to the independent’s design. It’s not just “badge engineering” as you imply.

          Tesla on the other hand builds their own from drawing board to final product on-site in California. They don’t–yet–contract manufacturing out to a third party simply because their existing facilities have space to add yet more assembly lines even after upgrading their production capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            They have a supply base >200 sites. That is contract manufacturing.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Supply base” is not final assembly. The argument was that, “… Magna Steyr of Austria build entire vehicles for major automakers…”, meaning final assembly.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Suppliers usually are full service. So…

            “but those cars are still built to that brand’s specifications, not to the independent’s design”

            You are incorrect. The full service aspect of the supplier also was verified in my questions in my interview. While they are much more vertically integrated than other OEM’s, their biggest strength is keeping a significant amount of their manufacturing under their own thumb. Their QOS is very strong because of this. Most of their in house manufacturing involves trim and parts that the customer is directly interfacing with.

            Edit: full service means design and manufacture. Usually a OEM D&R engineer oversees the development and launch of the part.

            Now Vulpine can add this to his ‘industry insider lingo’ like final assembly. lulz

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Damned spam filter. you will just have to wait for my education on the relationship between a OEM and a supplier and how your statement is bull sh1t.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Did you know that Hitler is still alive and is being held in a alien earthbase under the Antarctic ice, it’s true. Now, because of Global Warming the base will soon be exposed and Hitler will return to rule the world

            Vulpine told me, so it must be true

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Now now, Lies; you know as well as I do that he’s on the Moon in a secret Nazi base. The Globe told us so.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Speaking of straw man attacks, Tres… maybe the spam filter stopped your comment from getting on-thread, but it didn’t stop your comments from getting into email.

            As for: “‘but those cars are still built to that brand’s specifications, not to the independent’s design’
            –You are incorrect,”

            Would you mind showing me where an independent manufacturer not only assembles cars for those brands listed but designs them to the point that those brands only badge them? To be quite honest, I’ve never heard of Magna Steyr of Austria ever as a car designer for any brand. I’ll grant that Tata of India is now making cars adopted by other brands, but they also build their own brand of car so it’s not quite the same. Is there a Magna Steyr branded car anywhere in the world?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I recently saw Hitler walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
            He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fook’s
            Going to get a big dish of beef chow mein

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Was Vulpine with him? They’re very tight, crazies are so clannish

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Vulpine,
            OEM’s rarely design anything other than the exterior concept. And maybe a powertrain component or two.

            The above is an exaggeration, but until you become familiar with the term, ‘full service supplier,’ I suspect your industry knowledge is accumulated from the computer in your mom’s basement.

            Magna Steyr is a contract manufacturer, much like Automodular is/was in Oakville. Most Tier 1’s have designers / product engineering. Tier 1’s do it all – design and manufacture.

            Edit: I am an idiot. Magna Steyr is a partnership much like Magna Decoplaste. Magna is one of the largest, if not largest automotive supplier in the world. Google them. They design things.

            In the past, I interfaced with Magna Decoplaste extensively. Now I interface with Magna on a day to day basis.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You mean like Lear here in the US designs interiors? You have a point, true, but somebody still has to set the specifications and since the “platform” is primarily the “frame” around and within which everything needs to be attached, I do have to question who does what, then.
            After all, FCA is supposedly basing the majority of their new products on modified versions of existing US and European Fiat-owned platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Vulpine,
            Packaging is usually done both by the supplier and OEM. General design is initiated from the studio (OEM) then it’s piece mealed together by suppliers and the OEM, alike. Sometimes it’s mostly the supplier. Think of it as a collaboration, then once the design is frozen, it’s 100% supplier with the OEM monitoring quality through the assembly plant and warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      So Panasonic who have committed to investing billions in the gigafactory are neither a or b?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        No, Panasonic, as a de facto bankrupt company (really), is (c) delusional, and (d) hoping to get attention by riding a now fading fad.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          They made some darn fine plasma TVs, though. I’m still chugging along with my 2007 model and it has been perfect. I have no idea what I’ll replace it with once it gives up the ghost.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Since Panasonic has negative net cash flow & a massive debt load, I’m waiting on their cold fusion technology to come on line before I upgrade them to a strong buy.

        • 0 avatar
          dash riprock

          Uhm…..how in financial terms, is Panasonic defacto bankrupt?

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            They have a positive net cash flow that is improving

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            No snark intended, but honestly, do some research.

            Panasonic is a junk rated company with a truly staggering pile of accumulated debt and a contracting business model as well as contracting margins (with far more quarters of financial losses than gains).

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            Thanks for the lack of snark. You are a kind and forgiving soul.

            S & P and Moody’s assign Panasonic debt investment grade status.

            Tokyo, July 09, 2014 — Moody’s Japan K.K. has upgraded Panasonic Corporation’s long-term senior unsecured debt ratings and issuer rating to Baa2 from Baa3.
            The positive rating outlook reflects Moody’s view that Panasonic will likely maintain adjusted debt/EBITDA around 2.0x on a consistent basis over the next 12-18 months. This is based on our expectation that the company can also maintain current profitability, given its competitive market position in the housing- and automotive-related businesses; and further reduce losses in its TV and semiconductor businesses.
            This was mainly due to the company’s efforts for a large reduction in debt. Panasonic’s management is strongly committed to debt reduction, and reported that debt had declined to JPY642.1 billion at FYE03/2014 from JPY1,143.4 billion at FYE3/2013.

            Standard and Poors gives Panasonic a bbb rating

            Honestly DW, when you do your “research” give extra consideration to when the research was published.

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            Spam filter got me, so without the quotes.

            Moody’s and S&P give Panasonic investment grade status with a stable or positive forward view.

            Their debt has been cut almost in half.

            Their interest costs are rapidly decreasing

            Their forward earning guidance is positive.

            As mentioned they are profitable( after some ugly times and a restructuring)

            Thank you for no, or little, snark. In the same spirit I suggest that when you do your “research” you give extra consideration to research items dated more recently.

            Cheers

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            DW…..both Moody’s and S & P have Panasonic as investment grade with a stable or positive forward view . They have cut their debt and interest payments significantly.

            Here is some snark free advice right back at ya. When doing your “research”, focus on the more recent news.

            cheers

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I have to take this article with a grain of salt; there’s simply too much conjecture and too many assumptions being made on remarkably little data. In other words, the headline is more sensationalism than reality.

    What are the real numbers? Who knows. I mean, it’s like electronics where one company declares a certain number of product sold while another declares a higher number of a similar product “shipped”. Which is truth, which is facetious?

    The one thing about Tesla is that they don’t build until they have an order–i.e. money up front. You can’t say that about any other automaker at this time except maybe for the guys building new DeLorians using 35-year-old parts. They currently build the best car *of its type* in the world, but that can change at any time.

    For now I support them as a true game changer for the EV technology–one that makes it much, much more difficult for any given group to just sweep their product under the rug as too disruptive. The mid-’60s Chrysler turbine car vanished after only a few years on the road as a kind of ‘lease’ that the drivers absolutely loved. The early ’90s Oldsmobile EV-1 was literally ripped from owner’s hands–owners who absolutely loved their cars. Both the Turbine and the EV-1 were built in very limited numbers that were relatively easily hidden away with, as far as I know, only two drivable Turbine cars in existence and no EV-1s to be found anywhere. With now 50,000 or more Tesla Model Ses on the road in multiple countries, they simply can’t be stuffed under the rug as easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “What are the real numbers? Who knows”

      um, that’s the point of the article. Legally a public company has to tell you what the “real numbers” are, or they can go to jail

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        No, Lie2, they don’t. At least, not in a public venue. Samsung always says “units shipped” even in their quarterly reports while Apple says, “units sold”. They imply that the two figures are the same but it is quite clear that they aren’t. If a given percentage of “units shipped” is used to replace defective product, then it’s not sold. In the case of Tesla vs others, they report units sold even though they may not yet be shipped. For legal purposes, it’s very probable that they report a unit sold when they receive the cash deposit on a new order which means one vehicle that hasn’t even been built yet.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          How do you feel about investing in a company that uses such “creative accounting” practices? If you’re ok with it then I’ve got a couple of “sure fire” investments I’d like you to cons1der

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          Vulpine, Samsung shares are listed on the Korean Stock Exchange and as Global Depository Receipts (GDR) on theLondon/Luxembourg Stock Exchanges. They are not listed in the US, so the company is not subject to US reporting rules. Rules in other countries are different, in may respects.

          Which means you can’t compare Samsung’s public reporting to Apple’s.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Perhaps, ect, but Samsung sure tries to compare their “shipped” products to Apple’s “sold” products and despite supposedly “shipping” more than 3x as many smartphones as Apple “sold”, they’re losing money on the product and struggling to remain relevant with that product.

            My point is that because Tesla’s operations are so different, their reporting is also rather different for exactly the reasons the article’s author points out–that they report “shipped” automobiles as ‘sold’ in the same way Samsung reports ‘shipped’ smartphones as ‘sold’–putting the onus on the point-of-sale locations to report any actual sales.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Even in the face of convincing evidence you’re still going to compare apples (pun) to oranges and actually believe your argument to be sound. Keep your Tesla stock and hope for the best, because as time continues to pass on the magic that is Tesla hope may be all you have left

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Losing money? Samsung reported operating profit on their smartphone business of $1.6 billion in 2014 Q3. Down sharply from 2013 Q3, to be sure, but still a profit.

            2014 YTD (9 months) operating profit for this business unit is around $10 billion.

            I’d take that kind of “loss” any day.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Lately, Samsung (ticker: 005930.Korea) is very much out of favor with investors, due to plunging profit in its largest business, mobile phones.” — http://online.barrons.com/articles/samsung-why-the-stock-could-jump-50-1413005581

            Now, I’ll grant that since October the stock has jumped again, but I still have to question what changed to make such a sudden leap back up.

            An additional statement from the same article says, “SAMSUNG’S SHARPLY lower cellphone profit is weighing on overall earnings and scaring away investors. In its preliminary financial report for the third quarter, released last week, the company reported operating earnings of about $3.8 billion, below already reduced expectations, and down 60% from the year-earlier period. Estimated cellphone profit plunged by nearly two-thirds, to $1.5 billion.”

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The Seeking Alpha data seems questionable. I’m not sure if they’re considering the time lag of the registration data. Not sure what the delay is, but I have a hard time believing the government is competent enough to provide instantaneous data.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Small correction: the EV1 was the first and only car sold as a GM, not Oldsmobile or any other division.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Look again. Quite frequently it carried the Oldsmobile brand in magazine articles and reviews.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I just did a search, could find zero to verify your “Oldsmobile EV1” claim

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The EV-1 was only branded “GM”. I’ve seen enough up close to know.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            http://www.fiero.nl/forum/Archives/Archive-000002/HTML/20090907-1-070300-2.html

            Search for EV1 on that page and you’ll find a photo of a cutaway EV1. If you look closely, you’ll see the badge on the nose is Oldsmobile-shaped, not GM shaped.

            I will grant that it is difficult to locate any of the historical data, but this is hardly the only mention of Oldsmobile in relation to the EV1. Maybe if you checked the print magazines that first discussed the EV1, you might find a vehicle known as the “Impact”, which later became the EV1. I could throw conspiracy theories around the same way others already have about the EV1’s demise, but I do remember Oldsmobile’s name consistently attached to the earlier EV1.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s a GM badge.

            Just like this one that I have seen in person at the R E Olds Museum:

            http://reoldsmuseum.org/files/reoldsmuseum.org/IMG_1057.JPG

        • 0 avatar

          Incorrect.

          The EV1 was badged soley as a ‘GM’ car. It was distributed through Saturn retailers.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      If anyone noticed, it took about a year before he was able to realize the original Wagoneer was BOF, thats with me posting probably 10 pictures and 10 articles proving it.
      As if literally seeing the evidence wasn’t enough to prove the point the first time.

      But as for the EV1 being under Oldsmobile? Have to disagree that’s around the time (1999) GM contracted AM General for the Hummer name, therefore there’s no doubt it was branded as a Hummer.
      /sarc

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Of course, GM naturally would put the EV1 under the Eco-conscience Hummer. What were we thinking? Doesn’t matter that the EV1 was discontinued about the same time GM acquired Hummer

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I dunno man, I thought it was so obvious myself.

          On a serious note, rockauto has the EV1 listed on the site, and it’s under the brand “GM”.

          Correction, they did a few months ago, my phone at least, won’t pull it up, so I have no idea if you can still find it.

          Edit#2, you can search “rockauto ev1” and the rockauto link comes up under the brand name “General Motors”, but there are no longer any parts listings. As of earlier this year (2014) the link had maintence items and brake parts.

          Edit#3, I’m just posting interesting tidbits, I’m not here to repudiate anything, just so we’re clear.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Still haven’t found that particular book, not that I really care.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I have two questions about Tesla/Musk:

    “When given the opportunity to blow Musk, who will elbow each other out of the way so they can be first? Will it be his fanboys or the press.?”

    “How much of a click bait effect does a story about Musk/Tesla have over other comparable stories?”

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I have an issue with this editorial: a fair amount of time is spend is talking about manufacturers channel-stuffing at the expense of dealers. In Tesla’s case, that doesn’t really make any sense as Tesla doesn’t use franchised dealers.

    Why would Tesla game itself? This isn’t like GM arm-twisting dealers to take models to qualify for financing or incentive cash, or Samsung “selling” phones to AT&T; this would show up on Tesla’s books as inventory either way.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      THAT was rattling around my empty brain-case while I read the article. Maybe Tesla withholds sales numbers in an attempt to achieve some sort of “buffer” that the OEM’s already have with their huge dealer networks?

      It may be a “spirit vs. letter of the law” thing to keep the stock price somewhat stable (?).

  • avatar
    carguy949

    And yet… If demand and sales are down, why are current orders promised delivery in March? When I ordered my Model S last March there was a 6 week wait, not 3 months. Since then, they’ve increased factory capacity which should shorten lead times not extend them if demand is flat or down.

    I brought my car in for service in November and instead of giving me a Tesla loaner, I got a C-class from Enterprise because they sold all the loaners.

    Finally, those individuals contacting Tesla trying to buy a car out of inventory are told of very limited selection, usually no more then a couple of cars available.

    None of this fits with what the pundits are saying, or with the title of this article.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      A very good question, carguy. It would appear there is a concerted effort to downplay Tesla by their competitors (not necessarily automotive companies themselves) due to the way it is disrupting their own businesses. This may even be one reason why gas prices are suddenly so low (Yes, I know. Conspiracy theory.) Whatever the reason, Tesla has proven itself over and over again as more capable than any other BEV–admittedly at a higher price–and they’ve sold enough cars to have a statistical impact on the auto industry–even if slight. Before the first Tesla, the most EV-capable car was the Toyota Prius–which still needed a gasoline engine as a prime mover. Since the Tesla, even hybrids have gone to pushing at least some electric-only range.

  • avatar
    Andy

    They’ve no need to lie. As the story concluded, what they’ve done is impressive in its own right. And it’s short sighted to try and hide the inventory. Just let the product speak for itself. Let’s face it, there’s a limited market for cars this expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “Let’s face it, there’s a limited market for cars this expensive.”
      But not for pickup trucks in the same price ranges? Granted, the typical price of the Tesla runs close to $100K but you can start at less than $70K per their own website (plus add-on charges taking it to roughly $71K). Full size pickups priced at over $50K are now selling more than other luxury cars in the matching price range. So I find the idea of a “limited market” as somewhat facetious as the prices of much more common vehicles approach that same lofty area.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, there is a limited-market for a boutique toy.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The truck at least has utility the Tesla has zero

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Comparing the market of the Model S to that of pickup trucks? Hopeless.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Sorry danio. Out in left field again. I was not comparing the “market” of the Model S to pickups, I was comparing the PRICE of the Model S to pickups. The simple fact that pickup trucks are in the price range of the Model S means that the Model S is NOT in the range of “limited market for cars this expensive”.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re missing the salient point that the market itself is limited. The Model S is something you MAY purchase in place of a highline ______ as your third, forth, or otherwise ancillary car.

            Its easy to justify the purchase of a $70k Diesel truck on the grounds of resale value, longevity of the drivetrain, capacity for hauling/towing, all-terrain capability, and the very real ability of it to be your ONLY vehicle.

            To justify the purchase of a Model S, your personal enjoyment of electric vehicles has to overcome the fact that it has limited range versus a gasoline car, you cannot use it for long-distance the same as you can use a gasoline car, it takes more than five minutes to fill-up versus a gasoline car, and you have to accept the limitations of Teslas lack of dealer/service infrastructure versus its class competitors.

            I’m not trying to pigeohole the success of the thing, but it IS playing in a limited i.e. boutique marketplace of people who have the income and personal flexibility to buy a $70-100k car they do not necessarily have to rely on for primary transportation.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            If I’m out in left field, then you’re out on Pluto in comparison.

            There is unquestionably a limited marketplace for 100k electric boutique cars. The fact that they transact for similar prices as some trucks is meaningless.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            ” then you’re out on Pluto”

            He talks like he’s out of Uranus

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            A Tesla (particularly an 85) could be your only car if you live in a city just as easily as a HD pickup could be your only car if you live outside a city.

            The converse is also true; it would be pretty much impossible for someone in a city to have a HD truck as their only car. You couldn’t actually drive it anywhere because you couldn’t park it.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “To justify the purchase of a Model S, your personal enjoyment of electric vehicles has to overcome the fact that it has limited range versus a gasoline car, you cannot use it for long-distance the same as you can use a gasoline car, it takes more than five minutes to fill-up versus a gasoline car, and you have to accept the limitations of Teslas lack of dealer/service infrastructure versus its class competitors.”

            Who are it’s class competitors, though? It gets reasonable range (400-500km is about what my Honda Fit could do) and isn’t much more deficiency in the dealer network versus other luxury marques. Certainly there’s at least one major Tesla store in most major cities.

            About the only serious hangup is a the charge time.

            Other than that, they’re probably a better choice in this market than, say, a Panamera or Jaguar XF/XJ is, and compare pretty favourably to a comparable 5er/E-Class/A6-A7.

            Pickup trucks? No, that’s not a valid comparison. Mind you, it’d be equally silly to compare a pickup truck to a Jaguar XJ, and yet there’s a huge lack of “the XJ isn’t praaaaactical” commentary.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            All your points add up to a fairly impractical vehicle, but then again from my vantage point any vehicle in this price category smacks of impracticality, some more then others. The telling tale for me is that Teslas are rarely it’s owner’s sole vehicle and is usually stable mated with something more practical relegating them to “show” or “hobby” status or “toy”

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @psarhjinian: I agree. And when you consider that the typical fuel stop on a road trip often includes extra time to grab snacks, drinks or maybe even a full sit-down meal, the “5-minute refuel” suddenly stretches out to 15-20 minutes or even a full hour or more. In years of driving multi-thousand-mile trips my usual routine was to refuel every six hours (avg. 300 miles) and stop for gas, food and restroom/loo. After three such stops, I’d take an 8-hour nap and resume. Sure, the Tesla may cut me down to 5 hours or so (depending on driving style) but my average speed would hardly be affected over the entire trip.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Lies, you just hit the proverbial nail: “… from my vantage point any vehicle in this price category smacks of impracticality, some more then others.” It really does depend on the buyer as to which vehicle is more practical than others. For someone like me whose average daily drive clearly exceeds the EV range of the Volt but falls under the Leaf, then the Leaf might be the more practical vehicle for me. On the other hand, while that range covers roughly 80% of my driving, another 15% or more exceeds 100 miles but still falls under the 200-mile range; the base 65kWh Model S covers that and to spare–I could even drive to the in-Laws on a single charge. On the other hand, if I want to drive to my own mother’s house, that’s a 650-mile drive or roughly two in-route charges on I-81 (already in place) which would make me really want the 265-mile, 85kWh Tesla instead–which would then meet all my needs for a daily driver except the tasks for which I need 4×4 and/or an open bed. So for me, a Tesla Model S is eminently a more practical vehicle. And I don’t have to buy a drop of gas to drive it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It still always gets back to needing a 2nd car to support your Tesla habit

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            So how many families don’t already have second or even third car? Trying to claim that ANY car can be a family’s ONLY car is simply facetious.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Lots of single people and retired couples only have one car

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            So how much of the US population is considered “single, not living with partner” or some such? I was single, living with partner for 4 years before I married her. And you can’t exactly discount singles living with roommates in one household, either. You’re playing with a very tiny segment of the American population with that excuse.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> you cannot use it for long-distance the same as you can use a gasoline car

            Sure you can. My bladder doesn’t last as long as my car’s battery. When I’m on a long car trip in a gas car, I still will stop for bathroom and snack breaks.

            The advantage with the electric is that you don’t have to stand there squeezing the handle of a pump. Unlike a gas car, you can stand in line for food, catch up with your email or TTAC, or take a bathroom break while your car charges.

            I occasionally have a 100 mile round trip commute. Before I gained confidence in the cars range, I was stopping for quick top up charges. Now, even in 20 degree weather, I go non-stop from home to the office where I plug in to an L2 charger. Before lunch, the car is at 100%. Then, I can drive all the way home without stopping. So, I never have to stop for a charge. If I used one of the three gas cars parked at home, I’d have to stop at a gas station every 4 days or so and pump.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “So how many families don’t already have second or even third car? Trying to claim that ANY car can be a family’s ONLY car is simply facetious.”

            Lie2me is right, there are lots. We’re one of them, and have been for over a decade.

            In her real estate business, as I’ve commented before, my wife sees lots of them – including a lot of young singles and couples who have no car at all, and empty-nester boomers (like us) who figure out they don’t need the more than 1 car.

            Urban condos, especially, are being built with either 0 or 1 parking space included. Only at the very top end do you see units with 2 spaces.

            And the proliferation of car-sharing services makes it easy to arrange a second car on those occasions when you do need it.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            mcs, I don’t buy your argument. With an ICE car, I spend a couple minutes every 400 miles or so pumping gas, and I can find a gas station almost anywhere. Yes, I can make longer stops when/where I choose, and incorporate the couple of minutes to refuel into those, at my convenience.

            With an electric, I’d have to stop every 200 miles or so, and wait around for 1 1/2 hours, whether I like it or not. I’d also have to plan my stops around the available of high-speed charging stations, which significantly complicates travel planning.

            The reality is that the battery and recharging technology in electric cars is not advanced enough that most people could contemplate electrics as a viable option for a 1-car household. Maybe someday, but certainly not now.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @ect: Why do you choose to grossly exaggerate such figures when we both know they’re wrong? “… and wait around for 1 1/2 hours, whether I like it or not.” Where do you get this figure? Certainly not from Tesla or any Tesla owner that I know of. As has been said before, you can be doing other things while your car is charging, something you simply can’t legitimately do when pumping gas (though I’ve seen people do it to the extreme annoyance of other people wanting to refuel).

            A: Refueling a car typically takes three minutes to pump 16 gallons of gas–when including pre-payment at the pump but not including drive-up and drive-away times.
            B: During this time, the station operators request you stay with your vehicle both to minimize any delay once the pumping is finished and to be available should a pumping emergency occur such as a stuck nozzle refusing to shut off. After all, by now most people who pump their own gas know how to free the handle.
            C: Recharging a Tesla from completely drained takes no more than an hour to give an effective full charge and typically takes 40 minutes or less since most people don’t let it drain that far. You’re typically good for 150 miles or so in a mere 20 minutes due to the 70% rule of charging capacitors (which is what these ‘batteries’ really are.)
            D: You are NOT required or even requested to remain by your car during the charging process, which means going in to the convenience store, restaurant or whatever doesn’t have to feel rushed and you’re not going to be forcing other people to wait in the same manner as (B:) above.
            E. Even if BEVs completely replaced ICEs on the roads, there would be fewer cars needing to recharge at any one time simply due to the fact that most of them would be starting EVERY trip with a full charge and by then the recharging infrastructure would have filled out and accommodated the demand–which will still be far less than the demand for gasoline stations today.

            I will agree that right now the technology isn’t ubiquitous enough to be an only car, but it’s certainly advanced enough; there’s a difference between capability and availability. Right this day the technology is capable enough to meet ALL of my needs as long as I’m willing to hire a contractor or landscaper for my home maintenance needs the way most people do. The only reason I would thus need two cars is that I have two independent drivers in the house who on occasion need to go in two different directions at the same time. Given time, the technology will be ubiquitous enough to make BEVs more practical and the cost will be within range of almost all drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Answer me one question if you can Vulpine, why don’t you drive an EV?

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            How is it that this argument over practicality is over a 50k vehicle vs a 90k vehicle. Low to mid 20’s sounds much more practical to me.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Answer me one question if you can Vulpine, why don’t you drive an EV?”
            Because I’m waiting on one of two specific models. The III is extremely tempting and a fall-back model if a hinted-at model doesn’t materialize, but the one I’m really waiting for is the pickup truck–assuming it isn’t full-sized as the current trucks claim full-sized.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You do know that other people beside Tesla make EVs, don’t you? Oops, I see, this isn’t an EV thing at all, it’s a Tesla thing. Man you must have your entire retirement invested in Tesla, Yikes!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You do know that other people bes1de Tesla make EVs, don’t you? Oops, I see, this isn’t an EV thing at all, it’s a Tesla thing. Man you must have your entire retirement invested in Tesla, Yikes!

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “Why do you choose to grossly exaggerate such figures when we both know they’re wrong? “… and wait around for 1 1/2 hours, whether I like it or not.” Where do you get this figure?”

            A few months ago, there was a 3-part series n TTAC written by a Tesla owner, describing his experience with the car. One of those involved a trip to a Tesla supercharger site.

            IIRC, he observed that a 1-hour recharge time was doable if there were no other cars using the same station. When other cars were recharging as well, the charge rate slowed significantly, to around 1 1/2 hours – which is more likely to be the case in real life.

            I’m writing this from memory, so I could be wrong on the precise times involved. But any way you slice it, if your objective is to get from point A to B in a day of driving (say, 500-600 miles) it’s going to take a lot more time in a contemporary EV than in an ICE vehicle.

            Existing EV battery capacity/charging technology is simply not ready for prime time.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Ok, ect, I accept your explanation; I remember that article as well. However, that is an anecdotal example that may or may not be representative of the Supercharger network in general and you have to take that into consideration. While I do not have a Tesla myself, in Newark, Delaware at the interstate rest-stop/services center there are four Supercharger stands–not five miles from where I live. I will also acknowledge that I’ve never seen more than one Tesla hooked up to those stands at any one time. Maybe it would be a good idea to try out some of these other locations outside of California to see how they perform by comparison.

            What that article did point out is that at least in California, Tesla is a rather popular car. Considering that I’ve seen at least two different Tesla Model S cars driving in local traffic (as compared to through highways and interstates) I have to guess that some few are actually owned outside of major metropolitan areas (even if the NEC is considered a Megalopolis).

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Lies: “You do know that other people beside Tesla make EVs, don’t you?”

            You DO know that most of those EVs are not available where I live, don’t you? Oops! Maybe they finally will be considering a newer TTAC article mentioning how 9 other states are adopting California’s ZEV laws. But they’re not here yet. The Fiat 500e (as an example) still claims, “Not available except in California and Oregon” on its web page.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I think everyone’s pretty much over Tesla by now. They’re one-trick ponies but most people need a mule.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I had a good point, but fear of typing it in only to have it eaten by bad tech overcame me.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    1st, Tesla stock is most likely down as a result of the low oil / gas prices.
    2nd. Tesla does not have a dealer network so its impossible to accuse them or even imply they are guilty of the same dealer sales reporting dishonesty discussed here.
    3rd. I would guess the “missing” registrations are as a result of Teslas registered in a different State to the one they were bought in. Not all States allow Tesla direct sales but that, by no means, means people in those states don’t buy them.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Tesla does not have a dealer network so its impossible to accuse them or even imply they are guilty of the same dealer sales reporting dishonesty discussed here.”

      I have to agree. Much of this article’s point is in rehashes sales practices that, while familiar to the author, having nothing to do with how Tesla actually operates.

      I didn’t want to say it this strongly, but this is a pretty basic logical flaw, and it results in the article amounting to little more than a straw man.

      This isn’t to say Tesla doesn’t have problems; just that this editorial does, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Lynch

        Manufacturers pressure or bribe dealers to falsify sales numbers, it is rarely the dealers doing it on their own. As Tesla has no dealers and does not have to play such games, it appears they simply report whatever numbers they feel like, numbers far higher than the registrations reflect.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          Then you’d see inventory piling up in Tesla’s financials.

          It’s high, but it isn’t “channel-stuffing” high. ETA: it’s also accompanied by higher revenues and costs of goods sold.

          Tesla is a public company. They can’t just not report a huge pileup of inventory and no corresponding sales, and without dealers to dump stock onto, they can’t hide it, either.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            If Tesla is content to use fuzzy accounting practices in general, why should their financial statements be trusted to tell an accurate story of the inventory or where the missing cars went?

            The real question is, why won’t they report like other automakers? What exact nonsense is Elon afraid of the media reading into?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Maybe the media is already reading too much nonsense into a hearsay argument. The simple fact that Tesla doesn’t have to play the games every other automaker plays means that their reporting is likely far more accurate than the guesses made by people who have no direct contact with the company.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Tesla’s “fuzzy” accounting comes from the fact that it pushes non-GAAP statements out in advance of its SEC filings so that the media focuses on Tesla’s parsing instead of on the GAAP numbers. It’s a way to fool the dumb money that doesn’t realize that apples and oranges are being compared.

            That’s a bit dodgy, but that doesn’t mean that it is engaging in fraudulent reporting. The recent claims about channel stuffing appear to me to be complete nonsense, suggesting that the party who made the allegations can’t read a financial statement.

            “why won’t they report like other automakers?”

            Most automakers report US figures monthly. Tesla reports global figures quarterly because those numbers are necessarily bigger, and bigger is better. Compared to other automakers, Tesla’s output is a tiny drop in a big bucket.

  • avatar
    redav

    What of all the demo cars they use for ‘driving events’? They certainly get too much wear and tear to be sold as new. Perhaps the company lists them as sold, and that inflates their numbers. However, I see no way they can account for such a short fall. Tesla may have a few hundred of cars like this each year.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I looked at the seeking alpha article and it’s based on Tesla sales ending last day of Sept, US registration data end of sept, export data end of august, and a WSJ guess as to what exports were in Sept. For the record, I took delivery on a car at the end of sept and didn’t register until mid October. I’d definitely question the wsj guess at the numbers. When does the export data register? When it leaves the port? How long between the production date and when they register the export?. Also, there is no data on delayed registrations like mine. The data just isn’t solid enough to draw any conclusions.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Well production didn’t start in September, what about the individuals that bought in August and didn’t register until September?
      I’m not really trying to take sides but the registration is a decent measure, as it may not record those that bought in said month but registered a month later, but it may record those that bought a month earlier and registered in said month.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I posted a response, but basically the coin has two s*des.

      I’m not trying to take a position on Tesla, but you can’t ignore those who bought in August but registered in September. Tesla could easily post the numbers themselves, but until then registration is the best measurement.

      Maybe my other post will show up.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    “Actual registration numbers for the same period were 11,731 cars, a full 40% below the sales figures.”

    For Tesla specifically, those registration numbers might not be indicative of actual cars sold. Tesla’s biggest market is urban coastal California, and one thing Californians who buy expensive cars tend to do is avoid registering them as long as possible.

    There’s many, many high-dollar rides going around Santa Monica with dealer placards where the license plate is supposed to be – some surely months after purchase. Has to be given so many are like that, its a local quirk around SoCal I noticed when I moved to San Diego ten years before, and is just as true in Santa Monica now.

    I’d bet a couple thousand of those Teslas ‘missing’ between the sales and registration numbers are rolling that way, and will be long as the owners can reasonably get away with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I believe there is a 3mos grace period for registration in Ca. used to be 6mos. I’ve seen this explanation before, but what happened to the cars purchased and not registered 3mos. ago? At some point wouldn’t these registrations start showing up and theoretically balance the books?

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        I would imagine these sales have to show up eventually, yes. However this is first time I’ve seen a comparison between registrations and sales for Teslas; given both California’s registration habits and the state’s impact on Tesla, this discrepancy – a constant trailing edge of registrations lagging sales – might be normal property of the vehicle’s sales history. Just a thought.

        I can say I’ve seen a Tesla go by the street below our office since I wrote the original comment, and sure enough it had a Tesla placard instead of a plate.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    TTAC sez:

    >> At American Honda from the 1970s to the early 1990s, dealers reported every car sold at the end of each month or they risked losing precious future allocations.

    Falsifying is bad no matter what, but that aside, why should it be so scandalous for manufacturers to require dealers to report sales? If I were a manufacturer, forget the end of the month. I’d want the dealers logging every sale into my database pretty much at the time of sale, so I could have a constant near real-time picture of how my cars are selling.

    Tesla can already do that. Advantage: vertical integration.

  • avatar

    Mars, bishes!! While you simpletons are arguing about monthly sales, our Supreme leader Elon has moved on…. to mining Mars. In the next few years Tesla will start mining Mars and transport diamonds using space hyperloop. The expected profits are four hundred trillion dollars every hour.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Bringing all these Mars diamonds to Earth will ruin the diamond market, forcing Debeers and others to buy massive quantities of oil in order to supercompress their own mega diamonds, thereby driving up oil prices, thereby making Teslas more appealing to car buyers! It’s the perfect plan!

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yeah, I hope Elon has a “B” plan, because his “A” plan sucks. Diamonds!?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Elon’s plan ‘B’ is Space-X. It carries just about everything he envisions as future projects.

          And, Space-X is Israel’s accomplished ICBM R&D platform, paid for by the US government space interests.

          As my brother-in-law told me, “Sweet!”

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            “And, Space-X is Israel’s accomplished ICBM R&D platform, paid for by the US government space interests.”

            Huh? Israeli ICBM/Shavit launcher predates SpaceX, and uses solids instead of RP/LOX.

            You’re getting some tinfoil-attire worthy info somewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m going to plead ignorance on the claim, but why does this nation require nuclear ICBM capability? I’m very serious.

            Everyone knows they have bombs which they shouldn’t have, and have had them since the late 1960s. If something awful were to occur on such a scale, everyone knows they will find ways to deliver these weapons in kind or order their vassals in D.C to retaliate for them. But ICBMs are kinda an offensive weapon capability don’tcha think? Wasn’t Iron Dome courtesy of the US taxpayer enough? Who is really the aggressor here? Why was it acceptable to hit Osirak but it portrayed as unthinkable for someone to hit Dimona?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Opera

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negev_Nuclear_Research_Center

            Interesting fact:

            “Payload Specialist: Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force and the first Israeli astronaut.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia_disaster

            “In 1981 he was the youngest pilot taking part in Operation Opera, Israel’s strike against Iraq’s unfinished Osiraq nuclear reactor. The facility was destroyed, killing ten Iraqi soldiers and one French researcher.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilan_Ramon

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            “I’m going to plead ignorance on the claim, but why does this nation require nuclear ICBM capability? I’m very serious.”

            I couldn’t answer as to why Israel ‘needs’ ICBM capability; it is worth observing none of the surrounding states have started a war with Israel since Yom Kippur, which is about the time Israel became de facto nuclear power. Israel does launch their own spysats using Shavit, and they have to launch them due west owing to geography – which means they’ve had an ICBM since they’ve had Shavit.

            Also, the story of Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons reads like a unbelievable spy novel – and it almost exclusively involves a fading colonial France, not the superpower United States.

            In so much as the unfortunate Ilan Ramon is concerned, his pedigree as a pilot jibes perfectly with typical nation-state’s desire that their first astronaut be one of their best pilots. I don’t see anything deeper going on there than that.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    These speculative articles are nonsensical. I don’t own tesla stock and think the stock price is way overinflated but the company is not some crap fad nor are they likely to be cooking the numbers. Supply is still constrained entirely by production and while US registrations may be down this is likely due to the fact that the cars made in the US are now split with Europe and Asia for final markets. I know people who own model s’s, people who pt down a deposit and canceled, and people who still plan on buying one and i will say that none of the recent changes in gas price would have affected their purchases either way. They’re practical luxury cars that seat up to 7 so there is no real competition.

    Tesla might be a public company now but there is no incentive for musk to cook the books for a quarter, he’s consistently shown long term vision with his multiple companies so it’s bizarre that all of a sudden people are accusing Tesla of classic Big 3 behavior. Projecting much?

    I’ll tell you that when Tesla was at $22 I placed a limit order at $20 because I thought $22 was a little too high. Order never filled, lol. They still have a lot of promise in my opinion but yeah the stock has been behaving like Amazon.com stock and it needs to come back to reality. The company itself I really do think will be a major player in the years to come, regardless of short term oil prices.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      I bought Tesla @$35 back in early 2013 after seeing the cars pop up in California everywhere; they had pastiche of an internet startup among the internet startup-set, so I figured the stock would be good for $70 or so.

      Rode the herd to about $190 and the stock’s first big downturn; I bailed at $150-ish figuring it bounced hard off $200 ceiling and would not be back.

      No regrets; even though I missed out on a lot of appreciation, I wasn’t stressed over the stock like I was getting before selling it.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        That is called good stress!

        Tekdemon described how I feel about Tesla by comparing it to Amazon. Hard for me to invest in a company when I cannot visualize when they are going to be profitable

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, that all was illuminating.

    I know precisely no more nor less than I did before I read the post and associated comments.

    But the journey was just terrific.

  • avatar
    mags1110

    dee’s carz r stoopid

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Tesla shares certainly look like a bubble to me. They have actually made the classic “head and shoulders” pattern recently. As of 16Dec14 – $197 down from $297 in 90 days.

    They have a single luxury product with a limited and easily saturated market. Always dubious, their big upside story that the world is running out of oil has once again been debunked by recent events. Its basic technology cannot provide enough range between refueling witch takes way too long.

    A beautiful and well-engineered toy.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “They have a single luxury product with a limited and easily saturated market”, which apparently isn’t saturated yet with a total of over 50,000 cars sold since the model came out and apparently still selling them faster than they can make them. Inventory? As the original article’s commenters pointed out, the likelihood of any standing inventory awaiting shipment overseas is rather high. Considering the cost of shipping on those purpose-built car-hauling ships is probably rather high, they probably want to fill the ship rather than trying to go “space-A” on one.

  • avatar
    baconator

    This whole flap goes back to one Merrill analyst who is (1) excluding some international registrations, for which data is not available, from his estimate, (2) making a very debatable assumption about the average transaction price of a Tesla to estimate how many units are represented by the in-process inventory dollar figure, and (3) assuming that all in-process inventory represents undelivered finished units of Model S sedans.

    This is a bogus flap.

    Honestly, from a stock price perspective it’s almost irrelevant whether Tesla sold 15k cars or 25k cars this year. Their current enterprise value is 9.2x sales. It could be 15x or 7x – it’s still way beyond the peer group of other automakers. To believe the company’s current value is warranted, you have to believe that the company will sell a couple hundred thousand vehicles a few years from now and beyond, at a profit. I wouldn’t bet against Musk’s team pulling that off – people thought the Honda 600 was just a hippie toy back in the 70s and look how that turned out – but it’s not a sure thing that they will.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      @baconator

      Right on!

      I recommended this stock at $297 USD 90 days ago. So at $197 USD it is an even better deal.

      Don’t ya just love Wall Street stock analysts.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “people thought the Honda 600 was just a hippie toy back in the 70s”

      And it absolutely *was* that in the beginning. Dave, my boss on my first student job drove the wheels off his, ponytail flying in the windows-down turbulence as he tried to beat all the other townies off campus at 5 pm.

      Dave had dropped out of the physics program to endure a state-employee service job so he and some fellow hippies could buy a farmhouse and about 20 acres. So instead of going hard-core hippie and doing a completely independent gig untethered from the Man, like Tesla, Dave remained dependent upon the existing infrastructure for sustenance, like his Honda.

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