When I posted Friday's QOTD, I was wondering if perhaps I was overthinking things. I wondered how Tesla boss Elon Musk owning Twitter -- a social-media platform used by Tesla's competitors -- would affect the automotive industry and the automotive press.
Apparently, I am not the only one with concerns.
Elon Musk has sold an estimated $4 billion worth of Tesla stock days this week after reaching a $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter. Regulatory filing show the CEO offloading nearly 4.5 million shares of the automaker between April 26th and the 27th.
The timing of the transaction makes the why of the situation fairly obvious. Despite the resulting political hubbub, Musk reached an agreement on April 25th to acquire Twitter. The deal was tied up with tens of billions of dollars worth of his Tesla shares to support margin loans after the executive said he could come up with $21 billion in equity. While some questioned where the funding would come from, others claimed it was obvious.
By now, save for only the least informed gearheads, almost everyone has heard Elon Musk has been successful, at least to this point, in his quest to buy Twitter. This development has caused no shortage of natterings in all corners of the internet, with tech blogs suddenly discovering the unpredictable and sometime unfathomable morass that is Musk’s social media presence. Auto journalists have been dealing with such issues for years.
One surprising result of the Twitter buyout? Henrik Fisker, boss of an EV company which ostensibly competes with Tesla, has packed up camp and disappeared.
When Tesla boss Elon Musk expressed a desire to buy Twitter last week, citing an absolutist vision of free speech as at least one reason behind his motivations, one had to wonder if his running afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission over one of his tweets played a part.
To be sure, even if Twitter had no regulations moderating speech on the platform, Musk (or anyone in a similar position) could violate SEC regulations via tweet — a platform’s rules don’t protect someone from the Feds’ regs.
I am an optimist by nature. One must be, in order to be a lifelong Chicago sports fan — otherwise, the crushing realization that decades of failure are likely to be followed by a future that consists of more of the same might cause a person to take a one-way stroll into Lake Michigan.
I am trying to retain that optimism even as more and more evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, emerges that social media has warped humanity’s brains beyond recognition. I try to see some value in it — surely your second cousin twice removed would be unaware of your recent Jamaican vacation and how much fun you had YOLO’ing if you didn’t have a Facebook account, right?
Surely your 10 Twitter followers must know your thoughts on how to solve the morass in Ukraine, because you have figured out something that world leaders haven’t, and the world just has to know.
I sparked a minor Twitter argument this week after offering up an image of a brand new car that’s available in a truly horrible exterior color. Public Car Twitter opinion mobilized quickly and angrily against my take, and only a couple others were brave enough to take my side against such a visual crime.
Today we talk paint.
Happy to relegate Carlos Ghosn to the past, Renault has announced its former CEO will soon leave the company’s executive board, along with Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair. Annette Winkler, the ex-head of Daimler’s Smart brand, will be proposed as the new director at the company’s annual meeting in June, according to the automaker.
The company also decided that Ghosn is not entitled to an annual retirement salary of about 765,000 euros a year due to an internal probe that identified “questionable and concealed practices and violations of the group’s ethical principles.”
Of course, Ghosn maintains he was the victim of a corporate coup masterminded by Nissan executives. The ousted exec recently claimed he’s “getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening” over social media.
The shouting factory that is Twitter, by and large, should generally not be considered as something that resembles real life. Between trolls and various other bottom feeders, it can be tough to find real information amongst all the noise.
Every now and then, a nugget of information appears that makes weathering the commotion worthwhile. Despite take rates being lower than this winter’s average temperatures, stickshifts are apparently a very popular topic in the Wolverine State.
Journalist Randy Essex of the Detroit Free Press took to those same digital pages last week to discuss how great his new car-free life is, even during the life-threatening cold of the polar vortex.
To which I say, good for him. If he’s happy living a car-free life in Detroit, more power to him. But his article is just the latest part of a conversation happening, at least in certain circles on social media, about going car-free.
This isn’t to pick on Essex. Again, if not having their own car works for him and his wife, that’s fine with me. To each their own, you do you, all that jazz. But going car-free won’t work for everyone, and urbanites, especially urbanite auto journalists, need to remember that.
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- Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
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