Tesla Motors

Apple and McLaren

The 'Apple may buy McLaren' rumor is my favorite tech rumor this year. I think such an acquisition would be great for many reasons, but I'll outline 3 here.

First, McLaren is a technology company that happens to make cars. After changing its name to "McLaren Technology Group" in 2015, the company stated:

The McLaren companies now employ more than 3000 people, three-quarters of whom are not involved in motorsport. Technology drives everything we do – creating the world’s most advanced road cars, working with blue-chip companies to enhance their performance and their products, and/or developing the world’s most robust electronic control systems. Our new name therefore reflects our ever-increasing focus on innovation and the creation of disruptive technologies that will have a positive and far-reaching impact.

Having worked for a technology company, where my job involved working with OEMs, I understand how much differently car manufacturers think and operate than a technology company. Buying a car company would be an albatross around Apple's neck; the unbending 'mediocre-is-good-enough' mindset, the dealer network, the horrible buying experience, all seem to clash with Apple's sensibilities. A technology company is more malleable, and wrangling a technology company is familiar to Apple.

The Buckeye Stops Here: Tesla Motors' Battle With Ohio Auto Dealers Association

One more win for Tesla Motors against yet another Auto Dealer Association:

"Yesterday, a House committee declined to take up a one-paragraph amendment pushed by the Ohio Auto Dealers Association that would have blocked Tesla’s business model by prohibiting an automaker from owning an auto dealership. Dealers wanted to stick the amendment into a noncontroversial bill that would require drivers to move over when approaching a road-maintenance vehicle. But with Tesla representatives pushing hard, the committee passed the bill yesterday without amendments."

The Columbus Dispatch

It is understandable for automotive dealerships to be extremely fearful that their industry may one day be rendered obsolete by Tesla’s sales model. It is also understandable that auto-dealerships would like to get their hands on some of the money passing from consumers to Tesla. The question is whether auto-dealerships are entitled to remain in business or share in Tesla’s profits.

Not So Instant Karma: Fisker Files For Bankruptcy

Fisker Automotive has officially filed for bankruptcy. It’s difficult to think of Fisker's demise without also thinking of Tesla Motors' success. Aside from issues with the vision and execution of Karma’s powertrain, and the impossible to recover from Consumer Reports debacle, Katie Fehrenbacher’s February 2012 “3 key differences between Tesla and Fisker” write up was spot on. Fisker likely went bankrupt because of the major differences she outlined in her piece almost 2 years ago:

Tesla Model S Battle Raps: Awaiting Tesla's response as to whether the Model S is the safest car ever tested by the NHTSA

Tesla recently claimed that the Model S is the safest car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) receiving a score of 5.4. Tesla further claimed the Model S broke the testing machine that tested its roof strength. Tesla says that what this means is that you can place 5 Model S’ on top of another without the roof caving in. Since Tesla’s claims, the NHTSA has released a statement explaining that they do not give a ratings of higher than 5 and that they do not have any record of the testing equipment breaking. This of course lead to talk that Tesla has lied about the safety of its cars, or at least exaggerated. However the NHTSA statements do not necessarily contradict Tesla’s claims.

First, because the NHTSA does not ‘ultimately’ bestow a score higher than 5, does not mean that a vehicle's raw score could not be higher than 5.

Automobile Dealers Fight “To [allegedly] Protect the Public” from Tesla Motors

First, no intelligent person believes that automobile dealers are fighting to stop Tesla from selling cars because they care about us consumers. While it is disgusting that automobile dealerships and various dealer associations have asserted “protection of the public” as a primary reason why Tesla should not be allowed to sell directly to customers, at least this type of action is expected by such entities. Simply, dealers and their lobbies are expected to be disgusting, slimy, and self-serving. What would be truly disturbing is if legislators and other politicos who should at least pretend to have consumer and U.S. economic best interest at heart, begin supporting ridiculous arguments and taking positions damaging to the market. Such arguments would be disrespectful to consumers, and waste judicial resources leading to outrageous litigation against essentially the essence of the already stymied American automotive consumer market: competition that begets progress.