Hagerty.com

Taycans, Teslas, player-haters, and tall poppies

It was, to be charitable, a perfect storm of idiocy, credulity, and mercenary pragmatism. The automotive media’s reaction to the Porsche Taycan was little short of what you’d expect should someone find a universal cure for cancer. I saw the best(-ish) minds of my generation destroyed by eagerness for overseas press trips, pounding hashtags breathlessly into refurbished iPhones, pushing online thesauri to the limit, sweating in a doomed effort to counteract the antibiotic resistance their readers had already built up over tiresome years of hyperbole to the degraded word AMAZING!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/10/taycans-teslas-player-haters-and-tall-poppies

It would be nice if your Tesla coverage acknowledged that much of the animus Tesla attracts from Americans is due to their rent-seeking activities.

Dude, your nationalism is somewhat misinformed, there’s nothing commendable about building anything in America instead of China or Thailand. Outsourcing and free trade create safer, cleaner and higher-paying jobs, better than toiling away in a dirty factory. Someone before me commented about Musk’s rent-seeking behavior and he or she is absolutely correct, he gets millions in taxpayer money in exchange for virtue signalling by building his cars in America.

Having said that, I don’t really care about six figure cars I’ll never own or electric cars in general, I mean if someone gifted me a Model S, I’d keep it because I like the hatchback trunk and rear-facing child seats. If someone gifted me a Model 3 or a Taycan, I’d sell them fast to buy a 911 (in place of the Taycan) or a Challenger R/T Scat Pack (Model 3). Meh.

Now, If I was an auto journalist, I’d write a sincere review of the Taycan, asking uncomfortable questions like How many recharges will the battery pack last before losing capacity? and Is it possible to replace it and how much would that cost? After that, I’d comment that I’m still turned off by the lack of a gear shifter and third pedal and the lack of a Boxer-6 or V6 (or V8) growl, and that I don’t want to own a 5,000 lbs paperweight when the battery pack dies and… I’m fired, Right?

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Tall Poppy Syndrome kind of evolved from the American past-time of keeping up with the Joneses.

Musk is an interesting guy, but we, here in the Midwest tend to echo that entire paragraph whenever it comes to discussion about purchasing one of his cars

It should be stated that, we, here in the Midwest, also see tales of his factory in So Cali not being able to meet its production goals or quality goals and wonder how much he is paying people in So Cali to work for him, when plenty of vacant automotive factories and their former workforces are still here, mostly.

I guess, we would take it more serious if he were to manufacture these in the Midwest.

Instead of whatever $$$ he is paying to eke out every last bit of productivity at that plant, he should just buy the old Saturn plant in Tennessee for pennies on the dollar, and work on tooling up a separate factory closer to the East Coast and smack dab in the Midwest. This would allow him to serve the European market easier, and also gain him some goodwill in the forgotten flyover country of which I hail from.

That all being said, I have seen about 2 or 3 in my town. I am not sure that they reside here, perhaps one does, but the other 2 may commute from the wealthiest county in the state, which is still within that EV range of all of his models that I have seen. After all, the dealership is right over there on the border in their fancy fashion mall.

If I ended up with a freebie Tesla, I would keep it. A free car, is a free car in my book.

If I ended up with a freebie Porsche Taycan, pretty much the same, but if I ever found a good deal on an older Air-cooled non-914 Porsche, you know I would trade it or sell it for that in an instant, a veritable instant.

Kyle

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There are many reasons why a business might not want to outsource manufacture to China. To begin with, you can’t just set up operations in China. China does not allow 100% foreign direct investment, if you want to make things in China you either buy from a vendor or you have a Chinese partner. The first is problematic in terms of quality control, the second creates issues about intellectual property theft. Additionally, when the Chinese government or army is a stakeholder in a firm with which you are doing business, will your contracts be enforced fairly?

Speaking of intellectual property, China’s theft of IP extends into stealing Americans’ medical records:

Press reports in April that Chinese spies had penetrated the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston spurred the May essay. MD Anderson is arguably the world’s top cancer research facility. Chinese spies filched years of cancer research data – much of that research paid for by Texas and U.S. taxpayers.

Then there’s the moral issue of doing business with a police state that issues “social credit” scores to restrict movement and other freedoms…

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So let me get this straight, production in California and Nevada is not USA enough for you? Tesla runs out of a former Toyota manufacturing plant in CA - picked for its 1) availability, 2) existing workforce and 3) proximity to the R&D team.

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I was unaware of the second auto plant in Nevada. I stand corrected.

I merely was trying to point out that it appeared to me that he put all of his eggs in one basket in California for cars, while his other endeavors spread across the country in other places.

I think a lot of the animosity towards Musk and Tesla is not driven by jealousy, but by resentment of the agenda and future that they are pushing for. When we see Musk or Tesla falter, it is vindication of our belief that an all-electric future is over-hyped and impractical. Similarly when we see the latest headline about a crash involving Autopilot, it eases our fears about a future where all cars are driverless.

If Musk ran Lotus and was gunning for a future of lightweight, ICE cars with manual transmissions, I imagine that the situation would be reversed. The (internet) enthusiast community would mostly love him and the (internet) environmentalists would call him our for not going electric. You can’t win…

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You have that assessed correctly, Rokem. The “rule of law” as we know it, does not exist in China.

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Rig that ICE to run on methane, keep it no frills and make it fun to drive.
It would find a nice market segment, no problem

The Telsa plant in Fremont (Nor CAL) used to be run by both Toyota and GM. Then they closed it down and Telsa acquired it. Great place; I have been there. For one of my personal vehicles, we chose to get a Chevy Plug-in Hybrid VOLT because we live in PA, and in not CA (Charging stations are few and far between in this part of PA). The VOLT electric batteries give you reasonable range and the gas motor kicks on to extend the range for another 300 miles. Looked into Telsa 3 and S models, but the time is not yet right to go 100% Electric. I am a motorhead at heart (I own Corvettes, older classics and newest C-7, two MB SL’s, and a Cadillac CTS-V and XLR). My wife thought we should have a more “sensible” car so we acquired the VOLT. I think GM should never have stopped making the VOLT for the 2020 model year. Big mistake to stop making such a totally right car for our time. But any other 100% Electric ? Not in the part of PA that we live (SE PA).

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The article writer has it correct. There’s a built-in sense of personal resentment for many when someone whom they know does relatively better than they do even on small transactions.
Several years back, I showed a friend the 91 Nissan 300ZX with Very low miles I picked up on a killer good deal right about when the economy had taken its dive. It was really quite a spectacular car.
Naturally he asked what I’d paid for it, and I told him.
He allowed as to how he felt mildly unhappy that I had gotten such a good deal on a very desirable car – and he didn’t.
Mind you, he has a 1970 Mustang Mach 1 with a 428 CobraJet engine. It’s a beautiful car all on its own. The Z32 was not a car he would normally seek out for purchase, yet when I got it he resented it at some level.
I just don’t get it – but it was a genuine and honest response. He’s still a friend.
I’ve run across the same syndrome elsewhere in others, not only wrt automobiles. Any sort of unshared good fortune for someone else can and oftimes is met with resentment from those who didn’t happen to share it. Someone having something good happen is equivalent to having something bad happen to them.
People may resent Tesla and Musk all they wish. It won’t much matter, and neither do they, comes right down to it. The mindless mouth-breathing big pickup driver who blocks a Tesla in at a charging station has his own serious problems, and they are far greater than whatever Musk might be doing.
Musk is reinventing automotive transportation. Ten years ago, people laughed and said no one would ever buy what he was selling. Now pretty much every manufacturer in the world is trying to make similar cars to compete with him.
Musk is well along to dealing with the energy storage question. If not yet a 100% perfect solution, it is at least worlds better than anything that has come along before. That will go a long way to handling the Peak Load problem that requires us to overbuild generating facilities everywhere.
The times they are a-changing. Musk is part of that.
The big diesel pickup drivers that blow black smoke in front of EVs may feel personally satisfied momentarily, but they won’t even slow things down. They’ll just waste their own money.
I find that enormously satisfying, personally. They are worth a momentary chuckle en passant.

The biggest problem with Tesla/Elon, is that the whole thing is like one giant PONZI scheme…get people to put down deposits to have a car built, get investors to invest in the company, go public and sell stocks to bring in money, and for the most part, all the Company seems to do is lose $.
And it probably doesn’t help that Elon is a total narcissist.

I wanted to comment on Mr Baruth’s excellent writing on the subject of envy and distance, which could apply to houses, yards, trophy wives, etc… Reading the other comments, I wonder how many people read the same article I did?

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Car companies are motivated to manufacture EVs not because of Tesla but because of the present and future emissions regulations. They don’t have an alternative! Of course Porsche is going to do all they can to make the very best EV for the audience they are targeting. Same goes for GM, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, and many other brands.

It is also important to note that America has the most globally prestigious, innovative and successful brands of any nation. To claim that Tesla is one of a select few is flatly wrong. Apple, Nike, Ford, Google, McDonalds, eBay, KFC, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, Cadillac, and the list goes on and on. I understand that Tesla is a controversial company and there are people that revel in their mistakes but there is no reason to make false claims to support a position. If anything, it takes away from the credibility of the entire piece.

I have nothing against Elon.

I am happy for the success that he has had, but I wish that he would finally put the haters and the sec and all of that behind him and start making intelligent decisions about the Tesla business, if you look at his other businesses, SpaceX, Boring co., and whatever the name of the battery powerplant one is, they seem to be doing fairly well for themselves, and don’t receive to much criticism, either from the pundits, or from the governmental organizations.

To me, it would seem simple to branch out operations into vacant factories closer to eastern seaports to serve the burgeoning market and desire for EV cars in Europe to meet new environmental regulations going in place there.

Kyle

Follow your bliss Elon and don’t follow the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Tesla resentment is pragmatic: a taxpayer- subsidized status symbol for wealthy virtue-signalers. We commoners are paying for government mandated foolishness. A business model that apparently loses money on every car.
Besides, they’re impractical as hell for most people.
I’ll gladly rally a Tesla against my old VW TDI from LA to Seattle. One stop in Redding to fuel for me, maybe 5 minutes. How many stops to recharge on that Tesla? An easy slam dunk.

Tesla posted 39 quarters of losses from 2008 through mid-2018. 10 years of losses! If that happened at Ford or GM, heads would roll. It isn’t envy, more like shock and disbelief.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.