Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., speaks at an opening ceremony of Tesla’s Model Y program made in China in Shanghai, China on January 7, 2020.
Aly Song | Reuters
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, lamented the “authorized” and “complacent”; nature of the people of the United States and praised China’s “smart and hardworking” people in the first installment of a three-part interview with Automotive. The “Daily Drive” news podcast was released on Friday.
Specifically, Musk criticized New York and California: the states that have supported their companies, especially Tesla, with significant tax cuts, regulatory credits, and other government aid.
Automobile News editor Jason Stein, who conducted the interview, asked Musk, “What about China as the leader in VE strategy in the world?”
Musk replied, “My China is my opinion. The energy in China is fantastic. The people out there, there are a lot of smart and hardworking people. And really, they have no right, they are not complacent, while that in the United States I see more and more complacency and right, especially in places like the Bay Area and Los Angeles and New York. “
Last year, Chinese government officials helped Tesla obtain loans worth about $ 1.6 billion to build and start manufacturing vehicles at the relatively new factory in Shanghai. This year, the Shanghai government helped Tesla return to normal operations quickly, at its new plant, after the region was hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 and issued widespread quarantines that temporarily suspended production. .
Musk noted, Telsa has not received as much government assistance in China as the domestic companies there were. “They’ve been supportive. But it would be weird if they gave more support to a non-Chinese company. They’re not,” he said.
The mercurial enthusiasm that Musk showed for China contrasted with his contempt for communism. In a Monday tweet this week, Musk mocked Karl Marx’s general welfare programs and “Das Kapital”.
During the Automotive News podcast, Musk also compared the United States, California and New York to sports teams about to lose the winner status.
“When you’ve been winning for too long, you can do things of course. The United States, and especially like California and New York, you win too much time. When you win too long, you take things. Of course, just like any sports team professional they win a championship that you know a lot of times in a row, they are pleased and they start to lose “.
Tesla and the states
Among U.S. automakers, “Tesla has had the slightest government support from any car company,” Musk said.
He boasted of repaying a loan to the U.S. Department of Energy earlier than planned.
In June 2009, the Obama-era Department of Energy granted Tesla a $ 465 million loan to set up a vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, and to begin production of its all-electric sedan. the S. Tesla model repaid it with interest. in May 2013, nine years ahead of schedule.
The DOE loan was small compared to the tens of billions of TARP loans that were settled in General Motors and Chrysler during the financial crisis that began in 2008.
However, Tesla has benefited from other forms of government assistance in the U.S. According to the Los Angeles Times analysis, Tesla’s government assistance in the United States has exceeded $ 4.9 billion.
Tesla government support in California has included more than $ 220 million in sales and use tax exclusions from the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, as well as zero-emission vehicles and credit credits. renewable solar energy granted by the state. The sale of these regulatory credits was a major factor in Tesla’s profitability over the past four quarters.
As CNBC and others report earlier, New York State spent $ 959 million on a solar panel factory in Buffalo, now operated by Tesla, in a bid to bring in more than 1,000 high-tech and manufacturing jobs. remuneration to the state.
Tesla has so far failed to meet its labor obligations in New York. A financial presentation this week revealed that Tesla has obtained a full one-year extension from the state in order to meet the head count requirements. If not, Musk’s electric car and renewable energy will have to pay $ 41 million to Empire State.
Tesla sales and shares
In the podcast, Musk also celebrated the fact that Tesla is now seen as a “legitimate” American and multinational automaker. While he used to be a passerby and low, Automotive News asked him what was going on with the rising price of Tesla shares, which are up more than 240% this year, and whether Musk felt the need to manage investor expectations.
The CEO made disappear:
“It’s not worth trying to massage the stock market or manage investor expectations. It’s fair. You know? In the end, if you make great cars and healthy company and make great products, investors will be happy … If you do that your bad products your customers will be unhappy with, and your investors will be unhappy. “
Elon Musk, president and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks in front of a Tesla Model S electric car on the second day of the 2010 U.S. International Motor Show in Detroit, Michigan.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
He also gave this advice to other employers:
“My advice, you know, to corporate companies in America or companies around the world spend less time on marketing presentations and more time on your product. Honestly, it should be the most important thing that is taught in business schools. Reduce this spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation and go. and improve your product “.
He also predicted that online vehicle sales and direct car delivery to consumers, rather than vehicle sales through traditional stores or dealerships, would become even more common, after Covid-19.
Tesla saw “strong orders throughout the pandemic,” Musk said. Tesla deliveries fell by about 5% in the second quarter of 2020. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, most other motor vehicle manufacturers saw sales fall by more than 30% during the same period. The CEO concluded, “Having traditional distributor situations I think seems increasingly unnecessary and I think the pandemic will probably just reinforce that.”
Shares of Tesla closed 3.8% on Friday, but this year they have been on a spectacular trajectory despite the global coronavirus pandemic and the onset of a recession.