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China Rocks, US full of “rights”

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk speaks at the opening ceremony of the Tesla Model China Model Y program in Shanghai, China, January 7, 2020.

Aly Song | Reuters

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk complained about the “titled” and “smug”

; nature of the people in the United States and praised China’s “smart” and “hard-working” people in the first part of a three-part interview with the Automotive Podcast. Daily Drive “, published on Friday.

In particular, Musk criticized New York and California, countries that have supported his business, especially Tesla, with significant tax breaks, regulatory credits and other state aid.

Automotive News publisher Jason Stein, who conducted the interview, asked Musk, “What about China as the leader of EV strategy in the world?”

Musk replied: “I think China is shaking. The energy in China is great. The people there – there are a lot of smart, hard-working people. And they really are – they have no right, they are not complacent, given that I see more and more in the United States. complacency and rights, especially in places like the Bay Area, LA and New York. “

Last year, Chinese government officials helped Tesla provide about $ 1.6 billion in loans to build and begin vehicle production at the company’s relatively new plant in Shanghai. This year, the Shanghai government helped Tesla return to normal operations at its new plant after the region was hit by a Covid-19 outbreak and issued widespread quarantines that temporarily halted production there.

Musk said Telsa had not received as much help from the Chinese government as local companies there. “They were supportive. But it would be strange if they were better for a non-Chinese company. They are not,” he said.

The Muslim Musk’s enthusiasm for China contrasts with his expressed disregard for communism. On Twitter this week, Musk mocked the welfare programs in general and Karl Marx’s Das Capital.

During the Automotive News podcast, Musk also compared the United States, California and New York to sports teams to lose their winner.

He said:

“When you earn for too long, you take something for granted. The United States, and especially California and New York, have been earning too long. When you earn too long, you take things for granted. So, like some professional teams, they win a championship that you know a lot of times in a row, they masturbate and start to lose. “

Tesla and the United States

Among American carmakers, “Tesla had the least government support from any car company,” Musk said.

He boasted of repaying a Tesla loan to the US Department of Energy ahead of schedule.

In June 2009, the Obama-era Department of Energy provided Tesla with a $ 465 million loan to set up a vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, and to begin production of its flagship all-electric sedan, the Model S. Tesla. repaid it with interest by May 2013, nine years ahead of schedule.

The DOE loan was small compared to the tens of billions in TARP loans that went to rescue General Motors and Chrysler during the financial crisis that began in 2008.

However, Tesla has benefited from other forms of state aid in the United States. According to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times, Tesla’s government aid in the United States has exceeded $ 4.9 billion.

Government support for Tesla in California includes more than $ 220 million in sales and use of tax exemptions from the California Authority to finance alternative energy and advanced transportation, as well as zero-emission and solar renewable energy loans provided by the state. The sale of these regulatory credits has been a major factor in Tesla’s profitability over the past four quarters.

As CNBC and others reported earlier, New York State has spent $ 959 million on a solar panel factory in Buffalo, now run by Tesla, in an effort to create more than 1,000 high-paying technology and manufacturing jobs in the state.

So far, Tesla has failed to meet its employment obligations in New York. A financial presentation this week revealed that Tesla has received a full-year extension from the state to meet the head count requirement. If that doesn’t happen, Musk’s electric car and renewable energy will have to return $ 41 million to Empire State.

Tesla stocks and sales

In the podcast, Musk also noted the fact that Tesla is now seen as a “legitimate” American and multinational carmaker. Although he was previously agitated and inadequate, Automotive News asked him what was happening to Tesla’s rising share price, which is over 240% this year, and whether Musk felt the need to manage investor expectations.

The Executive Director shall demonstrate:

“It’s not worth trying to massage the stock market or manage investor expectations. It’s simple. You know? At the end of the day, if you make great cars and the company is healthy and makes great products, investors will be happy … If you have to make bad products, your customers will be dissatisfied and then your investors will be dissatisfied. “

Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors, spoke to an electric Tesla Model S on the second day of the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty images

He also gave this advice to other entrepreneurs:

“My advice, you know, for corporate America or companies around the world, is to spend less time on marketing presentations and more time on your product. Honestly, this should be the number one thing taught in business schools. Put this spreadsheet and this PowerPoint presentation and go and make your product better. “

He also predicts that online car sales and delivery of cars directly to consumers, rather than sales of vehicles through stores or traditional dealers, will become even more standard after Covid-19.

Tesla saw “strong orders throughout the pandemic,” Musk said. Tesla’s shipments fell by about 5% in the second quarter of 2020. Due to the impact of Covid-19, most other carmakers saw sales drop more than 30% over the same period. The CEO concluded: “The existence of traditional dealer situations seems more and more unnecessary to me and I think the pandemic has simply intensified this.”

Shares of Tesla closed 3.8% on Friday, but this year were on a spectacular move despite the global coronavirus pandemic and the onset of a recession.

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