Streetwise Professor

March 11, 2019

Meet the New CEO of Tesla: Emily Litella

Filed under: Climate Change,Energy,Tesla — cpirrong @ 7:17 pm

So, remember that stuff about closing all sales outlets, selling exclusively on-line, and cutting prices? Tesla’s new CEO has an announcement:

So what’s “very different”? Here’s what the company says officially:

Over the past two weeks we have been closely evaluating every single Tesla retail location, and we have decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced as we continue to evaluate them over the course of several months.

So what you are saying then is prior to making the announcement that you were closing all retail locations you HADN’T evaluated every single location. Got it!

The company also reversed field on the price cuts.

To quote Casey Stengel: Can anybody play this game?

I mean really. A major, and arguably unprecedented in the industry, change in selling strategy and a major change in pricing policy are things that are not to be entered into lightly. Presumably they were the result of serious and sober consideration by serious and sober people. Right?

Serious and sober. Elon. Heh. Sometimes I crack myself up.

The initial decision was insanity. And the reversal validates that judgment. But too late to overcome the obvious implication of the initial decision: that the company is in dire straits. Further, the utterly botched process of pushing the panic button and then trying to un-push it answers Casey’s question quite definitively: No!

That is, the initial decision betrayed desperation. The decision plus the reversal betray the utter incompetence of the company’s management, and hence its incapacity to deal with its daunting challenges. And given that Tesla is a micromanaged company, that incompetence has a name: Elon.

I called Emily Litella the new CEO of Tesla in jest. But come to think of it, she could almost certainly do a better job. As could Rosanne Rosannadanna as head of investor relations and corporate affairs.

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  1. I was once a supporter of Tesla and Elon, and as the years have gone I’ve become a big Tesla bear. (You are largely to thank professor!) This company is a model of ZIRP and government rebate spending gone awry. I see a lot of Tesla’s everyday (mostly model S and X) around Washington D.C. and I get pissed that those people got a rebate to buy a luxury vehicle (and an HOV lane use sticker!) from much poorer blue collar people like me. Elon might be a fraud, but F*** the government for helping to create and perpetuate that monster.

    Comment by Daniel Rust — March 12, 2019 @ 7:46 pm

  2. @Daniel–Glad to have helped you see the light 😉

    If you look at my earliest posts on him, you will see that my main criticism of Elon was that he is a rent seeker par excellence, who milks the government–i.e., taxpayers like you and me–to line his pockets and perpetuate his schemes. And yes, it is a conspiracy of the elite and the government to fleece the hoi polloi. Tesla (and Solar City) is a particularly disgusting case of gaming the system for private benefit, while the perps wrapped themselves in claims of doing God’s work.

    Comment by cpirrong — March 12, 2019 @ 7:59 pm

  3. Apparently most of the leases turned out to be non-cancellable so they couldn’t save any money on them. Might as well keep the stores open then…

    Comment by Stephen — March 13, 2019 @ 7:18 am

  4. @Stephen–Kind of the thing you’d investigate before making the decision, amirite?

    Comment by cpirrong — March 13, 2019 @ 2:35 pm

  5. Why should the marketing /sales group be more diligently run than manufacturing? Both seem to be shoot from the lip operations.

    Comment by Sotos — March 19, 2019 @ 10:25 am

  6. Re the above:

    Comment by Sotos — March 19, 2019 @ 10:28 am

  7. Tesla has been extreme, but badly thought-out management decisions are not that unusual. Uber famously lost a pile by grossly misunderstanding the used car markets and its own internal accounting.

    Comment by SRP — March 25, 2019 @ 6:40 pm

  8. @SRP–I agree that Tesla is not that unusual for its managerial blunders. But given that the management (well, Musk) has been enshrined in the Genius Hall of Fame, it is worth pointing out the rather different reality.

    Comment by cpirrong — March 25, 2019 @ 6:50 pm

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