CR Turns Against Tesla

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It took a long time for the Catholic Church to concede there was a pederast priest problem. Publicly admitting the awful truth was regarded as a mortal threat to the Church itself – which it has been. People think twice now about leaving young Johnny in the care of Father McFeely.

They may think twice about buying a Tesla, too.

Consumer Reports – a publication whose editorial line has been as predictable as Pravda’s during the Brezhnev years when it comes to everything politically correct about cars – has announced it can “no longer recommend” the Tesla 3.

For reasons of sketchy reliability and shoddy build quality.

“Consumers expect their cars to last – and not be in the repair shop. That’s why reliability is so important,” says Jake Fisher, who is senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports.

More here.

None of this being news.

Tesla has had quality control problems for years – and these problems are no secret. Poor panel fitment, trim that comes unglued. Paint flaws. Bumpers that fall off in the rain.

Yes, really.

The kinds of problems that CR would have inquisited – and roasted alive – any other car company for attempting to pawn off on its customers. But Tesla got the kid-glove treatment  – like a pedophile priest – because a broader agenda was at stake.

So why is CR suddenly abandoning its lieblingskind?

Probably because Tesla has served its purpose.

There is a theory – mine – that Tesla has been propped up all these years in order to normalize EVs. To get the public used to the idea of them. To make EVs seem sexy and desirable. To distract people’s attention from the exorbitant cost, range gimp, paralytic recharge waiting and myriad other problems that would otherwise have kept EVs off-stage, possibly forever.

Certainly no other car company would have “gone first” and committed billions of their own money on EV development. They have shareholders to answer to. It would have been like Starbucks abandoning coffee in favor of tea.

But along came Elon.

This useful idiot – Lenin’s term – was just what was needed. A tech celebrity, youthful – full of grand ideas. Tourist spaceships to Mars. And sexy, quiet, ultra-quick electric cars for all.

The government issued fatwas that – initially – benefitted his company almost exclusively since no other company was building EVs in numbers. An epic wealth transfer scheme ensued.

Other car companies were forced to hand over “carbon credit” morditas (bribes) to Elon, the payoff for not building EVs themselves. The “credit” purchased from Elon serving as the equivalent, in Civil War days, of paying someone else to take your place in the draftee army.

The government also lavished subsidies on Elon’s operation, to keep his “business” going. All the while – for more than a decade – any problems with Tesla cars, Tesla the company, or Elon himself were tut-tutted, if they were discussed at all. Getting the goods from a place like this is only good for one’s budget.

Send Father McFeely to that new parish in Wichita…

Now, though, Elon’s usefulness appears to be at an end. The Electric Juggernaut is well under way; every car company now offers or soon will offer EVs.

As Darth Vader said to Luke when he lay dying on the floor of the Death Star: There is no stopping it now.

And so, no more need to cover for Elon.

Expect the Long Knives to be unsheathed. Tesla will have to go – because Tesla has become the opposite of what it was, initially. Or rather – what it was once useful for being.

It has become an embarrassment.

An almost daily one.

Shoddy build quality – and even shoddier promises, never kept. As gulled as people are, even the average TeeVee viewer grows suspicious of Elon. No sign of the much-promised (and much money taken in deposits) “affordable” Model 3. 

And have a look at the Model 3 – which its cheesy-looking touchscreen and spartan cabin.

$44,000 for this?

Then there is the embarrassment of Elon himself. He morphs perceptibly in the public mind into the male version of Elizabeth Holmes – another superficially appealing, youthful techie fast-talker whose con eventually fell apart -but only after her support structure abandoned her to her fate.

The same appears to be in store for Elon.

Unlike Elizabeth Holmes, though, he wont go to prison. Notwithstanding his having arguably defrauded both his customers and the taxpayers, who’ve been forced to float his boat.

He’ll just be off to other things – like Father McFeely – while the EV Juggernaut he helped to midwife rolls on.

. . .

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  1. It does not appear that VW have rolled over for the US govt, let alone the Eu one, nor even the German one. They complied to various extents, but that was not rolling over. Was it not Lao Tsu who taught us, “A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff. All things, including the grass and trees, are soft and pliable in life; dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life. An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind. The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.”

    Don’t forget that the entire dieselgate thingy got started right after VW said “no” to US govt. See, the situation was that VW erected a big factory in Kaluga, Russia to build engines in 2015. They intended to expand their operations in Russia and this was a big step towards those ends. The US govt put considerable pressure on them not to open their new engine plant. They told the US govt “we are going to do it anyway, so no, no, no to you” and went ahead. Plant opened in 2015. Shortly after that, boom! Dieselgate.

    Nevertheless, despite the dieselgate attack on the VW company production and expansion thereof continued in Russia. Last year things even got to the stage where VW exported some 44,000 engines from Russia into Western Europe. THAT is a very big tell.

    VW sold some 350,000 cars in the US last year, a slight improvement on 2017. Meanwhile they sold 211,000 in Russia of which some 200,000 were built in Russia. Compare that to the 2017 sales figure of 89,600 which was itself a 20% increase over 2016. Notice something?

    The growth of VW manufacturing in Russia has been staggeringly quick. A new body shop at Kaluga and a massive logistics centre for the Moscow region were also opened in Russia during 2016 (well after dieselgate broke). VW are building a formidable manufacturing and accompanying logistics base in Russia (more about why and what it means another day). Notice that already more than 1,000,000 vehicles have been built at the Kaluga plant alone. So far VW occupy just 12% of the Russian road vehicle market from cars right through to long-haul freight trucks. There is potential there. Recognising the obvious, aggressive manufacturing expansion continues apace. Seems they are not about to roll over on this one, not even for the US govt. One writer suggests that the dieselgate was seen from the start as a war to stop VW working in Russia (upon which its survival depends) and that VW senior management understand this, hence they are quietly resisting, yielding when they need to (just as Lao Tsu recommends they do).

    Just to put things in clear perspective, VW sold more than 3-million cars in China and ~11-million worldwide. The fastest expansion lately has been in Russia. Russia has a highly educated population. They presently lack capital to erect state of the art manufacturing plant and equipment. THAT shortfall is vanishing. They presently lack specialist knowledge in quality manufacturing of consumer goods and the like. THAT shortfall is actively being eliminated. From the perspective of the VAG supervisory board it must be apparent that the Russian market is in the process of becoming far more valuable than the problematic US. Already VW’s volumes in the Russian domestic market have reached 60% of their US volume. And they will be acutely aware that all along the Silk Road lie countries with even more large markets, easy to access overland directly from Russia. Do the math…

    All in all, the conclusion has to be that the Russian market, while smaller than the US one, is growing and has much greater strategic importance for VW’s future.

    It also needs to be held clearly in mind the perspective from the ordinary man in the street. Just as US govt sanctions applied to China are in reality a wealth transfer away from US residents, so too the dieselgate attack on VW is a wealth transfer away from US residents. VW is not sitting still, they are actively locating and setting up to serve new customers. Many, many more new customers. Millions of them. Preferentially, if needs be.

    Cheerful thought.

    • Hi Siotu,

      Indeed. And, agreed. Perhaps – as Der Chef is said to have said – perhaps the future does belong to the stronger people of the East. I note, in addition, that the Russians do not believe that “diversity is our strength,” and steadfastly prefer attractive women and disapprove of effeminate men.

      I wonder whether I could get my Trans-Am to Russia?

  2. Quoting Eric Peters, “…every car company now offers or soon will offer EVs…”

    Of course the real problem is that they have to actually sell them to real people…

    Guys, the really big recession is all but here. The second stage of the economic crash is so not far away (for example, the run on Deutsche Bank is up to EU 1-billion per day, meanwhile German industrial output continues to collapse, off another ~7%). Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs, small and large companies, entire cities and regions insolvent.

    So,….. who do you sell the expensive toy cars to exactly?

    What happens when people can’t buy what they can’t afford?

    BTW, they say a person becomes desperate, potentially quite violent, after missing three meals in succession. After a week to ten days of this though, the same person will be quiescent, accepting whatever fate provides.

    Watch for some big household names, some well known productive manufacturing outfits to become casualties.

  3. Quite simply, this is what happens when an artificial market is created. Be it on a grand scale- like socialism/communism- or a bastardized version like we have in this country today, where there are still some remnants of the free market, along with government subsidies, bail-outs, tax breaks, currency inflation; interest rate manipulation etc.- it NEVER works; never produces anything positive; and always ends in ruin.

    This is what happens when the fascist-socialist model is applied to the auto industry. Tesla, of course goes down; the taxpayers who may have never even seen a Tesla in person, much less have driven or owned one, have had BILLIONS of dollars of their wealth squandered and given to this boondoggle without their consent; and other American car manufacturers who have invested heavily in EVs, will suffer, as the realities of EVs hit home, and the social-engineering wrought by Uncle fails…. Or was it designed to fail- intentionally to help further the agenda of ruining American car manufacturers and removing the prospect of private vehicle ownership from the working class? (And I say American manufacturers, because in Europe, where fewer drive already; and where distances are much shorter, EVs may somewhat flourish and be a little more practical).

    • Stupidly enough I’m actually seeing Teslas running around up here in Alaska; there were very few of them for a long time and then all of a sudden a bunch show up (including many Model 3’s. They are, of course, more common in Anchorage which is the only city of any size in the area, but one of the longest-standing owners has a Model S and apparently lives out Fishhook way. I’ve been behind him on the backroads once; he was coming off one of the area’s few good mountain roads (sadly also a major bicyclist/hiker hangout) and headed for another, very residential but also very well brushcut road. He was driving very slowly; I wasn’t sure if he was being overcautious or just trying to make his battery last!

  4. rodney dangerfield: i went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out.
    paul gilpin: i read an article about tesla and got educated in religion, retail sales, and motion pictures.

    hey eric, wanna see me do my impression of linda blair? too catholic for ‘ya?

  5. Oh and FYI:

    Blackfire – When a racially motivated “hate crime hoax”, carried out by colored people, falls apart in a spectacular flame-out and bang.

    See also: Jussie Smollet

  6. So, in another forum, a fellow writes:

    “Is the Tesla 3 really that bad?
    US News rates the Model 3 as the 2nd best small luxury car.”

    My reply:

    That’s Eric’s point.

    If the documented fatal failures of the Tesla line were any other car company, there would be autistic screeching from the government media organs, lawyers would be lined up from sea to sea ready to sue, CEOs would getting perp-walked into Congress to get grilled and smeared by sanctimonious scumbag socialists and bankruptcy all ’round…IF it was any other company other than Tesla.

    Volkswagen had people go to jail and lost billions over “cheating” emissions of 4 tenths of one percent.

    Toyota almost went bankrupt over throttle pedals that were claimed to be defective when it was later proved to be operator error.

    GM lost hundreds of millions over non-exploding “exploding” pickup truck gas tanks.

    The list of automotive “blackfires” is lengthy and strewn with the dashed hopes and bankrupt failures of millions of people and shareholders.

    That just talking of hoaxes and flim flams and Ralph Nader wheezing, not considering legitimate claims against poor engineering or design failures.

    Yet, Tesla, and only Tesla, gets a pass.

    • Further back the media wouldn’t attack the Japanese car companies over most things it would skewer the big three on. That’s changed over the last 10-20 years though.

      Of the big media attacks on major car makers I don’t know of one that was truthful.
      Early Corvairs handled different. They were defective. Later models were improved.
      Pintos were no more likely to catch fire than an average car of its era and class. The entire case was myth created by “mother jones” and lawyers.
      GM’s side saddle fuel tanks had acceptable performance. NBC had to resort to igniting the fuel from the tanks to get the fireball they needed for “Dateline” to air it.
      Audi sudden acceleration of 60mins turned out to people mashing the wrong the pedal.
      Ford Crown Victoria fires were the result of crown vics getting rear ended at 70mph or more. (the very cops that were the loudest complainers got upset when ford refused to sell their department more crown vics. Yeah so defective they were going to buy more)
      Suzuki Samurais were forced into rolling by Consumer Reports. They smelled blood and kept pushing this vehicle beyond its design limits.
      60 minutes tried to bash classic Mustangs because a kid stalled one on an interstate 30 some years after it was built and got slightly burned from the fire after being rear ended. Never mind that antique was good enough such that he lived with only minor injury because he didn’t bother coasting to the shoulder.
      Those are the ones I can remember.

      Legitimate failures like Takata airbags get little play. Interesting.

      • Nader crucified Chevy Corvair when VW Bug had the same problem and never changed it. The VW nearly killed my then fiancé and almost got me a couple weeks earlier, but somehow I instinctively corrected and got out of it. I didn’t even understand the issue until decades later, but of course if you jack up the rear end you can see what’s going on but not necessarily comprehend the dynamic effect on the road.

      • Toyota was poised to overtake GM as the largest automaker in the world–which they have since done–when the “sticky accelerator” problem went crazy throughout the media. Coincidence? No way in hell.

          • It’s interesting how FCA was just forced to pay fines for the eco-diesels. There pollution level’s were “UP TO 7X DIRTIER THAN ALLOWABLE NOx”(scare quotes and scare capitalization of course) No one is looking at any prison time for this, but the fine was substantial. Then we have Ford and GM both adding a small diesel engine to their half ton lineup. GM already has the 1.8 Duramax in the Colorado/Canyon. Are they really the microscopic amounts of NOx cleaner than the eco-diesel, or the VW diesel cars? Or does the government just reserve jihad for the companies that aren’t ‘Murican’? Did FCA people avoid prison because they are quasi-‘Murican’?

            I don’t know the answers, but I have a pretty good hunch. The big 2 get some very preferential treatment since they were attacked with sensationalism over 20 years ago. They rolled over for uncle. Now the Foreign companies are being taught that same lesson. Pay to play.

  7. From Eric: “But Tesla got the kid-glove treatment…”

    Not to worry, the next in line getting the kid-glove treatment from Consumer Reports is Subaru. Subaru has had many class action lawsuits as well as distraught customers, yet is highly rated. Consumer Reports has zero credibility regarding Subaru. Goggle: Subaru class action lawsuits

  8. God the money being poured into this. Was at a shopping center last Sunday, Saw a brand new charging station with six bay. Had two HUGE transformers. Even the Mrs chuckled. Touchscreen menu driven kiosks (of course). Queried the thing for a price but it replied “no price available”. No one was using the station at the time. I guess they’re figuring on you plugging in and going shopping,,,pity the marks waiting in line, maybe the new Samsung $2000 buckeroo folding cell phone with six cameras will be able to let them no when the ‘fueling is done! .

    As a old school industrial electrician I can’t wait for the thing really get going. It’s going to be a hoot for sure.

    Thanks Eric,,, your articles are a gift to those of us with fully operational cognitive abilities. Only found your site a couple months ago and have been reading past articles. All have been informative and, best of all, entertaining.

  9. Haha…..I’m such an old fart, and train-nut, the first thing in my head when I saw “CR” was ConRail, lol! So why, I wondered, would ConRail care about Tesla? I really hate this century:P

  10. The useful idiot who got to pocket billions….. why dont I ever get selected for such things…..

    Been saying for ages thats basically all elon did – change the image of the electric car… from those boring ones worse that a Prius to something fast, sexy, and luxurious… something the sheep would be happy to sign a financing agreement for…

    Now I also think he is on his way out – what made me think that, personally when he opened up his patents for everyone… ofcourse hailed as a hero by lefty treehuggers…. But I really wondered why he did it. No company will ever do that, and no board will ever allow that, unless ofcourse something else has already been planned….

    • When your a multi-billionaire, who needs patent protection? Ford and Ferguson sued each other for years over their mutual tractor design infringements, after they had parted ways as partners. Ferguson kept making Ford tractors, and Ford kept using the Ferguson 3-point hitch. Finally a Federal Court of Appeals told them both that they had earned enough from their mutual infringements to be even, and called the whole thing settled!

      • Modern patent law is all about having a Mexican stand-off with the big competition and keeping new entrants completely out of the market. Helps if you all have an incestuous board of directors and majority shareholders.

        Just finished up “The myth of Capitalism” by Jonathan Tepper. Despite the title, he’s pretty much nailed he problems and has solutions most of us might agree with, at least without a complete revolution. He points out that, for example in the case of the airline industry Berkshire Hathaway is the majority shareholder of all four major US airlines. Given Buffet’s love of monopoly companies, no wonder there hasn’t been any competition or innovation in air travel, while most everyone has a fairly low opinion of air travel in general. Not to mention even though ticket prices are very low, all the additional charges are rising at a rate that outpaces inflation every year, even as operating expenses are falling.

        Patent office abuses just add to the stagnation in Silicon Valley, especially when you consider the boys up on Sand Hill Rd are all heavily invested in the FAANG companies and are perfectly satisfied with maintaining the status quo


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