Can Jim Cramer solve Tesla dilema; CramerTeslaAutos “a 0% margin dealer”

100780462-CRAMER-IN-TSLA.600x400The media narrative is predictable.  Elon Musk, the transformative latest incarnation of Thomas Edison, locking horns with the entrenched old economy model of the NJ Auto Dealers.  Musk is cool, he has a cool car, he’s a visionary.  NJ and other states surely must yield.  Right?  While I may agree with the Tesla model of new direct sales — I don’t see Tesla volume and positioning an existential threat to any dealer from AutoNation to the local mom-and-pop single point dealer.   I don’t agree with this in your face reply to the NJ dealer and politicians.  It may gin up support from those who already support Tesla, but it’s not going to work in the long run.  What if Musk turns to Jim Cramer and his hedge fund buddies for solution?

Auto dealers, while, not the most popular businessmen in perennial “trust surveys” hold significant clout in their local and state economies and political circles.  Dealer are the biggest donors in the sector, and they donate mostly on local issues.  Remember during the GM and Chrysler bailout we were reminded by the Car Tsar how the dealer networks were key employers of the million or so jobs at risk.

In addition to the “million” or so folks whose jobs are “at risk” there are the 99% of car buyers who view Tesla as an elitist brand.  Cool, but elitist.  Jim Cramer comes across as an any man, but at $100K a pop, Tesla is a rich man’s toy.  And I don’t need to remind anyone that while green is good, class warfare has been fomented to froth over the past few years.  How bad does a marginally employed tradesman feel for the hedge fund manager who can’t buy a six figure sports car?  Not!

Just a thought.  What if all these doctors, lawyers, marketing execs (one of my friends) set Back Cameraup a dealer group that sells Tesla at 0% for the company.  The meeting-of-minds with these financial titans should be able to configure a pass-through dealer model that can be funded through Tesla equity and or new Tesla product ownership derivatives.  Jim Cramer has been a major cheerleader for the group.  He can be the front.

OK, so slightly more seriously.  I am confident Tesla is working on creative relationships to transform the dealer experience at the same time as transforming the auto experience.  For those that detect a touch of sarcasm, I’m serious.  The last reform of the dealer structure was 20 years ago when Wayne Huizenga opened his first CarMax.

A hedge fund run dealer group is just one throught.  Apple?  Google?  Or maybe a viable future for JC Penny or Radio Shack. OK, sarcasm noted.

It’s Tesla, I’m just trying to think out of the box. 

Wall Street Tesla@elonmusk @jimcramer @madmoney



Daimler Tesla – dating again?

c0ourtesy car & driver

courtesy car & driver

The on again, off again love affair between Daimler and Tesla seems to warming up again and Elon Musk and Tesla fans couldn’t ask for better timing.   At a press briefing in NY this week, Daimler CFO Bodo Uebber, confirmed he has urged his team to “learn more from Telsa

Early on, Daimler took a 10% equity stake in Tesla (since sold down to 4.3%), providing smart_evthe company not only with much-needed capital but two more important assets; legitimacy and orders for the SmartForTwo and B-Class.  Along with Toyota, Daimler hedged it’s entry into the electric market via Telsa with a smaller order for 2400 Rav4 E.

It strikes me as interesting that this comment comes on the heels of an announcement from Thomas Weber, Daimler’s Head of R&D that the company would deepen its relationship with Continue reading

News from CARB: Tougher ZEV credits? Risk for TSLA?

cardNews today from California and the CARB (California Air Resources Board) cabal on zero emission credits and efforts to spur more zero emission vehicle (ZEV) sales.

1) Expect to hear a lot of traders screaming this is the end of Telsa ride as ZEV credits may be cut from 7 to 4.  This would cut TSLA profit from selling these credits.  This argument hasn’t been realized for the past six months that I’ve heard it.  We might see some dip as people shy away, but the true TSLA believers are banking on GEN3 not ZEV credit profits.

2) If the states really step up efforts to make it hard to just pay the penalty, we will see more ZEV plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) in production.  Players like BMW with the new i3 and others like Ford and Toyota will increase production squeezing GM and Nissan who have been Continue reading

Energy policy. Unacceptable? Boone on OPEC

Watch “Boone at SAFE Conference on OPEC Oil Embargo + 40” on YouTube

Everytime I hear a politician, pundit or business  leader say that dependence on OPEC oil is unacceptable I wonder. If  not, why are we accepting it?

Words are much easier than hard work. Boone Pickens has a financial stake in what he’s preaching.  But in this case I believe it less talking his book than putting his money where his mouth is. 

Bury Fisker, not everyone else

Why is Henrik Fisker laying low and Elon Musk holding weekly pop press calls?  It’s jempirical evidence that an electric car is not an electric car, and yet another reminder that it sure is not easy breaking into the car market.  The second biggest consumer purchase.

I have to admit, the Karma is the hottest car in the game.  Sorry Elon, it’s sexier than the Model-S, at least on the drawing board which is pretty much where it still lives.  In the end, the Fisker model – under the hood and in the corporate office — didn’t have the same “hotness” that Henrik got when he put pen to paper.


They drive-train  was competent in 2009, but not set to compete Continue reading

Fisker, feeling bad Karma

It’s been just two weeks since battery maker A123 (AONE) was bailed out by Chinese green industrial investor Wainxiang, and now pressure is mounting on OEM Fisker.  Most investors had already written AONE equity off and fewer and fewer were willing to play in its debt, is Fisker in this boat now?  While the company is trying to complete a $500 million fundraising round to generate some forward momentum.  So far they have raised $392 million but are now hitting push-back from investors and the US government has cut off the DOE loan balance.  Top it off, they company just announced a Continue reading

SMALL RULES: Some thoughts on the Detroit Motor Show — OK, the North American International Auto Show

It started when I picked up my rental car.  Since when was a Ford Focus a “mid-size?”  Since we had a of 55 mpg federal CAFE regulation staring us down.  This set the mood for the most important point of the Detroit Show.  Small is the new Big.

By the time I hit the floor on Monday, the Ford Fusion was the most talked about car in the show.  The focus used to be a compact car, but on Ford’s C/D segment, it’s now big enough to go head to head with the big dogs – Camry, Altima, Accord and Malibu – and after looking it over, it looks great.  Bottom line is that it will compete and with Fords attention to features and packaging, I expect they will be able to hold pricing and make the car reasonably profitable.  Also I am a big fan of the MyFord Touch® and competitive systems, I think Ford is at least one generation ahead, and GM and Toyota are hot on their heels, but that is another article.

GM showcased Continue reading