Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for the China-made Tesla Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.
Song Aly | Reuters
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk deplored the “entitled” and “complacent”; character of people in the United States, and praised China’s “smart” and “hard-working” people, in the first installment of a three-part interview with Cars The news podcast “Daily Drive” was published on Friday.
Specifically, Musk criticized New York and California – claiming to have supported his businesses, especially Tesla, with considerable tax cuts, regulatory credits and other government aid.
Automotive News publisher Jason Stein, who conducted the interview, asked Musk, “How about China as a leader of EV strategy in the world?”
Musk replied: “China rocks in my opinion. The energy in China is great. The people there – there are like a lot of smart people and hard work. And they really are – they are not entitled, they are not happy, seeing in the The United States is becoming more and more complacent and right, especially in places like the Bay Area, and LA and New York. “
Last year, Chinese government officials helped Tesla secure a loan worth about $ 1.6 billion to build and start manufacturing vehicles at a relatively new Shanghai factory. This year, the Shanghai government helped Tesla return to normal operations quickly, at its new plant, after the region was hit by a Covid-19 outbreak and issued widespread quarantines that were suspended. temporarily manufacturing there.
Musk pointed out that Telsa did not receive as much government aid in China as domestic companies there. “They were supportive. But it would be weird if they were more supportive of a non-Chinese company. No,” he said.
The enthusiasm that Mercury Musk expressed for China contrasted with the contempt expressed for communism. In a tweet on Monday of this week, Musk mocked welfare programs in general, and Karl Marx “Das Capital.”
During the Automotive News podcast, Musk also compared the United States, California and New York to sports teams that were about to lose their winning status.
“When you’ve been winning for a long time you’re trying to take things for granted. The United States, and especially like California and New York, you’ve been winning for too long. When you’ve been winning a long time you take things In fact, just like any pro sports team that wins a league that you know a bunch of times in a row, they have a complaint and they start to lose. “
Tesla and the states
Among U.S. carmakers, “Tesla had the least government support than any car company,” Musk said.
He boasted about repaying a loan from Tesla to the U.S. Department of Energy ahead of schedule.
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 start the producing its flagship all-electric sedan, the Model S. Tesla repaid it with interest until May 2013, nine years ahead of schedule.
The DOE loan was small compared to the tens of billions in TARP loans that saved General Motors and Chrysler during the financial crisis that began in 2008.
However, Tesla has benefited from other forms of government 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.
Tesla government support in California included more than $ 220 million in sales and tax exclusion from the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, as well as a zero-emission vehicle and state-granted solar renewable energy credits. The sale of these regulatory credits has been a major factor in Tesla’s profitability in the last four quarters.
As CNBC and others reported earlier, New York state has spent $ 959 million on a Buffalo solar panel factory, now operated by Tesla, in a bid to bring more than 1,000 high-tech and manufacturing jobs to state.
Tesla has not met its employment obligations in New York so far. A financial file this week revealed that Tesla has obtained a full-year extension from the state to meet the head count requirement. If it doesn’t, Musk’s electric car and renewable energy will have to repay $ 41 million to the Empire State.
Tesla stock and sales
On the podcast, Musk also celebrated the fact that Tesla is now seen as a “legitimate” American and multinational automaker. While she was an upstart and underdog, Automotive News asked him what was going on with the rising price of Tesla shares, which are more than 240% this year, and whether Musk felt the need to handle expectations. of investors.
The Chief Executive annoyed:
“It’s not worth trying to massage the stock market or manage investor expectations. It’s simple. You know? Ultimately, if you make big, healthy cars the company and make great products investors are happy … If you make bad products your customers are not happy and then your investors are not happy. “
Elon Musk, president and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, speaks in front of a Tesla Model S electric car on day two of the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Pictures of Getty
He also gave this advice to other entrepreneurs:
“My advice, you know, is for corporate America or companies around the world to spend less time on marketing presentations and more time on your product. Honestly that should be the one thing most taught in business schools. Download this application sheet and that PowerPoint presentation and go. and make your product better. “
He also predicted that selling cars online, and delivering cars directly to consumers, rather than selling vehicles through traditional stores or dealers, would become even more of a standard, after Covid-19 .
Tesla has seen “firm orders through the entire pandemic,” Musk said. Tesla deliveries fell by about 5% for the second quarter of 2020. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, most other cars saw sales rise by more than 30% over the same period. The Chief Executive concluded, “Having traditional traders in situations I think seems increasingly unnecessary and I think the pandemic has probably reinforced that.”
Shares of Tesla closed 3.8% on Friday, but have been going spectacularly this year despite the global coronavirus pandemic and the onset of a recession.