Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for the Tesla program produced by China Model Y in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.
Aly Song | Reuters
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk lamented the “fair” and “complacent”; character of people in the United States, and congratulated China’s “smart people” and “hard workers” in the first installment of a The three-part interview with the Automotive Daily Drive news podcast was published on Friday.
In particular, Musk criticized New York and California – states that have backed his businesses, particularly Tesla, with significant tax cuts, regulatory loans and other government assistance.
Automobile News publisher Jason Stein, who conducted the interview, asked Musk, “What about China as a leader of EV strategy in the world?”
Musk replied: “China fluctuates in my opinion. The energy in China is huge. The people there – there are as many smart and tireless people. And they really – are not right, they are not complacent as I see in the United States more and more complacency and rights especially in places like Zone Bay, and LA and New York ”.
Last year, Chinese government officials helped Tesla secure loans worth about $ 1.6 billion to build and start vehicle production at Shanghai’s relatively new plant. This year, the Shanghai government helped Tesla get back to normal operations quickly, at its new plant after the region was hit by a Covid-19 blast and issued widespread quarantines that temporarily suspended production there.
Musk stressed, Telsa has not received as much help from the government in China as local companies there. “They have been supportive. But it would be strange if they were more supportive of a non-Chinese company. They are not,” he said.
Musk Mercury’s enthusiasm for China was at odds with his outspoken contempt for communism. In a tweet Monday this week, Musk scoffed at Karl Marx’s social welfare programs in general and “Das Kapital”.
During the News Vehicle podcast, Musk compared the U.S., California and New York to sports teams to lose their winning status.
“When you earn a lot of time, you get things better. The United States, and especially like California and New York, you get a lot of time. When you earn a lot, you get things for granted. So, like some pro sports teams they win a championship you know a bunch of times in a row, they become complacent and they start to lose “.
Tesla and the states
Among U.S. automakers, “Tesla has had the least government support for any auto company,” Musk said.
He boasted of repaying a loan to Tesla to the U.S. Department of Energy ahead of schedule.
In June 2009, the Obama-era Department of Energy gave Tesla a $ 465 million loan to set up a vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, and begin production of its all-electric Sedan 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 government assistance in the US According to the Los Angeles Times analysis, the Tesla government assistance to the US has exceeded $ 4.9 billion.
Tesla’s California government support has included more than $ 220 million in sales and use of tax breaks from California, the Alternative Energy Financing and Advanced Transportation Authority, as well as zero-emission vehicle and energy credits. renewable, provided by the state. The sale of these regulatory loans was a key factor in Tesla’s profitability in the past four quarters.
As previously reported by CNBC and others, New York State spent $ 959 million on a solar panel factory in Buffalo, now operated by Tesla, in an effort to bring the state more than 1,000 tech jobs. high and productive.
Tesla has not fulfilled its work obligations so far in New York. A financial record this week revealed that Tesla has received a full extension from the state in order to meet the head count requirements. If not, Musk electric vehicle and renewable energy company will have to pay $ 41 million to Empire State.
Tesla stock and sales
In the podcast, Musk also celebrated the fact that Tesla is now seen as a “legitimate” American and multinational motorist. While once a striker and citizen, Automotive News asked him what was going on with the rising Tesla stock price, which is more than 240% this year, and whether Musk felt the need to manage investor expectations.
“It’s not worth trying to massage the stock market or manage investor expectations. It’s just that. You know? At the end of the day, if you make great cars and healthy company company and making great products investors will be happy … If you make delightful products your customers will be dissatisfied and then your investors will be dissatisfied “.
Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks in front of a Tesla Model S electric car on the second day of the 2010 North American Auto Show International in Detroit, Michigan.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
He also gave this advice to other entrepreneurs:
“My advice, you know, to American corporations or corporations around the world is spending less time on marketing presentations and more time on your product. Honestly that should be the number one thing taught in schools. “Put that spreadsheet and that PowerPoint presentation and go and make your product better.”
He also predicted that online car sales, and sending cars directly to consumers, rather than selling vehicles through stores or traditional sales, would become even more of a standard, after the Covid-19.
Tesla saw “strong orders throughout the pandemic,” Musk said. Tesla deliveries fell about 5% for the second quarter of 2020. Due to Covid-19 impacts, most other automakers saw sales of more than 30% over the same period. The CEO concluded, “Having a traditional trader situation I think seems increasingly unnecessary and I think maybe the pandemic just reinforced it.”
Tesla shares closed 3.8% on Friday, but have been on a spectacular run this year despite the global coronavirus pandemic and the start of a recession.