Tesla Model Y: Distracting Problems - Business

  • Tesla strives for the presentation of the new model "Y" the big show.
  • On the one hand, this distracts from problems of the company
  • On the other hand, the automaker could actually succeed with the new model. The demand for so-called "baby SUVs" is great in the United States.

From Jürgen Schmieder, Los Angeles

Nearly 20 years ago, on October 29, 1999, a festival in Las Vegas given with the Dixie Chicks, KISS and The Who. Start-up Pixelon organized this $ 16 million event to showcase a novel technology: a high-quality live livestream worldwide. However, it did not work at all, and billionaire Mark Cuban said about this symbol of megalomania during the first dot-com bubble: "The bigger the party, the bigger the trick!"

Now, in mid-March 2019, electric car maker Tesla celebrated an extra-large party in Los Angeles.

He presented a new vehicle on Thursday evening in the design studio of the company, the compact SUV Model Y, Above all, fans of the company, who call themselves "Teslarati" and see in company boss Elon Musk a savior, were invited. A Tesla vehicle is not just a car, it's always the next step in ridding the world of all gasoline spurts, and for that Musk deserves the utmost respect.

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Shortly after 8 pm, Musk arrives on the stage – black trousers, black T-shirt, black jacket – people are eavesdropping, and at dramaturgically valuable places, they shout things like, "That's great!" Or: "How beautiful!" Or, when the new vehicle finally comes on stage after half an hour of company history and plenty of self-praise: "I want one!"

About the car Musk speaks only very briefly, the seven-seater should come in the fall of 2020 for at least $ 47 000 on the market (which may be much later in Musk's world), the cheapest option in the spring of 2021 (which in Musk's world also can be much later) and should cost in the basic equipment $ 39,000.

"We're likely to sell more copies of Model Y than S, 3, and X together," says Musk. The demand, he said in a January telephone conversation with analysts on the occasion of the quarterly figures, was "insanely high – people just do not have enough money in their accounts."

Well, the demand for gold and diamonds is also insanely high, only there is also this problem with the not so bulging money storage of people. But in fact in the United States in particular there is a veritable boom in the so-called "baby SUVs" – and Tesla now wants to penetrate this market.

It was a Musk gig in Musk Land, and maybe that was why this event was needed to redirect the company's narrative into a friendlier direction. A brief summary of recent months: The company wanted to close the stationary dealerships and sell cars exclusively online, rowing back after protests and announcing previously raised prices again. It paid $ 920 million in cash in cash and sparked new debates over future money worries. It warned investors to make losses again this quarter. Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja will stop. And of course, Musk himself caused confusion among fans with erratic Twitter posts and displeasure with the SEC.

"Ten years ago, it was a stupid thing to drive an electric car company," says Musk during his history lesson: "Electric cars are self-evident in the meantime." Interjection from the audience: "Thanks for that!" Musk asks, "Where will we be in ten years?" Answer by a fan that Musk is particularly pleased: "On Mars!" After that, the company boss brings cheering cheers all Tesla models on stage and at the end of the new vehicle, he calls mischievous grinning on the Justin Timberlake song: "We are bringing sexy back! Literally!" Freely translated, he wants to literally bring back the sex appeal, and for those who still have not got it: the shorthands of all the Tesla models (S, 3, X and Y) spell out the word "sexy".

"In twelve months' time, if we did not produce a single vehicle eleven years ago, we'll have made a total of one million vehicles," Musk said. "It's relatively easy to make a prototype, but mass production is incredibly complicated." What he does not say this evening: Where the model Y is to be assembled and whether it is therefore again, as Musk had called it then, "production hell" with delays will be like the Model 3, Musk does not even park the car for ten minutes, leaving no time for tricky details.

The other car companies have woken up meanwhile

There are now "Teslarati" who are quite irritated by Musk and his Pistolero behavior in recent months (shoot first and ask if it has hit the right one), and the strategy "buy the car, not the stock ". They buy the car and are excited about it, but they do not necessarily want to invest in this company anymore. The Tesla share price has fallen by about 23 percent in the past three months. Tesla needed a sense of achievement now, it was in dire need of a party, and Model Y was a welcome occasion.

But: It works, and that's important, no longer a rebellious company that shows the gasoline heads of the auto industry how it can run with electric cars. In the segment of the so-called crossover SUV, the Model Y with electric SUVs such as Audi's E-Tron. have to compete in the EQC of Mercedes or the Taycan of Porsche, There is no longer a fight between the World Savior and the World Forester. The car companies have woken up, this is also Tesla's and Musk's merit, but now the Californian company has to deal with high-quality competition of financially strong companies.

Musk claims for years that survival of this planet is more important to him than the survival of Tesla, even in December he said on the TV show "60 Minutes": "If someone builds better electric cars than Tesla, we will no longer sell cars and go broke, that's still good for the world. " Once again, you feel like Dot-Com and Pixelon, and the words of Cuban are reminiscent: streaming is a matter of course nowadays, there are portals like Netflix or Hulu that are spending billions of dollars with it. However, Pixelon filed for bankruptcy in June 2000, eight months after the big festival.

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