Are we doing this? I guess we’re doing this. It’s Thursday and we’ve got: General Motors is blinding people, Peugeot is confusing people, VinFast is trying to win people over, and Elon Musk contradicting himself.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Elon Musk Sells Lots Of Tesla Shares
No further TSLA sales planned after today
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2022
I’m not interested in all the discourse around Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Twitter. It’s exhausting and it’s not my beat. I highly recommend you read The Verge if that’s your jam. They’re doing a good job.
Musk either is a super brain genius and it’s all going to work out for him, or he’s been winging it all along and it’ll collapse around him. Or maybe not. There’a great line from The Coup’s “Repo Man” that goes:
Banks that give the loan figure – damn, in the worst case
We makin money cause we had it in the first place!
And where was it that they got that cash from?
You when you deposit it from bustin yo’ ass
That’s all to say: If you’re the richest man in the world and you lose money, you still might be the second richest man in the world and your ability to make money is directly proportional to how much you have. Plus, there’s always money somewhere in Qatar or Saudi Arabia or the banana stand or whatever.
The tweet above is from April and it’s Elon Musk, as I read it, implying there were no plans to sell more Tesla shares to support Twitter (We already shared a report that Musk was considering getting new loans for Twitter using Tesla as collateral).
According to CNBC and SEC filings, Elon Musk sold some more shares yesterday worth about $3.6 billion. This is, if I’m counting correctly, the third time this year he’s sold shares since saying he wasn’t planning to do so. I like this quote from the CNBC article:
According to financial research firm VerityData, Musk has sold 94,202,321 shares so far this year at an average price of $243.46 per share for pre-tax proceeds of approximately $22.93 billion.
Director of research for VerityData, Ben Silverman, wrote in an e-mail to CNBC on Wednesday, “Musk’s prior sales going back to November 2021 were expertly timed, so Tesla shareholders need to pay attention to Musk’s actions and not his words – or lack thereof when it comes to his recent selling.”
Plans change! It could be a tougher market for Tesla going forward as competition from Chinese firms in China and everyone else in Europe and the United States gets a lot stronger.
Markets are not fully transparent or logical/rational and perhaps that data is just being priced in, but Twitter has dropped from about $292 when the Tweet above was posted to… $156 yesterday. That’s not quite a 50% drop.
Peugeot Is Dropping The INCEPTION At CES
Don’t name a car inception. That’s a silly name. Before the movie, you can call a car INCEPTION in all caps and people will think it’s clever. Now people will just think about the movie. You try telling that to the French!
Peugeot is now part of Stellantis and so it makes a bit of sense that they should debut its new concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas next year. Here’s all the company is saying about it:
With a new formal language that exalts its feline and attractive attitude, its revolutionary interior design and its promise of unprecedented driving sensations, the PEUGEOT INCEPTION CONCEPT opens a new era based on the brand values, Allure, Emotion and Excellence.
Do I hope this means that Peugeot will start selling cars in the United States? Absolutely. Will this happen? I’m guessing no. Stellantis needs another brand in the US like David needs another rusty ass Jeep. I feel like every Fiat dealership I see is 18 used non-Fiats and one 500X that never sold.
Also, don’t name a car INCEPTION:
GM Recalls 825,000 Vehicles For Super Bright Lights
Brains are weird. If there are 15 people in your town of 300,000 people who have mullets and you happen to randomly see all of those people in the same day you’d assume the hairstyle had made a huge comeback. If you saw one of these people every three weeks you’d just assume you saw some people with mullets.
I bring this up because a couple of times I feel like I’ve seen Tahoes or Suburbans where it seemed like all the lights were on in front and it was super annoying (I live in New York and they’re extremely common). It didn’t happen enough for my brain to catalog it as anything other than random.
Then I saw the news today from the AP via The Detroit News: “GM recalls over 825k vehicles to fix daytime running lights.”
General Motors is recalling more than 825,000 SUVs and cars in the U.S. and Canada because the daytime running lights may not turn off when the headlights are on.
The recall covers certain 2022 and 2023 Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500 and GMC Yukon SUVs. Also included are Cadillac CT4s and CT5s from the 2020 to 2023 model years, as well as Buick Envisions from 2021 to 2023.
My brain feels like it had an itch for three months and the Associated Press just dragged its pointy nails along my cerebellum. Such a satisfying feeling.
VinFast Opens Four More Stores In California
VinFast, the Vietnamese car company hoping to sell electric cars in the United States, has just opened four more stores in Southern California as part of their curious push into the market. Here’s what the company’s CEO Giang Nguyen had to say:
“We are proud to open four more VinFast stores in California, rapidly expanding our retail system to bring direct product experiences to customers and meet their vehicle needs. This will not only be where the customers learn more about VinFast’s products but also a place to connect VinFast to the customers and take care of them for a lifetime of car ownership.”
We had a chance to poke around some of their future cars at the Los Angeles Auto Show and thought they looked as though they could be competitive if priced right. We haven’t driven them, but our buddy Kevin Williams did for Jalopnik and it doesn’t sound like their vehicles were ready for prime time:
The VinFast VF8 is a compact-ish midsize EV crossover, with 350 horsepower in Eco trim and 402 HP in the Plus trim. Even with the generally higher curb weight inherent to an electric vehicle, 350 horsepower should be enough to scoot the VF8 around with authority. Yet throughout my time behind the wheel, the VF8 felt like it had barely half that output. I drove every pre-production vehicle VinFast brought to the event; all of them felt slow, and their performance was inconsistent.
Should Peugeot come back to the United States? If it did, what would be the product mix?
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Photos: Peugeot, Tesla, Adult Swim, GM, Vinfast