Tesla’s market value plummets, Toyota’s production numbers soar, Lada’s dreams grow bigger, and the Brits lose their mind over the proper pronunciation of Hyundai.
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.
How Much Money Did Bill Gates (Allegedly) Make Shorting Tesla?
Unsurprisingly, Tesla’s bad news morning turned into a bad news afternoon yesterday, with the stock dropping below $110 after Reuters reported that the company was going to extend its production slowdown in China longer than originally expected. For those keeping track at home, that’s a 25% loss in stock value in the past five (trading) days and a more than 10% drop in value in a day.
The result? According to Barrons, Tesla is no longer one of the 10 biggest companies in the United States by market cap:
Tesla dropped out of the 10 biggest public U.S. companies by market capitalization for the first time in more than two years. With a market cap of around $345 billion, it’s currently ranked the 16th largest U.S. company—Tesla was ranked 10th just on Friday.
Not great. In reading about the stock yesterday I was reminded of a little tiff between Bill Gates and Elon Musk that occurred earlier this year:
Bill said he hasn’t closed it out, so Elon told him to get lost. No idea if this is true lol pic.twitter.com/iuHkDG3bAd
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) April 22, 2022
Musk confirmed the above was real and that he believed Gates was shorting the company’s stock. If Gates really was short on Tesla (and it seems probable) then he could have made billions on that bet alone. Already this year, short sellers have made about $15 billion betting against Tesla.
You should not take financial advice from a website run by someone who eats spaghetti in the shower, but the bears are starting to feel a tad overzealous. Sure, there’s bad news now, but Tesla is a profitable company with a strong brand. The exuberance that propelled the stock above what I thought was rational can work in the other direction.
The stock is ticking up a bit this morning and may hold there if Musk can avoid tweeting some nonsense. (Ed. note: “If” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence. -PG)
Toyota Made A Lot Of Cars In November
Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to day,
To morrow will be dying.
– Robert Herrick
The world is not flat and COVID-19 has exposed just how round the world actually is, leading to delays because of: semiconductors, lack of truckers to move things, lack of people to make the things the truckers move, blocked shipping channels, et cetera. The supply chain snafus have hit most companies, though not equally. Toyota, for instance, had a great November. From Automotive News:
The world’s No. 1 automaker produced 833,104 vehicles last month, a 1.5-percent increase from a year earlier. Global sales rose 2.9 percent to 796,484 units, the company said in a statement on Monday.
There are numerous outstanding issues that could interfere in the future so it behooves Toyota to keep pumping out cars while they can.
Lada Wants To Make More Than 400,000 Cars In 2023
Western companies began almost immediately divesting from Russian partnerships after the illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine. One of the biggest was Renault, which sold its stake in AvtoVaz (its tie-up to produce cars under the Lada brand) for a single ruble. The catch was that, pending the resumption of normal relations, Renault could buy back its share for one ruble.
Lada kept making cars, but the lack of parts and western sanctions led to many of their vehicles being built without airbags, radios, anti-lock brakes, or emissions controls. That situation has eased a little, but Lada is still trying to figure out how to build cars without help from the west.
Now they’re looking to expand to over 400,000 cars in 2023, according to this Reuters report:
The board of directors of Russian top carmaker AvtoVAZ approved the firm’s 2023 investment programme for just under 40 billion roubles ($585 million), Russia’s state news agency RIA reported late on Monday.
“Yes, it has been approved,” RIA quoted AvtoVAZ president Maxim Sokolov as saying.
By comparison, they made about 200,000 cars in 2022.
How Do You Pronounce Hyundai?
I think most Americans pronounce Hyundai like Sunday, as proposed in the advertisement above. When a Super Bowl ad tells us to do something, we generally do it.
Also, I was with the North American CEO of Hyundai at a dinner last month and he pronounced it like Sunday so I assume that’s correct (inasmuch as any pronunciation can be correct).
The British, I’ve noticed, pronounce it differently. That’s fine. The Brits can pronounce things however they want, although it sounds like Hyundai wants them to adopt the day in Hy-un-Dai:
So after decades of teaching brits to say Hy-Un-Die, Hyundai is now changing its UK pronunciation to Hyun-Day. How do Brits feel about this.
— Rory Reid (@MrRoryReid) December 28, 2022
For once, the Brits are voting to stay with something, at least in Rory’s unscientific poll. The “hy” sound used by Korean speakers is not a common one in English and so the American pronunciation seems to come as close to the original Korean pronunciation as possible without forcing new sounds on the speaker. The British version is just made-up nonsense as far as I can tell. If you want to hear what it sounds like in Korean here’s an ad:
At what price would you buy Tesla stock?
Photos: Tesla, AvtoVaz, Toyota