AD #2522 – Tesla Reports Decent Q4 Earnings, The Dune Buggy is Back & It’s Electric, Global Sales Dip Slightly in 2018

January 31st, 2019 at 11:45am

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Runtime: 7:39

0:28 Tesla’s Q4 Earnings Decent, But Below Expectations
1:47 EV Chargers Push Out Traditional Parts at VW Plant
2:19 VW Teases Electric Dune Buggy Concept
2:38 Toy Car Carrier for Your Toy Cars
3:23 Global Car Sales Dip Slightly in 2018
4:10 PSA Increases Engine Production for Opel/Vauxhall
4:44 Mazda Takes Ford’s Stake in Chinese Engine JV
5:40 Harley-Davidson Continues to Struggle

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31 Comments to “AD #2522 – Tesla Reports Decent Q4 Earnings, The Dune Buggy is Back & It’s Electric, Global Sales Dip Slightly in 2018”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve never had a Harley, except a Buell, but I’m part of the prime Harley demographic, a 72 year old “baby boomer.” If I bought Harleys, I probably would have already bought my last one.

    As far as the electric Harley, the price is too high. This summer, I may buy an electric motorcycle, but it would/will be a Zero with equal range to the Harley, but for less than half the price.

  2. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Concur with your Harley assessment Kit. Just adding that Harley has seen bad times before (actually more than just a couple of times); whether they rebound or not is an unknown. Their products are premium but so are their prices. The V-Twin has been declared dead more than once but this has also been proven premature.

  3. motorman Says:

    H/D got greedy and over produced and lowered the value of used H/D bikes. Before you could buy a H/D ride for a year and you could sell it and get a new one for very little difference. Most of the time insurance cost more than the dollar loss on the bike

  4. Lambo2015 Says:

    Sounds like Harley is placing some of the blame on tariffs when sales are dropping across the board. They sold 228,051 bikes in 2018 and project only 222k for 2019. They only exported 95k in 2018 so that 100 to 120 Million sounds a bit inflated.
    Bikes in general will continue to decline as the roads become more congested and dangerous. The generation of new drivers today are not even interested in driving a car let alone a motorcycle. The desire for a driving experience is no longer a priority. Very few motorcycle riders buy them for transportation they are a toy for enjoyment of the ride experience. Not that they don’t get used to get back and fourth to work but its not practical in most of the country.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 Most of my riding is to places I’d go anyway, like to breakfast, shopping if I can carry what I’m going for, etc., but sometimes I ride “just for fun.” A lot of riders I know seem to ride only “for fun.”

    I’ve been a coach/mentor with a high school robotics team for about 20 years, with a few hundred kids “passing through,” and there have been only two or three motorcycle riders among them. I’m sure a few have started riding since HS, but not many. I suspect ridership, and sales are declining everywhere, except maybe in some very poor countries where small motorcycles and scooters are “affordable” transportation.

    Along the “new drivers today are not even interested in driving” subject, there have only been about 5 of those robot team members who drive manual transmission 4 wheeled vehicles.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I haven’t heard it discussed, but I’d think Trump’s China and Europe bashing of various types might reduce demand for American, and American brand products in other countries, never mind the tariffs. Are Buicks still the hot item in China that they once were? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t think the rhetoric would help.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    Trump knows better than to use the tariffs etc only as a negotiating tactic. Previous presidents did absolutely nothing but whine about the egregious violations of the Chinese on intellectual property as well as tariffs on US exports to China. His pressure has already born fruit in the Chinese offers to lower those tariffs, although to convince them to stop their outrageous cheating will take more effort.

  8. Larry D. Says:

    6 I meant to write he knows better than to use these tools as anything other than just a negotiating tactic.

    On Harley, now we know why they bothered to do an electric bike. I doubt it will succeed and the company may be in serious trouble again, as it was before I had my project with them in 1997, which earlier trouble they had managed to overcome.

  9. XA351GT Says:

    Harley isn’t the only motorcycle company experiencing a downturn . All have seen their sales fall. As younger people opt out of vehicles altogether and use ride shares like Uber and lyft. I believe one factor that may not be mentioned is with the size of vehicles getting larger and their blind spots huge drivers that are more worried about texting than driving I know is causing the casual rider to quit. It just isn’t worth your life to ride . Ignorant selfish drivers have taken the fun out of riding for many.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 The things you mention have taken the fun out of riding where I am in Florida. I had a bike here, but no more. I still ride when in Indiana over the summer, where there is less traffic, no lost tourists, and it generally seems safer. There are no guarantees on safety, but I still enjoy riding.

  11. Lambo2015 Says:

    #5 Even countries like India which has a huge population of motorcycles/scooters is changing. As they become more developed and people can afford cars they will most likely see a decline too. First quarter of 2018 motorcycle sales exceeded scooter sales. They still see double digit increases each year though so will probably still be a while before the cars push out the bikes there.

  12. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I used to ride to work whenever possible (I wouldn’t ride if raining in the morning but have numerous times ridden back home in the rain) but since retirement I have limited my rides to mostly Sunday mornings just to avoid traffic. I used to race motocross (back in the seventies) so enjoyment of the ride was and is one of my main draws. As XA mentioned, of late there has been a general reduction in motorcycle sales but these (sales) have historically been cyclical so there may be no cause for alarm.

  13. Bob Wilson Says:

    ” . . . the company faces a $900 million payout in March, which it can pay with stock if shares are over $360. Otherwise it has to fork over cash. ”

    By paying cash, Tesla avoids diluting the existing stock … leaving Elon more in control.

  14. ARHPG Says:


    Tesla’s Q4 net profit was about $200M, lower than expected, but still a small profit! This helps; it also buys more time. The stock price today is around $307/share and largely downward-trending, a pretty good distance from the “strike” price of $357, so it looks like the company will indeed have to pay the bond in cash, which Musk also indicated in his Q4 report that the company was prepared to do. This is not surprising, but it indicates that Musk does not have an easy access to outside cash—knows he has little choice but to pay the bond in cash on March 1—and will forge his way through forthcoming R&D and product-development costs by nook or crook. He can raise money here and there (sell more stock, too) without a specific time constraint, but he cannot avoid the bond payment in any way, and he probably can’t delay it. Money or stock has to be put on the line, and it looks like money out of the COH bucket.

    On top of that, competition is intensifying with the big boys aiming directly at Tesla (especially in light of the market gains in the luxury segment made by the company), and this probably keeps Musk asleep with one eye open each night. Audi and Porsche appear to be putting forth a significant effort

    Then there is the tax credit. Drops immediately for Tesla, halves again in twelve months, etc. This is why the S/X prices were dropped, superficially, perhaps, going forward.

    Musk appears to be learning from his mistakes. He is very adaptive, innovative, but he is block-headed by trying to “reinvent the wheel” at every turn, thus demonstrating less than brilliance as an industrialist. He is creative, but he seems to lack that intuitive genius that earlier auto industry leaders possessed, Henry Ford, Alfred Sloan, Walter P. Chrysler and many others who successfully forged ahead in the early half of the 20th century. Hell, Chrysler was making a profit during the depression and winning market-share, even in the midst of the ill-fated, problematical and very expensive (loss) Chrysler Airflow! Chrysler never cut one penny from R&D during the depression. How would Musk compare to these men? Time will tell, for sure!

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Chuck, did you start riding as a little kid? Most motocross racers I’ve know, regardless of age now, started riding at age 10 or before.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 Tesla has done well selling cars, but almost no one else has done that recently. It will be interesting to see which of the VW Group expensive EVs does better, the E-tron CUV, or the car Taycan.

  17. ChuckGrenci Says:

    15, Kit
    No, I was in the Navy in Charleston where I had bought a KH-175 Enduro riding on the streets when a fellow sailor who had previously raced in Washington State bought a motocrosser and we started riding off road. He then talked me into trading up to a YZ-250 full blown racer and we started hitting the local tracks. He was pretty good, me not so much but I had fun and eventually got decent. I think I was 23 (those were the days). :D
    Thanks for asking; brings me back to some fun times.

  18. XA351GT Says:

    Those aren’t TOYS they are adult collectibles, LOL As a collector of diecast and soon to be resin model cars those are fighting words to some collectors. I don’t care whether people think they are toys or not I get a lot of enjoyment out of them. I’m just very lucky my wife doesn’t care or after over 3000 in various scales my goose would be cooked LOL. $725 is all that much for a model that size. I bought a Exoto 917 Can-am Porsche that Donohue drove for Penske that cost me $500 years ago that is now selling for over $2000 on the used market. Some may scoff at still playing with cars ,but like any hobby if you do it right they can actually make you money in time.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have a 1/18 scale die cast 1st gen Viper. I think it’s Italian. I don’t know what it’s worth, but it’s good decoration.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m glad I don’t have 3000 model cars. It would be a lot of work dusting them.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    14 None of these will make a dent in model 3 sales, they are fighting for a very small market segment. The Taycan may get a few higher priced Model S sales, the 6,000 lb hippopotamus Etron at $90k maybe will take a few tesla X sales.

    E-tron, however, is not a single model but a family of models, they are introducing a smaller one in some auto show, i read. That may be able to sell a serious no of units.

    The only model from the VW Group Tesla might worry about, if it overlaps the Model 3 in price, is the new VW EV, in combination with VWs agreed (as part of their diesel settlement) network of superchargers, some of them (very good thinking) will be mobile.

  22. Larry D. Says:

    19 I also have a 1str gen Viper 1:18 which I bought in the mid-90s along with two others, the start of my ‘collection’. My criterion then was for each model to have the max number of moving features, to be able to open the engine and the trunk as well as the cabin. My first 3 were all convertibles, a red viper, a brit racing green E-type, and ancient blue Bugatti roadster racecar whatever. I later got several more 1:18s, a few 1:24s and many low-priced smaller scale models, from 1:37 to 1:64 or even smaller.

    Investment collectors do not take the models out of their boxes for max price, so they never touch them. Not me.

  23. Larry D. Says:

    21 I just read that VW is building a big pure EV factory in Zwickau, an East German town known for making that god-awful tiny smelly trabant in DDR times. However it is not as big as tesla’s, even at full capacity 2 years from now it will make only 1,500 battery-powered EVs a day, making it Europe’s largest EV plant. Total output is expected to reach 330,000 (a year, I guess) and will include EVs for VW, Audi and Seat.

    Amazingly VW stated it “aims to shift its ENTIRE fleet to battery propulsion by 2020 as part of a commitment to the Paris Climate Accord”. The Zwickau plant will be the first to be converted to all EV production.


  24. Larry D. Says:

    23 Actually it will be quite big, i was comparing apples to oranges (daily to weekly production), only Tesla’s Chinese plant will be making more EVs than the VW plant.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 Interesting. I was 27-28 when I started riding, but always wanted both wheels on the ground, preferably pavement, and never did much riding. I had a KH-125 for a while, but rode it only on the street.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 Type/missing works… “and never did much riding,” meant “and never did much off-road riding.”

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 In addition to the Viper, I have a 1:24 Delco Electronics truck that was sold as a promotion while I was working. Both are badly depreciated, because they have been touched, and had dust on them. They are basically like new, but no doubt have dust in nooks and crannies where it would be hard to remove.

    23 By VW’s aim to to shift its entire fleet to battery propulsion by 2020, they surely mean some amount of battery propulsion, including mild hybrid.

  28. XA351GT Says:

    Kit , my guess is your Viper is made by Burago.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 That sounds right.

  30. Larry D. Says:

    28 Mine were sure Buragos, all three 1:18s (Red Viper, E type and the Bugatti), got them by mail for about $50 total. Got more Buragos later, a yellow Ferrari, a Lexus LS400 original, a great Merc SEL Convertible from 68 (maroon with tan leather) and an even more spectacular Merc 55 forest green with tan interior, the very expensive 300 Hollywood stars used to own. Plus 1/24 red 911, red merc SL gullwing, and one more I forget.

  31. Larry D. Says:

    January sales are starting to come in, FCA did well again, up 2.5% despite everything. But Jeep fell 2.2% and the only up division was RAM up 23.80%

    The only other sales has is the estimate of Tesla sales, which was an impressive, BMW-Mini and Mercedes Beating 31,900 units, compared to 7,700 in jan 18, or up a huge 314.30%