AD #2944 – Should Executives Race Cars?; Tesla’s Operational Advantage; Fiat Introduces 3+1 Electric 500

October 23rd, 2020 at 12:00pm

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Listen to “AD #2944 – Should Executives Race Cars?; Tesla’s Operational Advantage; Fiat Introduces 3+1 Electric 500″ on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 10:46

0:07 Hamburg Offers Free Autonomous Shuttle Rides
0:58 Tesla’s Operational Advantage
1:49 Should Executives Race Cars?
3:30 FCA Updates Online Buying Experience
4:18 Hummer EV Off-Road Specs
5:09 Electric Fiat 500 Gets Big Discount in Italy
5:47 Fiat Introduces 3+1 Electric 500
6:58 Genesis GV80 Engine Details
7:52 You Said It!
9:21 Mercedes Recalling Vehicles with Illuminated Grille Star

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59 Comments to “AD #2944 – Should Executives Race Cars?; Tesla’s Operational Advantage; Fiat Introduces 3+1 Electric 500”

  1. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Nice comments on whether auto executives should race; I concur with you completely. And might I add that if I were on the Board of Directors, I’d have an inside line, SO I could race too!

  2. Lambo2015 Says:

    The business “experts” that think executives shouldn’t race should probably get out of their office more.

    No one, Not even a CEO is irreplaceable, and they could drop dead from a brain aneurism or in a car crash on the road or track at any time. They shouldn’t have to give up one of the things that make life worth living due to the danger involved. Not a truer understanding of how a car performs can be had without placing your butt in the seat and hitting the track.

  3. Larry Skellion Says:

    Although I understand your point about the illuminated badges, isn’t that what cars are truly all about? If not we’d all be driving monochrome jellybeans. Seems more like a design issue tying a fluff item into a safety circuit, which should NEVER happen.

  4. Larry D. Says:

    Question of the day: “If you were on the board of directors, would you let your CEO race?”

    We should think about this very carefully, because it is NOT a simple question.

    The correct answer is “It Depends on which CEO we are talking about”.

    If you have successful and brilliant CEO (and there is only ONE of these, ELON MUSK), I would absolutely FORBID him to race, he is too valuable to take this kind of risks.

    If you have a clueless and failed CEO like the (fired in disgrace, really) Hackett at Ford, I would allow him to race, PROVIDED he took out a $100,000,000 Life insurance policy with ME, Larry, as the beneficiary. $10 mill will NOT do. $1 bill would be even better.

    For in between CEOs, decide on a case-by-case basis.

  5. Tony Gray Says:

    Typical egghead comment on something they don’t grasp. What, are airline executives not allowed to fly? Will Harley tell their execs to park their Super Glides? Me think not.

  6. Lambo2015 Says:

    Having worked at Ford I can say that operating Tesla as many single stand alone start-ups would certainly make things move quicker. In the large auto companies lots of time is wasted getting approvals through the various layers of management. Allowing groups to be focused and empowered to make the decisions needed to get their stuff done not only is more efficient but avoids the changes that come from upper management wanting to put their spin on everything.

  7. Larry D. Says:


    A major difference between Tesla and all the rest of them automakers is that Tesla is really serious about maximizing VERTICAL INTEGRATION.

    This means, for the MBA illiterates, that it makes a much bigger proportion of its parts etc IN HOUSE instead of giving them to suppliers.

    THerefore, this means that if Tesla makes the same number of units, of the same price/complexity, as some other automaker B, Tesla is a far bigger operation than B.

  8. GM Veteran Says:

    So, the new Hummer will eventually have a starting MSRP roughly 20 grand more than the Cadillac it is based on. Very interesting. More than anything, that is the power of marketing and branding.

    For me, the Datsun grille is much more appealing than the Nissan design. They should adopt this as the new styling direction for Nissan.

  9. Lambo2015 Says:

    4 Most CEOs get where they are by being somewhat of a risk taker. You should be more worried about Elon’s caffeine intake than him racing. He claims that he maintains his long work hours on 8 cans of diet coke and several cups of coffee daily. So should the board control his diet too? Dumb question.

  10. Larry D. Says:

    8 why do they even call it “Hummer”? It looks nothing like the REAL Hummer. It looks like it was designed by one of Mary Barra’s girlfriends. (look at the sides especially). Maybe they are the intended byuer(s)?

  11. Larry D. Says:

    9 WHile there is much truth in my post, it was largely HUMOR. Try it sometime. It’s fun.

  12. GM Veteran Says:

    I realized the other day that we will soon have top execs at all three “domestic” automakers that like to race cars. Could be the first time that has happened ever, certainly since the 20′s or 30′s. I am counting Carlos Tavares as head of Stellantis, since the merger is still on track and they are already integrating the companies.

  13. GM Veteran Says:

    12 – By the way, I think this is a good thing for our future automotive choices.

  14. GM Veteran Says:

    I was actually very pleasantly surprised when I finally saw the actual Hummer design. Obviously, so were a lot of EV buyers since the entire first year’s production reservations were spoken for in ten minutes. Apparently, quite a number of REAL EV buyers like it. And that is what really matters.

  15. Dana Ford Says:

    “The professor needs a better education.” I totally agree with this! We have that problem with many professors out there. They have great learning and have been schooled in great ideas and theories….but….they have not been taught with real-life experience!! It takes the EXPERIENCE in learning to have true wisdom in teaching. Just compare the experience of anyone who has only watched racing on TV versus anyone who has been to a race in person, whether it be behind the wheel, working in the pits, or even just spectating from the starting line. There’s a BIG difference in experience right there.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I certainly think car company executives should be allowed to race, with proper safety equipment, but I think there should be restrictions on some things. I think it would be perfectly reasonable for companies to disallow executives from riding motorcycles on the street without helmets. Maybe the NFL, or some of their teams have a rule like that, after a certain incident a few years ago.

  17. John L Says:

    If GM was building the Hummer off an existing in-house concept, they should have been able to create the new vehicle within some semblance of competitive market pricing. Or maybe do the competition one better, as they traditionally do with Corvette. This pie in the sky concept that is out of reach for 98% of their customer base is simply a miss, in my opinion.

  18. Lambo2015 Says:

    7 For those that try and lecture the MBA illiterate they themselves should probably know what they are talking about. Vertical integration isn’t all its cracked up to be. Almost all the traditional automakers made everything in-house like the Ford Rouge plant which not only had its own steel mill it had its own glass plant. The complex is huge and they made basically everything in-house.
    However a steel mill or glass plant factory is a major investment and cost and when only making 600k cars a year like Tesla those inhouse operations don’t justify the cost. Let a supplier that is making windshields for 4 or 5 million cars a year have the business and they can split the overhead over a much larger number of vehicles thus offering it for a cheaper price.
    In addition to the cost advantage of volume you have experts that can produce a better product than the manufacturer whos sole focus needs to be designing and assembling a vehicle. Folks in the seating, audio or lighting etc have the experience and knowledge to often times provide a better product with the latest technology and at a lower price. Let the experts do what they do, allowing car manufacturers to do what they do best and that’s concentrate on the bigger picture of the vehicle as a whole.

  19. Donald LaCombe Says:

    The amount of incapacitating accidents in most racing series is very minimal. Yes, having a racer as a senior exec in an auto company might provide some different decisions because they actually understand vehicle dynamics.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As far as the hummer name, it was derived from a sex act. Search “hummer urban dictionary.”

  21. Roger Blose Says:

    I love that several CEOs are racing after hours. We need “car guys and gals”running these companies as they make better product decisions. Remember back in the 1980s when Don Peterson, CEO at Ford, had all of his engineers run through the Bondurant Racing school to help learn about vehicle handling and more. This helped with the SVO / SVT cars, T-Bird Turbo Coups, Mustang GTs, and SHO Taurus models.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5 I wonder if Harley executives wear helmets when they ride their Super Glides, unlike most of their customers. Also, do they leave the mufflers on them, unlike most regular customers?

  23. Lambo2015 Says:

    11 Oh! that was your attempt at humor.. okay don’t give up your day job. Was the comments in 10 also a lame attempt at humor? I don’t know what Mary Barra’s girlfriends look like but that comment just seemed inappropriate.

    The Hummer although not your cup of tea (or mine for that matter) was not intended to look like an EV version of the old models. So not sure what you mean by saying it doesn’t look like a real Hummer. I’d say its very much recognizable to be a Hummer yet different. They obviously did something right to have the first years of production reserved out in 10 minutes even at the luxury level pricing of 113K. Doubt Mary loses a wink of sleep caring what Larry thinks of the Hummer as they fly off the shelves.

  24. ArtG Says:

    17. Well, John, the first year’s production is already sold out, so some people apparently have the money.

  25. ArtG Says:

    Hey, Kit. I saw your letter in “Backfires” in C&D. Brought a smile to my face. Kudos.

  26. Dale Leonard Says:

    I truly believe a CEO should be a “Gear Head”. Perfect example,Ford’s previous CEO Jim Hackett,was from Steelcase. What does a guy who’s company made office equipment understand about a motor vehicle. You need guidance from the top and what better then a vehicle manufacturer having a true gear head for a CEO. Hey,Even Mary Barra is a Gear Head !!!

  27. Larry D. Says:

    24 Your link omits the most important number, WHAT was that VERY MEAGER production target tht allegedly was met?

    Your link ALSO confirms my numbers yesterday, when I mentioned that the So-called “Hummer” at $113k is almost THREE TIMES the price of the cybertruck,

    “The Cybertruck’s starting price is $39,900,”

    And DESPITE my VERY ACCURATE Stateent above, that clueles Lambo called my ‘math’ “ridiculous”.

    Talk about the POT calling。。。

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 Thanks

  29. Roger T Says:

    #7 – Elon will likely jump on a starship and head off to mars, no matter what he’s told. The idea that car company execs should not race is silly, as are companies that don’t have succession and contingency planning.

  30. Roger T Says:

    meant #4

  31. Lambo2015 Says:

    27 Your math is flawed cause the top of the line Cybertruck is 69,900 and Hummer is 113K (so more than half) and the base model Tesla is 39,900 and the base Hummer is 80K so seems like basic math to me and everyone I know but maybe you know some new math that supports your 3 times figure.. Or you could just admit your wrong.

  32. Bob Wilson Says:

    Is Fiat still losing $20,000 with every 500e sold?

  33. Chip Caruana Says:

    On racing, I’d like to see a cost/benefit analysis on their racing programs. Their race cars are so far removed from what we buy and drive that I don’t equate their racing prowess with their street vehicles at all.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 You mean those NASCAR Camrys aren’t just like my LE hybrid?

  35. Ctech Says:

    I had my doubts about how big the market is for a $100K pick up truck but apparently it is there. I just hope GM does not disappoint this new customer base by delivering a substandard truck.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    35 any novelty, no matter how RIDICULOUS, will have some initial sales, and if it is like this phony Hummer, it will soon FIZZLE, despite the fact that later models will go for “only” $80k. TO me, it is not worth even EIGHT grand, but, maybe there are plenty of successful plumbers out there (not to mention pimps and rappers) who are foolish enough to waste their easily earned $ on this LAUGHABLE vehicle.

    Oh, and PS, when you have an ENORMOUS 200 KWH battery and you can only squeeze, AT BEST, 350 miles of range, you are TRULY PATHETIC, “Hummer” engineers.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 With the size and weight of the vehicle, huge tires and the rest, the range vs battery size seems what would be expected. Yes, the vehicle remains an expensive toy, but then, so is the cheapest 911 Cabriolet for $112K.

  38. joe Says:


    Larry D, why don’t you find a job working for Tesla? You are sooo in love with your brilliant Elon Musk and maybe you two could hold hands. I’m sure you two could make a wonderful team by having the two most brilliant people from the face of the earth working together.

  39. Larry D. Says:

    36 Seriously, you compare the most Successful Sports car EVER, the Porsche 911, which model alone sold well over 1,000,000 (and PLEASE do not doubt it again, in case you are forgetting things like Joe Biden, I PROVED it to you), to this ridiculous HIPPOPOTAMUS of vehicle, which does not even LOOK like the original, serious H1??

    NO, THe 911 is NOT a toy. It is a LEGEND. Your unreliable BMW “Mini” is a silly toy. THe ORIGINAL Mini was also a legend, a very different one, of course, far, far below the 911.

  40. rick Says:

    what on earth is ferrari waiting on to replace vettel?

  41. joe Says:


    Yes, it does not look like the old Hummer. It looks a lot better, but for Larry D that makes it look inferior….not a very bright deduction.

    Below is info on it’s engineering aspect.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39 Every sports car is a toy, whether a Miata, a Bugatti Chiron, or something in between, like a Corvette or 911. Cars like Camry and E-Class are designed for basic transportation, while sports cars are designed for fun, thus making them toys.

    Yes, they have made a million cars called Porsche 911 over 50-some years, with the early and current ones as similar to each other, as a 1959 and 2020 Mini are similar to each other.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 Next year

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:


    Maybe Chuck G. can explain some of the driver decisions being made by F1. Carlos Sainz is going to Ferrari next year, while Force India/Racing Point/Aston Martin next year, is firing Perez, who has done pretty well lately, and hiring Vettel, who has not done so well. They are, of course, keeping Lance Stroll, because daddy’s rich, which is an unfortunate part of F1 in some cases. It will be interesting to see how Alonso does in his return to Renault next year, but I’ll be surprised if he does as well as some of these young guys.

  45. ChuckGrenci Says:

    44, Kit, you pretty much hit the highlights; at least of what we know now. 2021 is pretty much a filler year for F1 as the big rule changes are coming for ’22. Changing topics here, I have to give F1 kudos for even having a ’20 season, which except for the M/B dominance (again) has shown some pretty good mid-pack (and occasionally) lead pack racing. It was also fun to see some of the different racetracks used this season.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45 Yep. When Australia, and some of the other races were cancelled early on, I was wondering if there’d even be a season. I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

  47. Larry D. Says:

    Jay Leno Drives the Cybertruck. For a rock-bottom price of LESS than $40k, you get much more fun than in the obese, character-less so-called Hummer BEV that does not even look like a Hummer.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47 I’ll believe the $40K Cybertruck when I see it. The $35K Model 3 only lasted for a week or two, and didn’t exist until long after original introduction. The cheapest current Model 3, as shown on their web site is $37,990, plus shipping, handling, document fees, etc. Do you really expect the Cybertruck to sell for only $2K more? I don’t.

  49. rick Says:

    i see alonso having better season than vettel, in vettel,s case drive is no longer what it once was. never forget how he was when he started in f1 but thats gone now.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Historically, Ferrari has been the dream gig for F1 drivers, but it never quite worked out for either Alonso or Vettel. Well, I guess Vettel did ok his first year or two with Ferrari, but it has been kind of sad to see him the last couple years. He has been so badly outclassed by Leclerc, that I’m surprised that Force India hired him. Can the “chemistry” he has with the Ferrari team be so bad that he will suddenly do better with a new team? It seems unlikely. Alonso at Renault will be interesting. I don’t know if former champions his age ever “come back” successfully, but Renault has improved to strong mid-pack, so he may have a decent car.

  51. Larry D. Says:

    I googled to see any Tesla Model 3s here in the old country and the first link was the local equivalent of, and it had a significant 34 used Teslas for sale, at prices very reasonable for a heavily taxed luxury car segment, which makes a top of the line Porsche 911 Turbo S to go for 320,000 EUros new (that’s $400,000 US!) and that 10 years ago, when I checked.

    They were ranked from cheapest to most expensive.

    The cheapest was a regular 2014 Model S for36,900 Euros, but it had 113,000 km

    More interesting was a Model S PERFORMANCE 2014, a SUPERCAR with 518 HP, only 69kKM (about 40k miles), and ZERO annual licence fees (I pay 900 EUROS, over $1,000, for a 3 liter Merc Diesel, but I pay prorated for the months I use it, so it does not hurt any), selling for a NEGOTIABLE (it says)47,800 Euro, I bet it will go down to 45-40k. it looked TRULY gorgeous in brilliant black exterior and beige interior.

    Next, a practically new 2018 Model 3 with only 3k KM went for.. ABOUT as much as the above supercar, at 46,000 E.

    THe most expensive of the 34 was a 2021 Model X in fire engine red (I’d never give this Van-ny crossover the time of day at any price) at 129,000 E

    THe choice is so obvious. Performance Model S, despite its great width which would make it a challenge to take it downtown.

  52. Larry D. Says:

    PS 51 Actually the search in 51 showed both new and used, 15 new and 19 used models. There were disturbingly many ugly Model Xs (well, really not ugly, just not as elegant as the Model S, which no ad classified as a “hatchback”, but usually as a “limousine-Sedan” and a few as a “coupe”.

  53. Larry D. Says:

    Actually the highest price in 51, and MOST DESERVEDLY so, was a 2021 new Model S PLAID, the Super-Duper Hypercar which Superman would drive, with 1,100 HP and priced VERY reasonably for what it offers, at 153,990 E

    Remember the stupid Bugatti Veyron which started at $1 Million? It had 100 HP LESS, at 1,000. The Chiron has more, but it goes for… $3 million, or TWENTY BRAND NEW SUPERHYPER Model S PLAIDs, with a combined 22,000 HP!.

  54. Bob Wilson Says:

    Now if the executives had to personally race their best production vehicle against each other … that would be fun.

  55. Lambo2015 Says:

    48 Same here kit. Only a fool and his money will soon part that believes he can get a new Cybertruck for $39,900. Some idiots believe the Elon propaganda that keeps his company in the news. The folks with a reasonable touch of reality know its just another target thrown out to the public to create a buzz that he later will miss.
    I actually believe the cybertruck as a whole was a publicity stunt. The ridiculous looking pyramid truck is likely the platform for the real Tesla truck with a more traditional body. They may release a few editions of the flat panel thing but I would doubt it will be less than $49,900.

  56. Larry D. Says:

    54 That would be hilarious. Elon will show up with his Model S plaid (and later with the even more stupendous ROadster 2.0) and Mary Barra will send Mark Reuss to crash a C8 instead of finishing a long way behind, and so keep his dignity. But I bet his insurance rates will skyrocket, this being at least the second strike.

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56 Elon would win races of 1/4 mile, as long as you allowed a few minutes between races. Reuss would win anything much longer than that, and win any race that involved turning. I suspect Reuss learned a lesson or two from his embarrassing incident, like maybe he shouldn’t turn off the traction control, or if he does, he should do some practice driving with it off.

    Yeah, the Roadster 2.0 should be very impressive, if and when it exists.

  58. Lambo2015 Says:

    54,57 Guess that would depend if Ford considers the GT a production vehicle at 250 units a year. But as fun as it would be to see a Hellcat, C8, and GT race while the EV’s are in the pits from overheating or needed to be charged it really would depend on the course and driver.

  59. Larry D. Says:

    57 Μusk would OBLITeRATE all opposition. You have ZERO reason to claim the Roadster 2.0 will not materialize, especially now that TEsla has so much cash, it can fund anything it likes WITHOUT a loan, and even did jobs like the Cybertruck for the fun of it, half seriously only. As for hoping that ANYBODY at GM has learned ANYTHING from tbeir MONUMENTAL blunders, even the car-savvy Bon Lutz, it’s funny you are so optimistic about these incompetents despite their huge failures, and skeptical of… Musk despite all his dizzying successes, that even his Biggest Fans did not expect to be so big.

    PS there is no need to wait for the new roadster, the Model S PLAID is an ASTOUNDING AND affordable supercar just as capable, AND on top of it all it is a car for all seasons,with huge room for 5+ passengers, range and cargo space.