Tag: Auto Industry

Ajit Pai Does Something Right

Well, knock me over with a sledge hammer.

The FCC has voted to take back about 75% of the spectrum that it allocated to the auto industry for self driving cars because:

  • It really can not work, because you cannot get deer to wear transmitters.
  • All the technology demonstrations have shown that you do not need anything near a full 75 MHz for this technology.

The automobile industry fought this tooth and nail, because they want to use the space to bombard drivers with advertisements, but the FCC unanimously voted to reduce the allocated bandwidth from 75 MHZ to 30 MHz.  

The intent is to reallocate the spectrum to rural broadband and the like.

Full press release after break:

Public Knowledge Applauds FCC Reclaiming Spectrum to Help Close Digital Divide

By  Shiva Stella   November 18, 2020, , , , ,

Today, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted an Order reclaiming the 5.9 GHz spectrum band from the auto industry in order to help close the digital divide.

In 2004, the agency gave the auto industry 75 MHz of spectrum exclusively for “Dedicated Short-Range Communications” (DSRC) for the purpose of improving public safety. After 20 years of waiting for the industry to deploy DSRC, the FCC will phase out DSRC and replace it with a new, more efficient technology called C-V2X (cellular communication to vehicles (C-V2V) and infrastructure (C-V2I), collectively “C-V2X”).

Based on the record, the auto industry will require only 30 MHz of spectrum for collision avoidance and safety purposes. Rather than allowing the auto industry to use the remaining 45 MHz of free spectrum for commercial purposes such as location-based advertising, under this proposal the FCC will repurpose 45 MHz for rural broadband and next generation WiFi needed to support telemedicine and other high-bandwidth applications.

The 5.9 GHz band sits next to the existing “unlicensed” spectrum band at 5.8 GHz. Adding the 45 MHz to this band will allow existing equipment to support gigabit WiFi necessary for telemedicine, multiple education streams, and other valuable services. Furthermore, access to this additional spectrum will allow wireless internet service providers in rural areas to dramatically increase the stability and bandwidth of connections to the home.  

The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:

“Today’s FCC action is a win for closing the digital divide, a win for closing the homework gap, and a win for auto safety. The addition of 45 MHz of unlicensed spectrum will create a WiFi channel capable of supporting WiFi 6. This will enable wireless providers to dramatically increase the speed and reliability of rural broadband. It will dramatically increase the power of public hotspots and mobile hotspots on which many low-income families rely for access to school and work during the pandemic. Because this relies on already existing technology, the expansion and change to WiFi 6 can happen relatively quickly through software upgrades once the rules become effective. 

“In addition, the FCC will phase out the outmoded vehicle communication technology selected as the standard 20 years ago and will phase in a modern, more efficient technology requiring substantially less spectrum for collision avoidance and safety. The FCC has quite properly denied the auto industry desire to repurpose the excess spectrum for infotainment, behavioral advertising, and other commercial purposes that rely on collecting more and more of the public’s personal data and information. The auto industry should not be allowed to commercialize spectrum intended for public safety — especially when doing so would come at the expense of tens of millions of Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide and the homework gap.”

From the Department of About F%$#ing Time

 The State of Ohio has ordered GM to tax incentives for a factory that it has closed

A better idea is not to pay these bribes to the gods of capital in the first place:

The state of Ohio on Monday ordered General Motors to repay $28 million in public subsidies for reneging on its promise to keep its sprawling Lordstown plant open.

The automaker, which had pledged to keep operations going until 2040, closed its assembly plant last October, drawing criticism from elected officials in both political parties, including President Donald Trump. At the time, GM cited the collapsing market for small cars; Lordstown produced the compact Chevrolet Cruze.

But state officials said the closure violated the terms of two economic development agreements GM signed with Ohio more than a decade ago. Between 2009 and 2016, the company received more than $60 million in tax credits to maintain operations at the massive plant, which employed over 4,000 people.

On Monday, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority said GM must pay back roughly half of those tax benefits, as well as provide an additional $12 million in community support in the Mahoning Valley, the economically depressed region where the plant was located. The funds are targeted for education and job training at Youngstown State University and other colleges, community programs and infrastructure projects.


Although the clawback falls short of the total $60.3 million that GM received, the state’s action is significant, said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonprofit agency that tracks corporate subsidies and violations.

“The $28 million still stands as the biggest clawback we can point to” nationwide, he said. Yet he believes that the state should have pursued a total refund. “It’s kind of a two-thirds of a loaf for taxpayers.”

Unfortunately, it appears that authorities then doubled down on the same f%$#ing failed strategy:


At the same time, the tax authority awarded GM a new tax credit to support the battery plant. In return for a promise to create 1,000 jobs, the company will receive a 15-year tax break estimated to be worth $13.8 million over its term.

The numbers are clear on this:  These incentives never pay for themselves. 

It cost Scott Walker reelection in Wisconsin, but until a few more political “Flaming Datums” are out there, this insanity is likely to continue.

Slaughterhouses, AGAIN!

Not good

In Germany there has been a major Covid-19 outbreak at an abattoir, (I love the word, “Abattoir.” I need to use it more often) with over a thousand cases linked to the meat processing plant.

This has taken the R-Number,  the infection rate of an epidemic, from about .75 to 2.88, meaning that infections are growing again, not shrinking: (Any number over 1 indicates an increase in the number of cases)

The owners of Europe’s largest meat-processing plant must be held to account for a mass coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 1,500 of its workers, Germany’s labour minister has said.

Hubertus Heil said an entire region had been “taken hostage” by the factory’s failure to protect its employees, most of whom come from Romania and Bulgaria.

Germany’s coronavirus reproduction or R rate leapt to 2.88 over the weekend largely as a result of the outbreak at the plant at Gütersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). About 7,000 people have been sent into quarantine as a result of the outbreak, and schools and kindergartens in the region that had been gradually reopened have been forced to close until at least after the summer holidays.

Health authorities have accused Tönnies, the family-run business that owns the plant, of breaking regulations around physical distancing that were introduced to dampen the spread of coronavirus. Authorities say Tönnies has also been reluctant to give them access to workers’ contact details, allegedly hampering the tracking and tracing of the workers and their contacts. Tönnies said delays in handing over personnel data had been due to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

Clemens Tönnies, the company’s billionaire CEO, held a press briefing at the weekend at which he apologised for his company’s management of the crisis, and said it would take “full responsibility” for what had to be done to combat it. Within his own family there have also reportedly been attempts to oust him from his role. He has ruled out resigning.

Of course he has ruled out resigning.

This is exactly the same sort of apology as was given by Volkswagen executives.

And the Billionaire Sociopath Not Named Zuckerberg or Bezos Strikes Again

It turns out that the least safe automotive factory in America, Tesla, is once again putting its employees at risk, this time by ignoring Covid-19 precautions.

This is not a surprise.  Elon Musk is a sociopath.

SF Weekly, the Bay Area’s muckraking newspaper, today published an exposé about poor health and work conditions at Tesla’s Fremont plant. One Tesla factory worker said, “This is a life and death situation.” Another worker, who refused to return to work, said, “It’s a modern-day sweatshop.” Unfortunately, we’ve heard similarly harsh words from Tesla non-unionized employees, who helped build the company into a major success.

Carlos Gabriel, the worker who refused to return because social distancing is not being observed, said:

There’s really no room, and this is a factory with recycled air. You’re basically just breathing on each other.


In March, another employee who also wanted to remain anonymous informed Electrek about conditions at the plant when it was formally shut down.

I arrived at work this morning. We are still running full production. Does not look like they cut down on the workforce. They give us a mask and take our temperature when we walk in. They are not practicing safe social distance.


Tesla continues to call more employees back to work. Nonetheless, the company warns that employees who don’t come back to work might lose unemployment benefits.

A set of site-specific pandemic safety guidelines were created on May 12 via meetings between Alameda county and Tesla officials. The guidelines called for changes to the breakroom, temperature screenings, and having employees dispersed throughout the plant.


However, SF Weekly reports that workers say the measures outlined in the HR memo and Return to Work playbook are “not being implemented consistently on the Fremont factory floor, where plant management is still fumbling to establish safety guidelines on the fly.”


However, SF Weekly reports that workers say the measures outlined in the HR memo and Return to Work playbook are “not being implemented consistently on the Fremont factory floor, where plant management is still fumbling to establish safety guidelines on the fly.”

I Want to See Elon Musk Frog-Marched out of His Offices in Handcuffs

Tesla Factory Parking Lot Today

Alameda county officials have been insisting on maintaining a lock-down, and everyone’s favorite sociopath* Elon Musk has opened the factory anyway, putting thousands of his employees, and tens of thousands or their family members at risk.

What’s more, he dared authorities to arrest him.

Simply put, Elon is throwing mama from the train because he wants his stock options to vest.

To quote some anonymous California pol, “F%$# Elon Musk.”

Arrest everyone in the factory, and put Elon at the back of the line for processing, so that he spends 2-3 days in the slam incommunicado.

2 days of jail food should beat a little bit of humility into him.

It will be a learning experience for him, and a warning for the rest of the law-breakers who claim to be noble “disrupters” when they are criminals:

The fight between Tesla and local officials regarding the reopening of a manufacturing plant escalated Monday after chief executive Elon Musk tweeted his plans and mentioned the potential for arrests.

“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

It is one of the most prominent examples of a powerful business figure defying local health orders amid the response to the novel coronavirus. Tesla on Saturday filed suit against Alameda County, where its Fremont, Calif., factory is located, seeking an injunction against orders to stay closed. The suit alleged violations of the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Neetu Balram, a spokeswoman for Alameda County, said in a statement that the county hoped to work with Tesla to avoid any further escalation of the issue.

F%$# that.  Lock him up, and make sure that when he is arraigned, he is photographed in a prison uniform.

Just because he got lucky (and broke some banking regulations) and became a billionaire is no reason for authorities to allow him to arrogantly and openly flout the law.

*But I’m an engineer, not a psychologist, dammit!
I love it when I get to go all Dr. McCoy!

What a Whiny Baby

In his continuing quest to maximize his convenience at the expense of the health and lives of his workers, Elon Musk has thrown a tantrum over Alameda County’s decision to maintain to its lock-down on the factory

He is threatening to move Tesla headquarters (maybe 50 people, big deal) and the factory (a multibillion dollar endeavor that would involve having to retrain an new workforce, and would take years, yeah right) to Texas or Nevada, because he isn’t getting what he wants precisely when he wants.

Why do people think that this wanker is a genius?

Elon Musk and local health officials in California clashed on Saturday over the timing of the reopening of Tesla’s factory in Fremont, with the company’s chief executive pushing for an immediate return and the county’s government seeking a delay of about a week.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Musk said he would move the company’s headquarters out of California to Texas or Nevada.

The tweets came a day after health officials from Alameda County told Tesla that it was not yet allowed to resume production of electric vehicles in Fremont because of fears that the coronavirus could spread among the company’s workers. Manufacturers have been allowed to restart work in other parts of the state that have had less severe outbreaks of the virus.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Mr. Musk said on Twitter. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will depend on how Tesla is treated in the future.”

In a separate tweet, Mr. Musk said Tesla would file a lawsuit against Alameda County.


Scott Haggerty, the county supervisor for the district in Alameda County where Tesla’s Fremont plant is located, said on Saturday that he had been confident that county health officials and Tesla executives were close to an agreement on reopening the plant on May 18. But, Mr. Haggerty said, that appeared to be unacceptable to Mr. Musk, who wanted to open the plant on May 8.

“We were working on a lot of policies and procedures to help operate that plant and quite frankly, I think Tesla did a pretty good job, and that’s why I had it to the point where on May 18, Tesla would have opened,” Mr. Haggerty said. “I know Elon knew that. But he wanted it this week.”


Things began to break down on Thursday, Mr. Haggerty said, when a Tesla executive called him and told him Mr. Musk was thinking about suing him.


“He could have spent time enjoying his new baby and given me and my staff a couple more days and his plant would have been open on May 18,” Mr. Haggerty said. “Am I somewhat sympathetic with Tesla? Yes I am. Am I sympathetic to the way Musk is treating people? No.”


Over the last few months, Mr. Musk has issued several strident calls to reopen the Fremont plant. After local officials ordered the plant closed, he tried to keep the plant open but was forced by the officials to shut it down in late March. In a conference call this past week to report Tesla’s earnings, he called the order “fascist.”

Seriously, this guy is so far along the path to being a Bond villain, it’s buggers the mind.

Well, This Might Justify Tesla’s Stock Price

Even if you think that Tesla will be a tremendously successful, the auto business is relatively low margin and highly competitive, and there is no reason for their stock price to to be more than ford and GM combined.

Unless, of course, Tesla can find a way to extract more money from its customers by forcing them to pay over, and over, and over again, because nothing says automobile ownership like, “You don’t own this, you just have a license, until we change out minds.”

Specifically, Tesla is disabling premium features on resold cars, which means that they are going to charge people for features that have already been paid for.

Somehow, I do not think that going the route of Oracle corporation is not going to be a good look for them:

One of the less-considered side effects of car features moving from hardware to software is that important features and abilities of a car can now be removed without any actual contact with a given car. Where once de-contenting involved at least a screwdriver (or, if you were in a hurry, a hammer), now thousands of dollars of options can vanish with the click of a mouse somewhere. And that’s exactly what happened to one Tesla owner, and, it seems many others.

Alec (I’ll withhold his last name for privacy reasons) bought a 2017 Tesla Model S on December 20 of last year, from a third-party dealer who bought the car directly from Tesla via auction on November 15, 2019. The car was sold at auction as a result of a California Lemon Law buyback, as the car suffered from a well-known issue where the center-stack screen developed a noticeable yellow border.

When the dealer bought the car at auction from Tesla on November 15, it was optioned with both Enhanced Autopilot and Tesla’s confusingly-named Full Self Driving Capability; together, these options totaled $8,000. You can see them right on the Monroney sticker for the car:


Tesla officially sold the car to the dealership on November 15, a date I’ve confirmed by seeing the car’s title. On November 18, Tesla seems to have conducted an “audit” of the car remotely. The result of that audit was that when the car’s software was updated to the latest version in December, the Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving Capability (FSD) were removed from the car.

This sort of crap is why I am not bullish on Tesla.

They, and by that I mean Elon Musk, simply do not understand the auto market.

“Robotruck,” Huh?



And the not-so bulletproof windows

So, Elon Musk has rolled out his “Cybertruck”, and I am profoundly unimpressed.

Honestly, I don’t think that Tesla was impressed either, as they set the deposit at only $100.00, as opposed to the $2500.00 deposit required for the Tesla Model Y, and $1,000 for the Model 3.

Its skin is made from 3mm (.118 in) thick 301 stainless steel skin which Musks refers to an an “Exoskeleton”, which means either that it is a unit body (skin is not a part of the structure, also called semi-monocoque), or a monocoque (skin is a part of the structure).

According to Musk, this is literally bullet proof, being able to stop a 9mm round at 10 meters. (The numbers work out for this)

Most trucks, by comparison, are body on frame, where there is a structure , typically a ladder frame, upon which the body is mounted.

This is one reason for the gradual taper behind the passenger cab, it’s needed for a stiff body.

Unit body is typically lighter than body on frame, and monocoque is lighter still than unit body, but significantly more difficult to manufacture, which is why it unit body is far more common in mass produced automobiles.

Also unit body makes implementing changes in the body of the car easier, since the skin merely needs to mate to the frame.

In aircraft, where weight is more significant, a full monocoque is typically used.

In any case, the skin is about 4 times thicker than that of a P-51 Mustang, which was aluminum which is about 2½ less dense than steel, so this is HEAVY.

Based on the pictures shown, and the thickness of the skin, the weight of the just skin is in the 4000 lb range.

When you add in windows, tires, motors, a 500 mile battery, tailgate, seats, electronics, lights, etc.  I do not see the weight of the vehicle being any less than 8,000 pounds, and it might very well exceed 10,000 pounds.

By comparison, a Ford F-150 is about 5,500 pounds.

As such, not only will the car be expensive to operate, more weight means higher power consumption, but the handling is likely problematic, particularly in off road mode, where getting stuck in the mud is a thing.

The angular appearance of the truck may be driven by the choice of material and thickness, as 300 series stainless work hardens a lot, and at 3mm thick, it could be difficult to put complex curves in it.

Also, I’m not sure how it would corner at that weight.   I’m thinking that it’s in the, “Looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow,” category.

No Political Interference Here………

Ford, Honda, BMW, and VW agreed to make cars that meet California’s air quality standards.

The Trump administration is trying to strip California of its rule-making authority, and roll back fuel economy and air quality standards.

Now the DoJ has launched an antitrust investigation into the auto-makers’ agreement, because ……… Attorney General Robert Barr is a corrupt partisan rat-f%$#, I guess?

The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into four auto makers that forged a deal with California on vehicle-emissions standards, escalating the conflict between the Trump administration and Sacramento over environmental regulations.

Justice Department lawyers are seeking to determine whether Ford Motor Co. , Honda Motor Co. , BMW AG and Volkswagen AG broke federal competition law by agreeing with California to follow tailpipe-emissions standards beyond those proposed by the Trump administration, according to people familiar with the probe.

California officials, joined by Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists, branded the probe a political hit orchestrated by a White House angry over any attempt to subvert its authority.

“This investigation is nothing but an attempt by the Trump Administration to retaliate against these companies and stoke fear in others,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee.


President Trump has sought to roll back Obama-era mandates intended to reduce the auto industry’s contribution to climate change. California regulators have said they are willing to ease mandates, but they don’t want to go as far as the proposals from the Trump administration, which has said it wants to eliminate all upcoming increases in efficiency requirements.

The administration is challenging the legal authority that has given the state de facto control over environmental regulations for roughly a third of the U.S. car market.

The Justice Department sent letters to each of the companies within the past two weeks to alert them of the department’s interest and to request information, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. The department in the letters said no conclusions have been reached, but also said the deal may have antitrust implications, the person said.

On Friday, top lawyers at the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to California’s top air regulator, Mary Nichols. It urged her to dissociate the state from the four auto makers, saying the commitment may result in undefined legal consequences.

This stinks worse than Trump’s golf game.

Not a Serious Car Company

Buried in a what appears to be a rather run-of-the-mill article about a an independent Tesla service center that specializes in keeping Roadsters, Tesla’s first car, running.

The bigger story is that Tesla has stopped supporting a car less than 7 years after they ended production on the model, so this guy has to fabricate circuit boards, body panels, etc.

While there appears to be no law requiring that an automobile manufacturer maintain parts beyond the term of the warranty, 7 years is seriously deficient.

Remind Me, Is Checker Motors Still a Going Concern?

This does not look futuristic

Well, it appears that Elon Musk has finally come up with a sustainable business model for Tesla.

Unfortunately for him, his business model is to sell only commercial self driving cars for hundreds of thousands of dollars, because self driving is such a value enhancer, because you can rent out your car as a hack while you are not driving.

Checker Motors made a dedicated taxi and failed almost 40 years ago, and while the car was specifically made to the needs of the taxi industry, it could not compete with the volume advantages of major car manufacturers.

Seriously, the idea that Tesla self-driving, which I expect to remain a decade away into the 2030s, is not going to be an exclusive feature of Tesla Motors, and (if cost trends continue) the marginal cost of the system will be under $10,000.

But still, Elon Musk has declared that it won’t sell private automobiles once its “Autopilot” is ready for unsupervised road use.

This dude is one lab accident, and one platypus, away from becoming Heinz Doofenschmirtz:

The company believes its vehicles will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over their useful lifetime.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has warned that the company’s car pricing will potentially multiply after the company launches its ride-hailing service.

The executive recently claimed Tesla’s vehicles will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over their useful life when operated as part of a fully autonomous robotaxi fleet. The presentation did not answer the obvious question at the time: why would Tesla sell any cars to consumers if they become worth so much more for a taxi service?

Musk yesterday confirmed the likely price increase when asked on Twitter if consumers have limited time left to buy a Tesla car before prices “go up severalfold to balance supply and demand” once the company solves full self-driving.

“To be clear, consumers will still be able to buy a Tesla, but the clearing price will rise significantly, as a fully autonomous car that can function as a robotaxi is several times more valuable than a non-autonomous car,” he added in a later post.

Seriously:  This business model is delusional.

Unlike Oracle, or Peoplesoft, or SAP, any car can operate on any road.

There is no vendor lock-in.

I am not surprised that Elon Musk became rich through regulatory arbitrage and luck, but I am puzzled as to why people see him as a visionary, as opposed to a purveyor of Silicon snake oil.

Remember When VW Used Slave Labor and Killed Thousands?

It turns out that the unionization effort at the Chattanooga VW plant is largely by management trying to work their employees to death.

This does seem to be a tradition for the boys from Wolfsburg:

“I’m only 33 and I can’t see myself working here for another 10 years,” said Ashley Murray. “I would be disabled by then. We need a union because they are a multibillion-dollar company and they treat us like shit.”

Murray is a production employee at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of 18 hourly employees there I interviewed for this story. Comments like hers were almost universal.

According to these workers, on-the-job injuries are among the top issues at the sprawling plant nestled in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee. The union authorization election runs Wednesday through Friday this week; 1,700 workers are eligible to vote.

Many workers told variations of the same story. For the first time in their lives, they’re making good money—but they’re trapped in a job that’s chewing them up.

“My co-workers are getting hurt, I’ve been hurt, there is constant threat of injury, and if it doesn’t change, none of us will survive,” said one worker who’s been at Volkswagen for eight years but asked to remain anonymous for fear of management retaliation.

“I shouldn’t have to give Volkswagen my body in exchange for the house that I live in and the lifestyle I try to provide for my family.” Workers described a plant where high turnover and dangerous conditions lead to serious injuries, most commonly in the hands and shoulders. Some of the workers I met now suffer from lifelong disabilities.

Yeah, that whole, “Foreign workers in German factories,” thing?

Not good.

Mixed Emotions

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and former  Chairman at Nissan, has been released from jail after 108 days.

He has been charged with tax evasion and embezzlement.

I like the idea that a rich executive is being like the rest of us (good), but I have not doubt that if Ghosn were Japanese, he would have been released on bail about 107 days sooner: (bad)

The former motoring titan Carlos Ghosn extricated himself from custody Wednesday after 108 days in jail.

The Brazil-born former CEO of Renault and chairman of Nissan Motors paid one of the largest bail fees in the history of Japan — 1 billion yen, or $8.9 million — to leave jail in Tokyo.

Flanked by security figures, Ghosn emerged from the jail wearing blue workman’s clothes, a baseball cap, and a face mask as he headed to his new home, a court-approved house in Tokyo.


Ghosn’s experience has been a humiliating one for a former CEO who commanded immense respect in the auto world. Ghosn in November was accused of misreporting his salary and compensation having previously held top positions at the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors automotive alliance.


Prosecutors in Japan have alleged that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chairman and CEO earned a salary of about 10 billion yen, or $88.7 million, from 2011 to 2015 but reported only half of that. Ghosn could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen if found to have committed any wrongdoing.

The whole story is like watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new car.

Elon Musk Is Killing His Workers

But Hey, They Get Free Frozen Yogurt, So It’s All Good

Have you looked at the Tesla Motors safety record at their palant?

It is Charles Dickens work house bad:

When it comes to building cars in America, most big names have chosen to set up shop in rural states which carry a large presence of automaking production facilities, but not Tesla. Instead, the electric giant set up shop in Fremont, California where it relies on the work of an estimated 15,000 workers and contractors who make building its cars possible.

While the number of active workers may be more than any other manufacturer who produces cars in the US, Tesla has seemingly also discovered that more employees mean more risk to injury that needs to be stymied. In fact, data collected by Forbes shows that Tesla has accumulated more than three times the number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations that its top 10 competitors amassed from 2014-2018.

A fish rots from the head, and Elon Musk does not give a flying f%$# in a rolling donut about his employees, or labor law, or settlements with the SEC, so this is not a surprise.

If you are thinking of buying a Tesla, remember that some literal blood probably went into is manufacture.

Not Good

The New York Fed just released a report revealing that car loan delinquencies have hit an all time high.

What is significant is that, yet again, the current expansion has been driven by consumer credit, and consumers look to be coming to the end of their string:

Millions of Americans are struggling with their car payments, and even economists are surprised.

According to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, more than 7 million Americans have reached serious delinquency status on their auto loans, meaning they’re at least 90 days behind on payments.

Fed economists said this is “surprising” considering a strengthening labor market and economy.

People often prioritize car loans because many need to drive to get to work and earn a paycheck, The Washington Post’s Heather Long reported. The fact that a record number of Americans aren’t making those payments is “usually a sign of significant duress among low-income and working-class Americans,” Long wrote.

“The substantial and growing number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefitted from the strong labor market and warrants continued monitoring and analysis of this sector,” Fed economists wrote in a blog post dissecting the report.

This is supposed to be a historically strong economy, and people cannot keep up their car payments after decades of cut-backs to mass transit.

This will not be pretty.

This is Called Looting

GM has spent over $14 billion on stock buybacks, so now it’s time for massive layoffs.

We need to call this what it is:  looting.

Stock buybacks are popular because senior executive’s compensation is largely in the form of stock options, so by buying back the stock, they are taking money that should be spent on new products, new plants, and new equipment, and putting it in their own pockets.

The job cuts are popular because the leeches on Wall Street flock to stocks of companies that lay off lots of people, further lining the pockets of sociopathic executives.

It should noted that this behavior was considered illegal stock manipulation until the adoption of SEC Rule 10b-18 in 1982 under the Reagan administration.

It might have been the worst decision of the whole Reagan administration, and that’s saying a lot.

“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences,” explained GM CEO Mary Barra in perfect corporate-speak in the statement released this morning, as employees are fretting about their jobs.

The phrase, “changing market conditions,” in regular English means that sales are skidding in the US despite enormous incentives. GM’s new-vehicle deliveries in the US plunged 11% in the third quarter and are down 1.2% for the year. In Canada, GM’s sales have dropped 1.6% so far this year. GM apparently expects these “market conditions” to worsen further, and it’s getting ready for it.

So GM is going to cut 15% of its salaried workers and salaried contract workers. At the end of 2017, GM had 54,000 salaried workers in North America. Of them 52,000 are in the US.

If Only There Was Someone at Tesla Who Knew How to Count

Maybe they should have hired someone who had worked at a place that processes payment, like PayPal.

But alas, it appears that they did not, so the auto manufacturer neglected to pay almost ¾ of a million in unemployment taxes:

A state agency is taking Tesla to court over claims that the electric car manufacturer owes the state more than half a million dollars in unpaid taxes, which a company official says is due to a “clerical” error and was paid on Tuesday.

According to a certificate of judgment filed Monday in Clark County District Court, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) is seeking more than $654,000 in unpaid unemployment taxes from Tesla stemming from the last two fiscal quarters.

According to a statement of liability filed with the court, the company owes $210,710 from the fiscal quarter ending on April 30, and another $439,753 from the quarter ending on July 31. The company paid a portion but not all of its assessed unemployment taxes during each quarter.

Nevada law requires almost any business that pays wages in the state to pay a base 2.95 percent unemployment insurance tax on wages.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Tesla said the issue came about due to a “clerical error” with the company’s acquisition of rooftop solar installer SolarCity — founded by one of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s cousins, Lyndon Rive — and over how the state assess unemployment taxes.

“This judgment is the result of a clerical error, and we have processed this payment today to reflect the latest unemployment insurance contribution rates,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Over the past 18 months, Tesla has already paid over $3.3 million in unemployment taxes to Nevada.”

So somehow they want us to trust their autopilot technology, but they cannot even do what is pretty basic taxes.

That is so reassuring.

Wrist Slap

Elon Musk has to resign as chairman of the board and he, and Tesla, have to pay a small fine, which looks like meaningful enforcement, but has little real consequence: He still runs the company, he is still the largest share holder, so it is a distinction without a difference:

Elon Musk is to step down as chair of Tesla for three years and pay a fine after reaching a deal with the US financial regulator over tweets he made about taking the firm into private ownership.

Under the settlement Musk would remain as chief executive but must leave his other post within 45 days. Both he and the company will each pay a $20m (£15.3m) fine.

The entrepreneur has overseen two tumultuous months for the car company that battered Tesla’s share price and Musk’s reputation. Last Friday Tesla’s share price was down close to 14% as investors lost confidence.

 Weak tea.

You Know Those Saudi Investors Itching to Invest in Tesla?

Well, neither do I.

More importantly, neither does the Tesla Board of directors:

An abrupt tweet last week by Elon Musk about the prospect of taking Tesla private was dashed off with little forethought, and had not been cleared ahead of time with the company’s board, two people familiar with the chain of events said Monday.

The account raised new questions about the cryptic Twitter post last week in which Mr. Musk, the mercurial co-founder and chief executive of the electric-car maker, said he had “funding secured” for a buyout of the $60 billion company.

The tweet was a highly unusual way of announcing a key strategy change at a public company. It prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to contact Tesla to inquire about the accuracy of Mr. Musk’s tweets and the reason the disclosure had not been made in a regulatory filing, according to a person briefed on the inquiry, who was not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the agency.


But three people familiar with the workings of the Saudi fund cast doubt on his account. They said the fund had taken none of the steps that such an ambitious transaction would entail, like preparing a term sheet or hiring a financial adviser to work on the deal.

And even if the fund were ready to move forward with such an agreement, it would invite review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the government body that reviews the national-security implications of such transactions.

I’m hoping that prosecution is on the table, because there are way too many people in Silicon Valley who are thinking that Elizabeth Holmes is some sort of black swan.
To quote a failed Presidential candidate, “They need to be brought to heel.”