Tesla Has Reached The Big Time

Illustration for article titled Tesla Has Reached The Big Time

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Tesla really can’t be denied anymore, Joe Biden met with the UAW and GM, and Mahindra wants to revive BSA. All that and more in The Morning Shift for November 17, 2020.


1st Gear: Tesla Has Reached A Summit

Brad covered the news yesterday that Tesla will join the S&P 500 in December, but it’s worth reiterating that this is a big deal. Entrance into the S&P 500 is acceptance by the Wall Street elite that Tesla is no longer a blip on the radar.


Reuters has some interesting notes on the knock-on effects:

Its inclusion means investment funds indexed to the S&P 500 will have to sell about $51 billion worth of shares of companies already in the S&P 500 and use that money to buy shares of Tesla, so that their portfolios correctly reflect the index, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Tesla will account for about 1% of the index.

Additionally, actively managed investment funds that try to beat the S&P 500 will be forced to decide whether to buy Tesla shares. Such funds manage trillions of dollars in additional assets.

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And while Tesla is here to stay—for a little while at least—Reuters also compared it to Yahoo, which was in the S&P 500 for a bit before it wasn’t.

In 1999, Yahoo surged 64% in five trading days between the announcement that it would be added to the index on Nov. 30 and its inclusion after the close of trading on Dec. 7. Yahoo’s market capitalization at the time was about $56 billion, around a fraction of Tesla’s current value.


I say good luck to anyone who tells me that they are going to buy Tesla stock or otherwise dibble and dabble in the stock market, which is all basically gambling, despite what every MBA program in America will tell you.

2nd Gear: Also Tesla

This is what enforcement of the new-ish rules requiring backup cameras looks like I guess. Another case of Tesla getting the grand stuff right but getting tripped up by the basics.


From Reuters:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Monday it was upgrading a probe into nearly 159,000 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles over touchscreen failures to an engineering analysis.

The auto safety regulator had opened a preliminary evaluation in June. The NHTSA said the failure can result in the loss of rear-camera image display when in reverse and reduced rear visibility when backing up, and can impact defogging ability, and audible chimes relating to Autopilot and turn signals.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

NHTSA can order a recall of a vehicle following an engineering analysis.

The probe now covers 2012-2018 model year Tesla Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles. The preliminary investigation covered 63,000 Tesla Model S cars.

NHTSA said the failure does not affect vehicle-control systems.

3rd Gear: Joe Biden

The President-elect met with GM CEO Mary Barra and UAW President Rory Gamble yesterday, in what sounds like a meet-and-greet and not much more.


It was all very Joe Biden.

From Automotive News:

Biden started the meeting speaking about his love of Corvettes with Barra and Gamble, whose union represents some of the automaker’s employees. Biden then switched to a more somber tone as he addressed the “pretty dark” state of the economy because of the coronavirus.

“General Motors was pleased to participate in this important discussion with President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris and others from the business and labor community,” GM said in a statement Monday.

“Mary Barra took the opportunity to share our best practices for keeping our workforce safe and factories running during the pandemic. We look forward to working with the new administration and incoming Congress on policies that support our customers, dealers and employees, help strengthen our manufacturing presence in the United States and advance our vision of an all-electric, zero-emissions future.”


Ford and FCA, meanwhile, weren’t invited to the party, somewhat hilariously, per the Detroit Free Press:

Gamble said he outlined for Biden and Harris the extent to which UAW members are working to follow protocols both inside and outside of the workplace, but said, “together we all need to be ready for the difficult yet lifesaving decisions that lay ahead.”

A spokesperson for Ford Motor Co. said it was not asked to join the meeting. A list of participants released by the Biden team did not list Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles on it either.

GM put out a statement that read, “General Motors was pleased to participate in this important discussion with President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and others from the business and labor community.”


4th Gear: BSA Is Back!

The following story from the Financial Times reads somewhat like fan fiction written by someone who can’t stop pining for the glory days of British motorcycling, but this is 2020, I’ll take any good news I can get.

A retro motorbike company backed by India’s Mahindra plans to design and build electric motorcycles in Britain following a government investment, but warns that it will not expand its operations further if trading conditions after Brexit are “cumbersome”.

Classic Legends, which is 60 per cent owned by the Indian giant, will revive century-old bike maker BSA to produce both a traditionally powered bike and an electric model from next year.

A technical and design centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire, will create 250 jobs and cost £9.5m, funded in part by a £4.6m grant from the government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre, which helps promising automotive projects receive state funding. Classic also plans a factory near Coventry that will create about another 45 roles.

BSA was once the largest bike manufacturer in the world, owning the Triumph and Sunbeam brands and producing 120,000 bikes for the armed forces during the second world war. But the group has not traded since the 1970s, hurt by the rise of Japanese rivals.


5th Gear: Automakers Think They Will Avoid Another Covid Shutdown

Production was shut down for weeks last spring as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged America, but as a third wave of the virus spreads, automakers say that the protocols they put in place to restart production should allow them to keep making cars.


From The Detroit News:

“We are continuing to enforce our health and safety protocols, and are monitoring the situation,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said in a statement Monday.

Ford Motor Co. has expressed satisfaction with its ability to keep production up and running since it restarted: “We haven’t had any major outbreaks. We’ve had to shut down to do deep cleaning, (but) we’ve had no major issues with shutting shifts down,” Gary Johnson, Ford’s chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer, recently told The Detroit News.

“We’ve had a few minor tweaks, a few minor items where we had late deliveries from the supply base, but nothing like we had the first three or four months. It’s been relatively quiet at the plants, they’ve been stable, and we’ve been able to manage the number of people who have to opt out and we’ve supported them with other employees.”

“There is no change to manufacturing with the governor’s latest orders,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in a statement. “Our plants are running at approximately 97% of planned production since we returned to work in May.”

General Motors Co. spokesman David Barnas said in a statement that the automaker’s “multi-layered” safety strategy “has proven effective in preventing the spread of disease across all of our facilities. We have literally worked hundreds of millions of hours using the safety protocols, and where our protocols are followed, they are working.”

The Detroit Three have said they are reinforcing to their workforces’ good behaviors such as frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and avoiding large gatherings. They are increasing their outreach to employees in advance of the upcoming holiday season, and have encouraged workers to get flu shots.


The automakers are right in that they have been mostly successful in staving off the spread, probably mostly due to the efficacy of mask-wearing.

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