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Home  /  December 2022  /  Comment

There’s nothing worse than a media pile-on.

You know, like the criticism of Harry (38) and Meghan (41) Windsor, who live in a nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom semi-complete mansion with library, office, spa, gym, games room, cinema, wine cellar, five-car garage and separate guesthouse in Montecito, California.

Or the more shocking, the kicking-while-he’s-down that Elon Reeve Musk, 51, of Austin Texas, is copping just because shareholders have seen the value of their Tesla stock tank by $1.1 trillion over the past six months. I don’t know about you but that’s more than I earn a week.

Anyway, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman this week had the nerve to ask: “Did the Tesla Story Ever Make Sense?”

Paul then wrote the answer to his own question: “Given what we’ve seen of Musk’s behaviour, I wouldn’t trust him to feed my cat, let alone run a major corporation.”

Would you trust this man to feed your car, let alone run a company?

Would you trust this man to feed your car, let alone run a company?

Would you trust this man to feed your car, let alone run a company?

And he goes on to give this objective analysis of Tesla: “Why (was) Tesla ever worth so much. The answer, as best as I can tell, is that investors fell in love with a storyline about a brilliant, cool innovator, despite the absence of a good argument about how this guy – even if he really was who he appeared to be – could found a long-lived money machine.”

Then there’s the news that Tesla suspended production at its Tesla Gigafactory 3 out in the Zheng Jia Lu, Fengxian District of our new bestie, China. This probably has nothing to do with Tesla sales in China being down 28 per cent, or the company offering a 10 per cent discount and an insurance subsidy, or that in the US, Reuters reports that: “Prices of used Teslas are falling faster than those of other carmakers and the clean-energy status symbols are languishing in dealer lots longer.”

And just like in China, Muskie Tesla last week cut the new car price by $11,000 for Model Ys and Model 3s. Muskie, who didn’t mean to, but bought Twitter for $65bn, isn’t fazed by the media pile-on.

On Wednesday he told his minions to not be “too bothered by stock market craziness. As we demonstrate continued excellent performance, the market will recognise that. Long-term, I believe very much that Tesla will be the most valuable company on Earth!”.

A Tesla Model 3 at showroom in Beijing. Picture: AFP
A Tesla Model 3 at showroom in Beijing. Picture: AFP

American technology news website The Verge summed it up nicely. “Electric vehicle manufacturers in particular are showing big drops in quality, with Polestar ranking dead last. Tesla, meanwhile, ranks seventh from the bottom, continuing its trend of shoddy manufacturing,” it said.

Talking of China, a few problems remain for BYD and SsangYong buyers. One reader tells us his BYD van has been off the road for two weeks because the local dealers didn’t have brake pads in stock. And we know SsangYong makes nice cars but service and follow-up is a problem

OK, the UK’s Daily Telegraph (not to be confused with this multimedia platform’s award-winning publication and online offering with sensational podcasts of the same name) has named its 10 best cars and one bike of 2022.

The ones available here are the Honda Civic at $50,000 (we agree); Range Rover – $400,000 (expensive but as the DT says: “worth it, although the reliability can be iffy”. Iffy? You have more chance with a bet on GWS for the Grand Final or Zhou Guanyu for the F1 title than getting through warranty without a problem.); Citroën C5 X ($60,000), Toyota GR86 (love it but getting very pricey, look at the MX-5 as well); Skoda Karoq (our family run two and love them, $35,000 to $50,000) and to show you how unprejudiced we are here, the Norton Commando 961 for temporary Australians, baboons and two of our readers.

I don’t know what the price is because they don’t tell you on the Norton website but they must be around $50,000 – but then again when you have to pay $15,000 for an electric bicycle like the Bianchi T-Tronik Performer 9.2 XT 12sp, a Norton with a proper engine sounds like a steal.

Talking of Las Vegas, reader number 4 Robert Cowley started a reader pile-on because I didn’t mention the 1981 (and 1982) F1 or what was called the “Caesars Palace Grand Prix”.

This was probably because it was erased from my mind as it was so crook. The course was in the car park of the Caesars Palace hotel. Eventual race winner Alan Jones said: “It’s like a goat track, dragged down from the mountains and flattened out. What a bloody place to be ending your career”.

RM Sotheby’s has a heartbreakingly beautiful Blu Elettrico 2014 LaFerrari. “The heart of LaFerrari is a mid-rear-mounted, 6.3-litre V-12 engine with an absurd compression ratio of 13.5:1, the V-12 developed 600KW.” Tucked away in the back was an electric motor derived from the company’s Formula 1 Kinetic Energy Recovery System propelling the slippery LaFerrari to 100km/h in 2.4 seconds. LaFerrari was quicker down the quarter mile than both the Bugatti Veyron and the Porsche 918. This is really one in a million and yours at about $5.5m.

Bonhams has one of 13 2006 Maserati MC12 Corse painted in “blue victory” with only 200km on the clock. No price quoted but I think they are looking for somewhere around $4m. RM is looking for the same money for a 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra. One for Elvis fans. In 1966, it was loaned to MGM Studios for the filming of Spinout, a movie with a plot involving a single, road-racing musician who finds himself trapped between three different women seeking to marry him. Much like the issues that you know who in Adelaide faces.

Happy New Year.

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