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Automobile: Q and A: Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla

Discussion in 'News' started by ohaq, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. ohaq

    ohaq Model S #P9,326

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  2. goyogi

    goyogi Member

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    "I don't think very highly of Henrik Fisker. At first I thought I'd outsource the design of the Model S to Henrik Fisker when he had a styling company...And, the initial proposals he came with were pretty good, and then as we got into it they started getting worse and worse. I was very puzzled as to why he was producing such awful designs for us. It turns out what he actually decided to do was to take our specifications for the Model S...he took that basic plans, shopped it, got it funded, didn't tell us. What it turned out was, we were paying him to do styling for his own car."

    So...to sum it up, "Karma is a bitch."
     
  3. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    He's just so candid about everything. That's appealing.
     
  4. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    "The next six months for Tesla are going to be tough. I think six months from now, we'll know whether it will survive or not. And I think it will. But the next six months will determine that."

    I think that is the telling statement concerning Tesla. I've never gotten the impression that Elon lies to himself. He strikes me as brutally honest even when it doesn't benefit himself - hence the comments on the Karma and Fisker.
     
  5. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    What Elon's describing (regarding Fisker's behavior) is unethical, and likely legally actionable if he had a way to prove it.
     
  6. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Tesla sued.

    And lost.
     
  7. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    It also re-emphasizes that he thinks the challenge is production, and not possible demand problems later-on. Meaning, that once they meet the challenges of the next 6 month (to profit and/or positive cash flow), they made it, in his view, in terms of survival. I think it also means, implicitly, that we shouldn't expect Tesla to lower prices at this point, or even to add features for free at this late point (even though they made supercharging standard), and he is perhaps implicitly asking for understanding in that regard. Don't want to put words in his mouth he didn't say, just could imagine that is implied.
     
  8. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    Fisker's comment above say the "judge threw out the case". Is that the same as losing, or does it mean that it would be difficult to prove that a design is non-optimal (to a well-known designer), let alone that there are reasons behind it?

    While the words used in Fisker's response in the article seem quite non-confrontative, is it just me if I get a sense of something like "that's car business, get used to it" between the lines?
     
  9. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    one of the things I tell anyone considering a lawsuit, or settling if they've been sued and want the "truth" to come out in court, is that a lawsuit has very little or nothing to do with the "truth", only what one can prove according to legal standards of proof. This is a unique system, and the US system is arguably the best in the world, but it still doesn't have much of anything to do with proving something happened or didn't happen the way one might believe it did. So Fisker was successful in Court, but that doesn't mean that Fisker's version is the "truth" (or Tesla's, for that matter).

    A good example is the Top Gear case by Tesla -- we know that Tesla was right in that case (the Roadster's range has been proven repeatedly by owners), but still basically lost on their bigger claims.
     
  10. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    If you're the plaintiff it's the same as loosing. In fact, the judge fined Tesla for bringing the case in "bad faith". I think in discovery some evidence came to light that hurt Tesla's case.

    That was a bad idea in the first place. They couldn't prove any damages because they didn't claim any. I'm not sure they ever expected to win anyhow. It was a PR campaign by lawsuit.
     
  11. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    The other thing I tell people is that the only winners in any lawsuit are the lawyers, because they get paid. Everybody else generally walks away unhappy, or at not fully satisfied with the result.
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Well "not winning" is loosing.

    Just like 2nd place is first looser.
     
  13. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    Outside court, they certainly claimed damage to the Roadster's reputation, and many here agreed based on conversations with people who saw the Top Gear episode, as well as online comments originating from that "test".
     
  14. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    I too agree that the Top Gear episode hurt the Roadster reputation, at least in the UK. That doesn't mean the lawsuit was a good idea, at least in the way Tesla approached it. They hampered their own case by not claiming real damages. And the fact they didn't claim real damages meant the lawsuit was for show.
     
  15. medved

    medved Member

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    Exactly. One of the reasons I would NEVER buy a Karma car.
     
  16. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    Or that they didn't have a good lawyer. ;) Honestly, as long as we agree they actually had damages, I doubt this would be an obvious conclusion. For example, they might have realized along the way (or early on) that the case was going in a direction where there wasn't much of a point in investing a lot of money into it. Or they changed their mind because at some point (after they filed) lots of people said suing a TV show like Top Gear/BBC is not a good idea as they will easily find ways to make it not worth your effort. Or that they had the impression the "it's just a comedy" argument was gaining ground in public (even though not correct, as we discussed here).
     
  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Right. Generally it's best just to let this kind of thing die on it's own rather than making a big deal out of it. The people who are disposed to believe bad about the car aren't going to change their mind if you win the lawsuit anyway. Anyone who is familiar with the show knows that the script is written in advance and the car is just used for the photo shoot.
     
  18. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    #18 Norbert, Aug 18, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
    Not as far as I know. So far, in what I found, this article has the most detail about the case, which was decided in arbitration as apparently required by the contract between Tesla and Fisker (no mention of substandard designs, though):

    Tesla vs Fisker: The Epilogue (Or, Why Tesla Owes Fisker $1.1 Million) - WOT on Motor Trend

    As far as one can tell from that article, the lack of "good faith" was a lack of evidence of actions which would actually constitute a violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, as “There was no evidence Fisker ever concealed its intentions to participate in the development of a PHEV with Quantum, or that it intended to become a manufacturer of a complete automobile.”. Apparently “there is no disclosure requirement absent a direct conflict.”

    This implies that Fisker in fact embarked on the Karma project without telling Tesla. Supposedly they were not aware that Tesla would mind. (And perhaps legally even would not have had to disclose, even if they had been aware). In another article, Fisker claims that Tesla never objected to the designs at the time. It would be difficult to legally prove a connection anyway, I guess. I'd get the impression that Fisker may have been very aware of the legal lines along which such cases are decided when they go to court, and may have navigated accordingly.

    I think if Fisker had an honest straight-forward business relationship in mind, they should have told Tesla as soon as they got serious about the Karma, aside from the question of any legal requirements to do so. (EDIT: Also I think the Karma competes with the Model S at least to some degree.)
     
  19. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I'm familiar with the details of the most protracted corporate lawsuit in Canadian history - my former employer was the plaintiff. They were awarded significant damages, and after a failed appeal they finally got paid millions in damages. The guys are pretty damned happy!
     
  20. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    Canadian justice works better than US! :wink::biggrin:

    Besides, as happy as your old employer was, I bet his lawyers were even happier!
     

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