No. 1009
August 14, 2019

About The Autoextremist

Peter M. DeLorenzo has been immersed in all things automotive since childhood. Privileged to be an up-close-and-personal witness to the glory days of the U.S. auto industry, DeLorenzo combines that historical legacy with his own 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising to bring unmatched industry perspectives to the Internet with, which was founded on June 1, 1999. DeLorenzo is known for his incendiary commentaries and laser-accurate analysis of the automobile business, as well as racing and the business of motorsports. Author. Commentator. Influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today.

DeLorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. DeLorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. The script has become predictable. In what is now a staged “love-in” ritual more aligned with old-time tent preachers than anything else, the Supreme Leader of All that is Righteous and Holy in Silicon Valley descends from the mountaintop and bestows his wisdom and visionary brilliance to a frenzied crowd filled with his salivating disciples and adoring acolytes. 

Spewing his usual thought balloons filled with promises and boasts unburdened by reality, St. Elon Musk is The Master, orchestrating The Show to End All Shows, a wondrously self-indulgent and unbridled display of hubris and obfuscation designed to distract all in attendance from the High-Octane Truth about what’s really going on at the automotive cult known as “Tesla.”

Except it was apparent to everyone who still had the ability for rational thought – or at least those who hadn’t had the custom-designed - and fantastic!- Muskian chip embedded in their brains – that Musk was attempting the oldest trick in the con man’s handbook, which is to distract, deny and deter from the real issue at hand. But this was far more egregious than that “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” scene at the end of The Wizard of Oz; this was out-and-out calculated fraud on the grandest of scales. 

The Bright New Automotive Future as promised by Musk and embodied in the Tesla automobile is a canard that has been a failed enterprise from the very beginning. Ruthlessly unprofitable and racking up debt at a prodigious rate, Elon Musk has conned Wall Street and the holier-than-thous in the greener-than-thou enclaves of The New Enlightened to believe that he – through his Magic Pony, aka Tesla – is the solution to all societal ills and if only the rest of the automotive universe would simply cease and desist the world would be a decidedly much better place, free and unfettered by the dismal dullards who make up the defunct remnants of the failed U.S. automotive industry.

Needless to say, if any current automaker, or automotive supplier, or any corporate entity in America for that matter had conducted itself like Tesla, Wall Street would have moved decisively to bury the offending company while branding it as a criminal affront to the tenets of free enterprise. 

Instead, we have the enablers on Wall Street completely flummoxed by Musk, jacking up the stock while relentlessly praising his “vision,” conveniently ignoring the fact that Tesla builds $100,000 vehicles fraught with consistent, serious quality problems, and that the much-ballyhooed Model 3 – St. Elon’s promise of a mainstream, “affordable” Tesla that would doom Detroit with a resounding thud of certainty – has been an abject failure that is apparently unbuildable at anything approaching the promised $35,000 “loss leader” pricing or the fanciful boast of 500,000 per-year volumes. (Actually, that number is sheer lunacy. The real number will be lucky to reach 20 percent of that total, in three years.)

So, with his company about to go down, and the promise of the Model 3 finally making Tesla a respected automaker lying in pieces on the ground, what does St. Elon, this country’s resident con man, do? He holds a séance for the Muskian Faithful to introduce a Class 8 all-electric semi-truck – without an existing national infrastructure to support it (although Musk insists he will take care of that with a network of “megachargers”) – that will “transform the industry!” because, well, you know, everything Musk touches is transformative, didn’t you get the memo? 

And if that wasn’t enough, Musk plans on introducing a super sports car in 2020, which will be, in Musk’s words, “… the fastest production car ever made - period.” And, Musk being Musk, he just had to add, “The point of doing this is to give a hard-core smackdown to gasoline cars.” I’m not even going to bother regurgitating the details of this car because they’re completely irrelevant.

The net-net of this charade? The truck is a pipe dream, and frankly, other vehicle manufacturers will probably beat Musk to market with electrified trucks of their own. As for the sports car? Few people believe it will ever see the light of day, qualifying as even more of a pipe dream than the truck. At least the truck has a believable premise. The sports car is just more unmitigated bullshit and unbridled swingin’ dick-ism from America’s Master of Deception.

Despite Elon’s latest show, the facts are these: Tesla is a failed enterprise by every conceivable measure. And building a few high-priced machines for The Enlightened Elite does not constitute anything more than a boutique car company with nowhere to go but down. The Model 3 was supposed to fix all of that, but that is just not gonna happen, by any stretch of the imagination. Not even close, in fact.

As I said last week, I predict that Musk, after being horribly embarrassed by the total failure of the Model 3, will finally grow tired of the whole auto thing and wind down Tesla, selling off its technology to whoever will give him the most cash money for it, so he can then focus on his real love – firing off rockets and colonizing Mars.  

Then we’ll all finally have something to be thankful for.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.