Is Tesla A Luxury Brand, 100% Tariff On Chinese EVs, Ultimate Retirement Flight

March 18, 2024
Welcome to a beautiful Monday in Retail Auto as we weigh the merit of Tesla being labeled as a ‘Luxury brand’. We also discuss Trump’s proposed 100% tariff on China-made EVs as well as one Delta Pilot’s epic retirement flight. 
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Show Notes with links:

Gone are the days of Tesla being synonymous with luxury according to our friend and  Executive Editor of Automotive News, Jamie Butters as his recent column makes a compelling case for why Tesla's recent strategy and market performance have propelled the electric vehicle giant out of the luxury realm and into a broader, more inclusive arena.

  • Tesla is no longer classified as a luxury brand but has transitioned towards a broader market presence.
  • Initially positioned as a luxury marquee due to high prices and innovative technology, Tesla has adjusted its strategy towards affordability and mass-market appeal.
  • With price cuts and an increase in sales volume, Tesla now competes more directly with mainstream automotive brands rather than luxury ones.
  • The introduction of the more affordable Model 2 signifies Tesla's commitment to accessibility, moving away from the exclusivity typically associated with luxury brands.
  • Despite continuing to sell high-end models, Tesla's overall strategy and market positioning align more closely with mainstream automotive brands.

In a rally in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, former President Donald Trump proposed imposing a 100% tariff on cars produced in Mexico by Chinese companies, doubling previous tariff threats on vehicles manufactured south of the U.S. border.

  • Trump directly addressed Chinese President Xi Jinping, emphasizing the tariff as a countermeasure against China's manufacturing strategy in Mexico without hiring Americans.
  • The proposed tariffs represent a significant escalation from earlier threats, which included a 50% tariff on Chinese cars and potential tariffs on all Chinese goods and global products.
  • “Those big monster car manufacturing plants you are building in Mexico right now and you think you are going to get that — not hire Americans and you’re going to sell the car to us, no,” Trump said. “We are going to put a 100 percent tariff on every car that comes across the lot.”
  • Joe Biden's campaign responded to Trump's remarks, criticizing his approach and labeling the threats as political violence and extremism.

Meet Delta Captain Keith Rosenkranz, the pilot who orchestrated a unique retirement celebration by chartering a Delta Airbus A330 for a special flight to Hawaii with 112 friends and family.

  • Rosenkranz's dream was inspired by his youth spent watching planes at Los Angeles International Airport, leading to a 33-year career with Delta.
  • To honor pilots affected by the pandemic, he extended invites to those who missed their final flights, making his retirement event a collective celebration.
  • The journey was not just a flight but a series of memorable events, including a water cannon salute in Los Angeles and vow renewal in Hawaii.
  • "You don't want to be the richest man in the graveyard one day." Rosenkranz remarked, emphasizing the priceless value of his grand retirement gesture over the cost.

Paul J Daly: 0:14

Yo, it is Monday, March 7 teeth. I've gone from flip flops to winter coat in the last 24 hours talking about it says a luxury brand tariffs on Chinese EVs and the ultimate retirement flight. The people really want to know who it is. And I have not recorded a piece of content in an entire nine days.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:36

I just want to say I'm so happy you're back. I feel like

Paul J Daly: 0:41

God for a while.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:42

I love Ben. I love the guy. Colwood I love all of these cats that we bring in like, It's good, right? And but there's something that you and I get to do we do it every day. We

Paul J Daly: 0:56

were put it's like when a band plays their own song. Yeah, right versus having the guests they have their little flavor of the guests. But when the band plays the song, it's like, this is how I'm used to hearing this.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:06

Yes, exactly. I saw I heard some terrible covers, like, like, like, I was like, I was at the Nashville SC soccer game.

Unknown: 1:16

I was gonna say in Nashville. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:19

And they were playing over the sound. It was like you to techno bop. I'm not even sure how to it sounds bad. It was bad. It

Paul J Daly: 1:26

was rough. Sounds bad. It sounds real bad. Oh, man. So I love it, that we had all the guests hosts. And it's fun to give people that that flavor. I'm bummed that I missed Michael Wood because he's one of he's one of like, he's just moving up my list as people I really want to spend some time with in person like as soon as possible hops. And so got them got to miss him. But yeah, thanks to everybody for affording me a little bit of time off. There's a lot of fun. We went somewhere warm. Random to Ashley Cavazos at Disney Springs on like, Thursday night and our let like, it is crazy that despite of how big the world you think it is, right? And how many people can be around that moment in time in that section, like we just kind of crossed paths. So it was cool. Just I'll tell you what. It is awesome being out in the world, like with the more than cars mindset, and just watching watching it like everything different, right? Well just go to a parking garage. Right, right. And you start to watch it just observe things in a different way. And I have to say, if you've never been to Disney Springs, it's like a shopping center. I know a lot of people have been there. But they just have the most brilliant parking system. And every time I go at Mark, I marvel at it. And they just have these little green and red lights over every parking spot. I think they were the first ones that ever deploy this tech. So if the cars in the spot, it's red, and you can see it from a mile away, so I was thinking hospitality and cars and watching people and families interact and I don't know, little time way gives you some fresh perspective for sure.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:52

Hey, go Well, during your time away, we shaved another like 13 days off of countdown to

Paul J Daly: 2:58

the actual happy and satisfied moment.

Kyle Mountsier: 3:01

We're only 57 days away from a soda con presented by Reynolds and goober goo. We got just all the energy coming ticket sales pacing way up last week. We are actually headed next week to film a little thing with Wilga. Dara, our keynote speaker, the author of the ever popular LinkedIn post everywhere unreasonable hospitality. So you're gonna want to meet him if you have seen the book if you've read the book, if you don't even know what we're talking about. That moment is going to be the moment actually, real quick story. I know we're already into this. But this this relates Jared kill way. A lot of you know him. He's now the VP of Marketing at Cassata group calls me last Friday, we were chatting over some stuff. But then he was like, Kyle, I just need you to know that. What happened when you all brought Jesse Cole last year. In my experience with my daily like work life has totally transformed the way that I think about business. He said this morning, this was Friday afternoon. He said this morning I was having a conversation with one of our general managers and recalled elements of that keynote speech in our conversation so you never know what you're gonna get out of the conversation context, the content at ASOTU CON that

Paul J Daly: 4:21

is so true. Also a lot of other community members stopping by to make their event a part of our event. So we're gonna have a whoa can breakfast on May 15. If you're part of well can woman of color automotive network reach out to your people they're got some discounts for you. Also, Maryland auto Dealers Association having their annual meeting the morning of May 16 at asoto con so a lot of other auto dealer associations showing up going to be part of panel so we're trying to you know, get close to the people who are doing the actual work that is a soda we are from the ground up, not the top down and lots of other things effectives podcast agent, you know, go to a soda The list of speakers are still growing the events the agenda the sessions are still being posted as they are being locked down.

Kyle Mountsier: 5:06

Hey, speaking of the top down

Paul J Daly: 5:11

I was this a segue as this were hit the game you got it

Kyle Mountsier: 5:16

that segue, Paul.

Paul J Daly: 5:20

All right, shake the rust off. So gone are the days of Tesla being synonymous with the luxury brand. According to our friend and executive editor of automotive news, Jamie butters, as his recent column makes a compelling case on why Tesla's recent strategy and market performance have propelled the Evie giant out of the luxury realm. Well, but uh, yeah, toward a more broader market presence, it makes total sense. So initially tested was a luxury brand, right? High prices, innovative technology, very like exclusive kind of vehicle, if you had it, it was a thing. But they have now adjusted their strategy towards more affordable pricing going down market, price cuts, increases in sales volume. Now they're, you know, competing with a lot of brands that aren't luxury brands. This makes sense to an introduction of potentially a model two says they're going even further to compete even further down the brand. So despite continuing to sell the high end models, their overall strategy, Jamie butters concludes means that maybe they're just more of a for everyone brand. Like and he they made I don't know, in the article these did he say apple? I think he did. So really, Apple started as like a luxury thing. Right, and a very exclusive and now they have something

Kyle Mountsier: 6:35

where everyone kind of I mean, but they raised the price point of a phone right before it was just you got a phone free, and house and the earbuds and everything I'm going to be paying for my phone, I still think it's gonna be hard to classify them. Right? Model less plaid starts at $6,000. Yeah, there's no mass market brand that doesn't have that has a comparable vehicle in that price point. Now, granted, you've got like, you know, F 150s and GMC Sierras and you're and large trucks that are 100, grand, you know, full luxury, that type of thing. But for their mass market scale products, you just don't see that range of price point. And luxury features. However, I think they're gonna have to be compared right with the Corolla, and the model three being the things that are compared on global sales volume, right, the price point now when model why are they model? Why not? Model? Yeah, yeah. Why? You know, with the price point getting comparable, enter new new vehicles in in a, you know, potentially 25 to $35,000 price point. You know, they're gonna have to be probably compared in two market segments. But with a lot of mass market brands having a lot more expensive vehicles, you can make the argument that they are fully mass market. Yeah,

Paul J Daly: 7:56

I mean, that's, that's true, man. It's amazing how expensive trucks get. But yeah, the model Y is I mean, it was like a year ago, like 65 grand. Yeah. So you're like, oh, but now then it's like, 47. You're like, okay, okay. It makes sense. I mean, there's a lot you think of a lot of, I mean, it's classified as an SUV, think a lot of cars in that segment that are right in that$40,000 range? Yep. Okay. I mean, you could go down the line. There's a dozen of them. Yeah. Without

Kyle Mountsier: 8:21

a doubt that like even Mazda, Toyota, Honda, they're all 35 to 50 grand now. Yeah. Inflation really translation. I know. Well, speaking of getting more expensive,

Paul J Daly: 8:33

save. Good one. guy's been working on the bump sets. While I've been working. In a rally in Dayton, Ohio. On Saturday, FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP proposed imposing a 100% tariff on cars produced in Mexico by Chinese companies, doubling the previous tariff that he said he would impose a 50% he's all the way up to 100 we're gonna double the price of the vehicle coming into the country directly. So much, and we really talked about this like several weeks ago, we were like, don't ever underestimate the government's power and ability to, you know, level the playing field if it comes to American manufacturing. So he Trump directly addressed Chinese President Xi Jinping, emphasizing the tariff as a countermeasure against their manufacture strategy in Mexico without hiring any Americans. So obviously a big escalation. Here's a quote from Trump. He says those big monster I wish I could do the impression because this would be amazing. Hear it, I hear it I hear in my head, you could just play it in your head let your internal AI just translate this for you those big monster car manufacturing plants you're building in Mexico right now. And you think you're gonna get that not hire Americans and you're going to sell the cars to us? No, we're going to put 100% tariff on every car that comes across the lot.

Kyle Mountsier: 9:53

Well, the other the other headline this weekend from a from a similar stance was the quote Where I think he said, If I don't get elected, like the US manufacturing is going to die essentially, like a very, very, very, you know, Trumpian statement. So I think he

Paul J Daly: 10:14

said it's gonna be a bloodbath, bloodbath. That's exactly what it so we're back to back to escalating terms. But look, we're in for a wild year, everybody and you already know that

Kyle Mountsier: 10:23

we will do everything we can to not have a daily political story. So

Paul J Daly: 10:28

this is actually the i We should do a search because this is probably the first time the word Trump has come up in one of our podcasts in a really long time. Thank goodness. Right? And it's over now, man. I mean, we've talked about Biden because he's been doing things but now we're gonna have a little volleyball back and forth between the UAW manufacturers common sense and all this stuff. It's, it's, we'll see what happens this year. But Joe Biden's campaign responded to Trump's remarks criticizing his approach and labeling the threats as political violence and extremism. You could have predicted that as well. But but let's talk about the real substance of this. Right as it as it pertains to what's going on in the industry. The Evie, everybody has been talking about the Eevee threat from China, right? Low Cost TVs, it's been a big source of conversation in the industry. And this goes to show how quickly the tide can turn, based on one election, one point of view, because all of a sudden,

Kyle Mountsier: 11:25

you know, the vote will be interesting is if some of these manufacturers can make it in pre election and if Trump does get elected, what happens to the price point on these and whether or not they can gain enough market share in the meantime, to be effective. So that man that's fast AI, it would be super fast to be able to like start to gain the market share and have the have people desiring the vehicles and yeah, and then that's too fast.

Paul J Daly: 11:48

That'll never happen. Right? Because what we're at the end of the March and we have until what November? Yeah, we know what

Kyle Mountsier: 11:53

you saw. I mean, over the weekend, Neo announced like a, you know, a lower end vehicle that they're hoping to have in consumers hands by q3 and they're already luxury brand, right? Okay. Yeah. It'll be an interesting interesting nine months to say the absolute least.

Paul J Daly: 12:11

Oh, I don't have a segue for this one. Speaking of interesting things. It's I don't know this felt like it was the right

Kyle Mountsier: 12:19

story for a Monday. This is the right story for a Monday. Meet Delta Captain Keith Rosencrantz. Nailed that last name. Man. The pilot who orchestrated a unique retirement celebration by chartering a Delta Airbus A 330, for a special flight to Hawaii with 112. Friends and family. His dream was inspired by his youth spent watching planes at La International Airport, leading to a 33 year career with delta. So a couple things he did honoring pilots affected by the pandemic, he extend the invites to those who missed their final flights, making his retirement event a collective celebrations. That's a cool one right there. The journey was not just a flight, but a series of memorable events, including a water cannon salute in LA and a vow renewal in Hawaii. He remarked, you don't want to be the richest man in the graveyard one day love it so much sizing, the priceless value of this particular flight.

Paul J Daly: 13:21

So the thing is, like he said, he spent about the equivalent of a year salary on this trip. And so and he said, you know, he was able to kind of talk his way up the chain. He's like, no, no, I'm not like a pro basketball team that charters this entire gigantic plane, you know, I'm an employee. And so I think this guy understands a few things. Number one, he has massive respect for his vocation and his profession, obviously show that he showed unreasonable hospitality, wildly other people that are just his friends and the empathy toward the other people who may be couldn't have the opportunity to do that. And he obviously loves what he does. He loves the fly. He says, I haven't worked because he flew in the Air Force to and he said, like, I can't remember, the last day I worked was that like, I can't remember is like a grocery store back like, you know, 3040 years. That was the last day really worked, you know. And so I think that really ties back into how people do view the car business in so many places that we go, like it's work and people say, Oh, just

Kyle Mountsier: 14:21

don't really many people with a 3030 30 year career in an auto why? Because they either have a two year career or a 60 year career.

Paul J Daly: 14:32

How can we not end on that statement? Come on. So I'm 20 years in on a 60 year, right now. Look, we hope you have an amazing Monday just ticking off one more day caring about some people selling some cars and keep your head on the swivel do some hospitality.

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