New Tesla US Chief, No ICE For Hyundai In Norway, Volvo Buys Even More Safety

January 3, 2023
It’s Tuesday already as Automotive welcomes everyone else back to work. Today we’re talking about Tesla’s new US Chief. We’re also covering the end of ICE sales for Hyunday in Norway, as well as the autonomous tech company now exclusively owned by Volvo
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In the latest news from Tesla headquarters China Chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to oversee the electric car maker's US Assembly plants as well as sales operations in the US, Europe, and North America making him the highest-profile executive at Tesla, second only to CEO Elon Musk.

  • Zhu will also continue to serve as Tesla's most senior executive for sales in the rest of Asia
  • Zhu was hired by Tesla last year to troubleshoot production issues in the US, and under his leadership, the Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from COVID lockdowns in China.
  • Co-workers have said Zhu was among the first batch of employees sleeping in the factory as they sought to keep it running
  • Known as a no-fuss manager w/ a buzz cut, favors Tesla-branded fleece jackets and has lived in a government-subsidized apartment that is a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory.
  • Note Tesla missed its annual sales target in 2022 although they did produce 1.31M vehicles, 40% more than 2021

As of yesterday, Hyundai has completely stopped selling ICE vehicles in the country of Norway

  • Norway’s goal is to end ICE sales by 2025 with most vehicles currently having a plug and only a few percent being ICE
  • 2020 about 55% BEV, 2021 about 65%, 2022 estimated close to 80%
  • Thomas Rosvold, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor Norway - “We have great faith in our model portfolio, and now that we have launched the all-new IONIQ 6, the time has come to sell only all-electric cars in the Norwegian market.“
  • Norway is the 4th richest countries in the world, has population of 5.4M (greater Philadelphia) an is about the same size as New Mexico (pop 2.12 M)
  • Get 90% of their electricity from hydro sources
  • Have to speak Norwegian if you want to immigrate there
  • …speaking of nordic countries

After buying out the last 13.5% of shares from ECARX, Volvo is now the proud owner of Zenseact, an autonomous driving software development company. The software company will remain a stand-alone subsidiary of the Swedish automaker

  • The company initially purchased 15% of the company in 2021
  • From the company’s site:
  • We’re a software company dedicated to revolutionizing car safety. By designing the complete software stack for autonomous driving and advanced driver-assistance systems, we’re fight

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Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:21

Yo, it's Tuesday. Welcome back to work everybody from New Years. Oh, wait a minute. This is automotive. Everybody was working yesterday we're welcome back the rest of the world now talking about Tesla's new US cheap. No more ice engines in Norway and Volvo buying more safety. Got it all out.

Kyle Mountsier  00:36

The people really weren't. I was impressed. They stopped. You did like a welcome. And a three topic or sometimes Yeah, like

Paul Daly  00:45

you're running Kyle, since you're a runner, and you just feel good at that those late miles and you're like, you know what, I'm going for it.

Kyle Mountsier  00:51

You're going for it. I'm telling you what I will say look, when it comes to running, just just so everyone knows. Nothing really feels comfortable till about six miles in anyway. So that's why everyone hates running.

Paul Daly  01:05

That's explains why I've never felt comfortable running.

Kyle Mountsier  01:08

Nobody ever makes six. Once you get to six, you just keep going no big deal.

Paul Daly  01:13

Like kids. Right? Once you get five you're gonna notice right? Oh, no, that's how it works. Yeah. Okay. Sounds good. So I No one knows. No one knows. If you have people or friends that got six. Yes, Glen Lundy knows was that.

Kyle Mountsier  01:27

Yeah, no one actually has five kids, that's actually not a thing. It's either four or 13. That's the only

Paul Daly  01:33

mushy middle, right? Just kind of gotta keep pushing through. Oh, man, we got a lot of fun stuff to talk about today. But we're gonna be thinking on the ground and in the dirt quite a bit speaking. For the third, we do have a podcast called in the dirt. We released a new episode today. So you could search it in Apple or Google or Spotify, whatever, in the dirt bike with the soda is it with a certain with a soda. And today, we just released an interview that I was able to do when I was on the ground with a bunch of fixed ops folks from this yoka steel dealerships and talk to Greg CO. CO Jr, who my opinion is one of the most impressive leaders, that country and I think the average age of manager in that organization, which is I think, like in the 30s now, where they add in the top 150 70 I'll know they're up there average age of their manager is like 34. So if you want to groom the next generation, check out in the dirt with a solo podcast today, listen to Greg co Jr. And you'll you'll kind of see what that sounds like, you know, right out of the gate. Also, Kyle, you're gonna be with some dealers tomorrow.

Kyle Mountsier  02:36

I'm really excited about that may or may not be in Florida, which is also exciting in the winter. But yeah, I get to get to some dealers, some GMs. And, and just kind of talk about like marketing in the next year. And you know, how data and brand and all of that is going to be really important over this next year, we actually get to do that a couple of times, we're going to be with Kane crew.

Paul Daly  02:57

Yeah, just the employee group. Yeah. In Phoenix,

Kyle Mountsier  03:00

I think, you know, data and brand are going to be an eye. Here's what's crazy. We're like, Yo data and brand and people are like, Yeah, we know Kyle's the data guy, we know Paul's the brand guy, it just consistently does, it's just always matters doesn't matter if it's 2019 23 is just those two things are important when it comes to marketing and keeping customers you know, happy and and connected and all

Paul Daly  03:26

of that. So it really the like anything like you have experts and a lot of experts will be like, you know, I say the same three things for my entire career. Right? I just reorder the words, right? But the truth is, is the recontextualization of it for the current climate is where all the traction is had. Right? You don't like you can be in shape right now. And you can be in better shape. You don't need more expertise. You don't need another program. You just need to recontextualize what you already know, for how you feel today. All right, we'll keep moving because we'll get tied up in that real quick. We're going to Baltimore later this week. We're going to scope out of soda con announced it yesterday. If you didn't hear it was like a really like rolling start. And that was

Kyle Mountsier  04:05

like just we just threw out a little softball

Paul Daly  04:07

game. Right? It's a save the date, end of September. What are the dates? 25th? Through 27th?

Kyle Mountsier  04:13

Something like that. 2627 28. Yeah,

Paul Daly  04:15

hang out that last week of September to draw a big circle around it. Because you're coming to Baltimore to hang with us at a soda con. It's going to be nuts.

Kyle Mountsier  04:22

You still make the end of the month, you'll be fine. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, we'll

Paul Daly  04:26

get you home in time to do all this stuff. And Ada, we're going to be on the ground there as well. For like four or five days. We're going to roll heavy. Please. If you're going to nada, let us know in the comments. Come say hi to us while we're there. Let's record some content. Let's hang out let's meet person. Let's talk about stuff. Speaking of talking about stuff, yeah, let's good segue. Segue in the intro. Go ahead, Kyle. What's happened in this week,

Kyle Mountsier  04:50

so pay in the latest news Tesla headquarters China chief Tom zoo, so the guy he was in China has been promoted to oversee the electric car occurs us assembly plants, as well as sales operations in the US, Europe and North America. Now, he's the highest profile executive at Tesla. Second is the man CEO, Elon Musk, which I think right now is an extremely important position with his with Elon focus on I mean, not just Twitter, but like they got SpaceX and the, you know, they got a bunch of different things going on. And so that position is a massive position when it comes to especially like I was reading in the news, just this morning, a lot of people are pointing and looking at Tesla's like, what are they going to do in this new years? You know, like, they didn't hit projections on deliveries in q4, even though what they were up from q3. They had the incentives, they're continuing some of the incentives here in the first first quarter. So I think that a lot of eyes are on Tom sue this morning going okay, what's it going to look like? What is it going to do you know, is is the stock gonna rebound, all of that type of stuff? So

Paul Daly  05:59

I like this guy. I think you're, like, right on them. I finished it sounds like when I read this, I was like, I thought all the Tesla investors breathe a collective sigh of having a sigh of relief, like we got a guy to look at here we go, okay, somebody's paying attention to it's qualified. So get this I love I love to kind of like the energy around this guy just from these few things that I learned about him. You know, so he was hired last year and promoted, to come in and troubleshoot production issues. And he is one of the reasons that they rebounded so well from the China COVID lockdowns coworkers said that he was among the first batch of employees to sleep at the factory to make sure it kept running. And they you know, according to people that know him, they say he's a no fuss manager. It's got a buzz cut. He prefers wearing a Tesla fleece, right? No, and he lives in government subsidized housing. That's a 10 minute drive from the from the Shanghai factory. I'm sure he's moving this.

Kyle Mountsier  06:54

I'm gonna call it right now. Tom Xu, that's a car guy. You know what I'm saying?

Paul Daly  07:00

Get in the car. Yeah. I mean, you can say what you want about work life balance. But the man's obviously got some purpose, some work ethic. He believes in what he's doing. And it'll be interesting to see what he does with the US manufacturing and like, can he keep it aligned? And can he like, can you imagine being the guy that Elon Musk trusts with that much? It's just that the accountability that needs to happen there? I don't know. We'll see what happens. But you know, I can really get behind the guy like that. Yep, I can definitely see the auto industry.

Kyle Mountsier  07:27

And I'm excited too, because I do think that Tesla is a brand that we look to a lot and as an industry, we need to take a lot of note from that. So I'm interested to see kind of how he takes the role and takes the position into you know, really, really expanding that business and giving other auto manufacturers and auto dealers something to look towards something to kind of like track at, because I think that's important,

Paul Daly  07:51

speaking something to track that segue. I had to read this one twice when I saw it. But as of yesterday, January 1 2023, or January 2 2023, Hyundai has completely stopped selling ice vehicles in the country of Norway, completely, not another one will be sold. Norway's goal is to end a sales by not 2020, not 2030 2020 2025 20. So I suppose by the year 2025, and most of their vehicles currently have a plug. There's only a few percent of ice vehicles being sold in Norway at all in 2020. It was about 55% in 2021 65%. Last year, they think once the numbers are all in they're gonna be close to 80%. So we got a quote here from Thomas Rosebowl managing director which is like CEO of Hyundai Motor, Norway says we have great faith in our model portfolio and now that we have launched the all new icon, ionic six, the time has come to sell only all electric vehicles in the Norwegian market.

Kyle Mountsier  09:00

It's a wild proposition I you know, a lot of people are kind of going to go pointing fingers and go and see if they do it. You know, we like to level set for the people in Norway is the fourth the fourth richest country in the world. And that's per capita. So if you think like household family of three as compared to the US, that's $60,000 More of income in a family of three. So just like put that on level set. Also, it only has a population of 5.4 million, which is about the size of Greater Philadelphia, where Polly's all from and twice also the landmass only the same size as New Mexico, which New Mexico has a population of 2.1 2 million but still landmass and almost completely surrounded by water, and they get the majority of their electricity from hydro sources. So there are a lot of dynamics at play, but quite a one to one. Not a one to one, but I still think like there's going to be a lot A lot of people looking at the way that the you know, the way that the the whole ecosystem works how start charging infrastructures, because it's also not a fully developed country. I mean, even though it's a high per capita, and it is a first world country, like there there there is, like antiquated development from a structure standpoint. So, you know, there's a lot, a lot of letting go, what are they doing that other countries can replicate?

Paul Daly  10:24

A lot of the people live in like one part of the country too. Right? Right. So it's like, take everyone from Philadelphia, put them in the southern end of New Mexico, have everything pretty much run by the government. So like you think standardization the path there, but there is one element that I think we'll learn a lot from, and that's the fact that it's a cold climate. Yeah, you know what I mean? So it's like that's a question that a lot of people have right now. Right EVs? it's wintertime, people are like, Oh, my car won't charge. My car won't do this. So definitely a lot to learn and the Vikings from

Kyle Mountsier  10:54

Norway? Yes. Something like the kind of big to write Norwegians are

Paul Daly  10:58

really tall. Is that how it goes? I don't know. I'm probably getting myself in trouble. So

Kyle Mountsier  11:05

interesting fact. And this is just an interesting fact. But if you want to move to Norway, because you're just super in on EVs, you better get out your Rosetta Stone because you want to immigrate there, you got to you got to speak Norwegian,

Paul Daly  11:17

you got to speak Norwegian if you're gonna live or be a citizen of the country. So that's also a language that is just not

Kyle Mountsier  11:24

easy to get not an easy language.

Paul Daly  11:27

Like we got, we got 5 million people here. We want to keep it that way. We're cool. We're cool. We don't even need your oil anymore. Speak. I don't know, I thought I had one that's gone.

Kyle Mountsier  11:39

Speaking of Nordic countries.

Paul Daly  11:43

The show the show notes is not used to segue, usually incredibly random and then plan. And literally before the show, because like you wrote a segue into the show notes today. And I was just like, I just forgot all about it. Because I wasn't even looking at the show notes. I'm just vibing. Man, we're just vibing. Well, after buying out the last 13 and a half percent of shares from the whatever the company's stock symbol list. Volvo is now the proud owner of Zen CX and auto autonomous driving software development company. They're going to remain a standalone subsidiary, but basically they are dedicated to like figuring out all the autonomous and AI factors that provide zero accidents, ZERO ACCIDENTS is kind of their stated goal. And from the site, they say we're a company dedicated to revolutionising car safety by designing complete software stack for autonomous driving, and advanced driver assistance systems fighting to end the car accidents and make roads safer for any everyone. I mean, that's such a Volvo play, right?

Kyle Mountsier  12:45

I mean, here's the thing, this is this is my, this is my, like, kudos on the on the on the the purchase here. And my argument for autonomous driving, I don't think that any autonomy, that that is really, really good is going to come from a manufacturer, I think it's going to come from a software first company. And I mean, Tesla is the one outlier on that, because I believe they actually are a software first company. But I think that you're gonna probably see more transactions, or at least investments similar to this from Legacy manufacturers looking at out and out software tech, to bring in to execute autonomous driving at any level, just because I don't think that the time resources, you know, r&d resources that are necessary for any level of autonomy can be housed at, at the OEM level. And so, you know, I don't think this is the first time we're going to hear of, you know, a manufacturer either fully taking over an autonomous vehicle company, or at least buying a large, large amount of stock or portion of investment of a company.

Paul Daly  13:49

I will tell you that I could definitely note, several accidents I haven't been in because of some features that are obviously incorporated in autonomous driving just like safety features in Absolutely. I mean, like that, that collision warning, right, someone stops fast in front of you, you're backing out of a parking spot, it's like car coming from the right, like without a doubt. So like these autonomous features, you know, people are driving Tesla's talking about this or that, but having a company that is fully dedicated to that being absorbed into your point. I think everybody can agree. Yep. Right. And I mean, I don't know why autonomous driving features and EVS just seem like they maybe it's because Tesla is kind of like the first one. They just feel like what

Kyle Mountsier  14:31

I'm saying but they're moving. I mean, but they move back into ice vehicles and in the hybrid vehicles shot I mean, we just bought a van for my wife and and the, you know, the I'll tell you like, there are a ton of features I mean, all the lane departure warning, the, you know, the lane keep assist type stuff, the radar cruise, you see, I mean, yeah, that's all that's all parts of autonomous driving. It's just autonomous driving takes us to the next level, you know, and so I think, you know, it's a bit benefit for the entire industry, not just EVs although I know that we put them on EVs a lot.

Paul Daly  15:05

Yeah. Well, I don't know. And closing words, Kyle, it's Tuesday.

Kyle Mountsier  15:10

My closing words are hey look, the the the the OEM month probably ended yesterday. So we got all these fresh starts whether you're in the industry partner, dealer world to take the fresh start and run with it.

Paul Daly  15:20

Let's go. Right. It's a good day to roll with fresh starts. It's great. It's Tuesday. Everyone you had a head start you were at work yesterday. Everyone's coming back to work today. So time to frustrating. give someone else a fresh start to while you're at it.

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