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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I listened into Ford's earnings call and while it was mostly blah blah blah, there were a few key points that caught my attention, and my thoughts,

* Ford thinks GM's strategy of reusing existing nameplates and configurations in EV's is a missed opportunity. Ford thinks each all new EV should open a new segment for growth, be designed for volume, and be optimized for the platform.

I think Ford is exactly right, as I keep saying "Build a better Model Y" is the first thing to do, you do not need to build 5 models that are all inferior to the Model Y in this way or that way. Just follow Tesla's lead but fix Tesla's shortfalls on quality and interior (suspension stiffness). Those that disagree with me on this, just need to think that Model Y by itself outsells the entire Cadillac, and Buick brand in the USA. Model Y also has a very high average transaction price, higher than Buick and on par with Cadillac.

* Doug Field (the man who led engineering of 3 and Y at Tesla, and brought them to production) was on the call for Ford, saying Ford is looking hard at their new platforms, and looking at every single watt consumed and trying to optimize, so they can get longer range with smaller battery (pretty much Tesla's strategy) smaller battery means lower cost (higher margin).

Now I think Ford is way behind GM is building out their EV supply chain and battery infrastructure, but I have faith Ford's next gen EV's will be very competitive with Tesla. GM, seems to be taking a different approach and racing to the bottom to sell the cheapest EV. This trying to sell low price models never works for GM or anyone else, there are plenty of people who will pay $10K more to have a fully optimized EV, no need to be a bottom dweller. (note Hyundai and Kia moving upmarket in EV's not down)

On Fords investment in Rivian, I almost feel sorry for Ford, they declared their gains on the Rivian investment last year, then had to take a $5.4B write down in Q1, and the pain is not over as Rivian has dropped another 40% in the last month, so unless that improves Ford will have to take another big write down for Q2. At this point Ford has nearly lost all of their gains in the Rivian investment.
 

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* Ford thinks GM's strategy of reusing existing nameplates and configurations in EV's is a missed opportunity. Ford thinks each all new EV should open a new segment for growth, be designed for volume, and be optimized for the platform.
Tesla's basically selling one model. It sells very well but the market likes variety. Tesla has to keep moving into new markets to maintain volume.

GM reusing established names saves on all the marketing trying to educate the public on a new model. It also shows you're serious about the transition. Ford can go their route because outside of F150, Mustang and Explorer they don't have a lot of models people care that much about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tesla's basically selling one model. It sells very well but the market likes variety. Tesla has to keep moving into new markets to maintain volume.

GM reusing established names saves on all the marketing trying to educate the public on a new model. It also shows you're serious about the transition. Ford can go their route because outside of F150, Mustang and Explorer they don't have a lot of models people care that much about.
Tesla sells 4 cars, each outsells GM's segment competitor. so lets forget that Tesla sells one car... BS Model 3 outsells all GM cars in the USA (Average sale price of $50K) Model Y outsells any GM vehicles in the USA other then Silverado (Average sale price of $64K) Model S and X outsell Cadillac Escalade, CT4 and CT5 combined (average sale price well over $100K)

I am fine with GM using legacy nameplates, but the cars should not be ICE top hats slapped on an EV platform, they should fully take advantage of the benefits of a flat EV platform, Should all have Frunk's, Low Cowl for better forward visibility, best in class efficiency, charging, and usefulness. They should also design them for easy production and only offer them in a couple configurations. Like Equinox, they should have a base model, an LT model, and a Premier model, package all the options, so they are easy for a customer or dealer to order, but doing it like that also makes it easier for the purchasing dept, easier for manufacturing, and customer say they want choice, but actually they don't...

Customers should choose their option level Base, LT, or Premier, Color, and thats it. GM on the T1 pickups went nuts with customer option packages, and talking to people at the factories and in purchasing, it just made their jobs a nightmare. Production of T1 trucks has also been lower than the previous generation I would argue due to all the different configurations. Don't do that again, GM is not Porsche, keep it simple for dealers/customers and package the popular options, and work on increasing factory productivity while reducing defects and re-work.

GM also needs to clean house in the engineering departments, get rid of the tired, old toads that are holding back innovation (see Ford canned 600 engineers yesterday). GM needs younger leadership that is dedicated to their mission, and works like animals, Thats the real advantage Tesla has, engineers buy into their job being mission, and work like crazy.
 

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Tesla sells 4 cars, each outsells GM's segment competitor. so lets forget that Tesla sells one car... BS Model 3 outsells all GM cars in the USA (Average sale price of $50K) Model Y outsells any GM vehicles in the USA other then Silverado (Average sale price of $64K) Model S and X outsell Cadillac Escalade, CT4 and CT5 combined (average sale price well over $100K)
You said a lot there, but Model 3, S and X sales have been falling for the past couple of years. Only model Y sales are growing at least in the US. Model S sales peaked in 2016.

 

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Tesla sells 4 cars, each outsells GM's segment competitor. so lets forget that Tesla sells one car... BS Model 3 outsells all GM cars in the USA (Average sale price of $50K) Model Y outsells any GM vehicles in the USA other then Silverado (Average sale price of $64K) Model S and X outsell Cadillac Escalade, CT4 and CT5 combined (average sale price well over $100K)

I am fine with GM using legacy nameplates, but the cars should not be ICE top hats slapped on an EV platform, they should fully take advantage of the benefits of a flat EV platform, Should all have Frunk's, Low Cowl for better forward visibility, best in class efficiency, charging, and usefulness. They should also design them for easy production and only offer them in a couple configurations. Like Equinox, they should have a base model, an LT model, and a Premier model, package all the options, so they are easy for a customer or dealer to order, but doing it like that also makes it easier for the purchasing dept, easier for manufacturing, and customer say they want choice, but actually they don't...

Customers should choose their option level Base, LT, or Premier, Color, and thats it. GM on the T1 pickups went nuts with customer option packages, and talking to people at the factories and in purchasing, it just made their jobs a nightmare. Production of T1 trucks has also been lower than the previous generation I would argue due to all the different configurations. Don't do that again, GM is not Porsche, keep it simple for dealers/customers and package the popular options, and work on increasing factory productivity while reducing defects and re-work.

GM also needs to clean house in the engineering departments, get rid of the tired, old toads that are holding back innovation (see Ford canned 600 engineers yesterday). GM needs younger leadership that is dedicated to their mission, and works like animals, Thats the real advantage Tesla has, engineers buy into their job being mission, and work like crazy.
I'm not one to put much stock in current Tesla sales. These numbers are not going to be going up exponentially any time soon, and in fact are on the verge of stagnating or even decreasing in my estimation.

Working in the industry, I can see enthusiasm for Tesla beginning to die off in the public generally. Once flashy new toys, they're becoming commonplace and boring. People place style above all else, generally speaking, when buying cars, and Tesla has none of that. So once the novelty began to wear off, interest declined...and as the market gets saturated with impressive new competitors, EVEN IF they haven't matched Tesla's technological prowess, people will continue to move away from the brand.

Now, that's not to knock Tesla in any way. There's no question that they have the best performance portfolio (range, charging, etc.) of any brand building EVs today, and they're incredibly advanced thanks to being early to the game, pretty much inventing the game honestly. But as I've said before, passion and emotion are the leading factors to any car buying experience, and other than speed and a bunch of cool tech for technofiles, they offer little in that category.

This is what GM understands. Over 100 years building some pretty damn iconic cars will do that. They understand that EV performance is obviously important, but not the most important thing. Same thing with ICE vehicles. The Hummer, Lyriq, Silverado EV, and upcoming vehicles like the Celestiq, Blazer EV SS, Corvette EV, etc. invoke emotion. 4 of those nameplates have a storied history. The tesla model of business is not the only way to survive in the new EV market, it's just one way...and it works for them. It's earned them a cult following. But that strategy won't work for GM - they need to adapt their persona from the past to new electric vehicles, not try to become Tesla 2.0.

Whether Ford or GM eventually becomes the EV sales leader in the U.S. remains to be seen, and one of them will. That will ultimately tell us who had the better strategy. But GM has the advantage of 4 established brands instead of two, and they offer WAY more potential for volume, legacy nameplate marketing, cost sharing, development, etc. So with the dedicated new Ultium platform, I anticipate GM winning this one out in the long run. Once they electrify, profitably, the full-size SUVs and both truck lines (as well as the mid size trucks), it's over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You said a lot there, but Model 3, S and X sales have been falling for the past couple of years. Only model Y sales are growing at least in the US. Model S sales peaked in 2016.

S and X were not in production for 9 months, while refreshing, Model 3 still sells 200K a year in the USA, What Sedan starting at $48K sells more? Hell, what sedan starting above $30K sells more
 

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S and X were not in production for 9 months, while refreshing, Model 3 still sells 200K a year in the USA, What Sedan starting at $48K sells more? Hell, what sedan starting above $30K sells more
The 3 still doesn't have competitors that produce in sufficient volume. Soon they will though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not one to put much stock in current Tesla sales. These numbers are not going to be going up exponentially any time soon, and in fact are on the verge of stagnating or even decreasing in my estimation.

Working in the industry, I can see enthusiasm for Tesla beginning to die off in the public generally. Once flashy new toys, they're becoming commonplace and boring. People place style above all else, generally speaking, when buying cars, and Tesla has none of that. So once the novelty began to wear off, interest declined...and as the market gets saturated with impressive new competitors, EVEN IF they haven't matched Tesla's technological prowess, people will continue to move away from the brand.

Now, that's not to knock Tesla in any way. There's no question that they have the best performance portfolio (range, charging, etc.) of any brand building EVs today, and they're incredibly advanced thanks to being early to the game, pretty much inventing the game honestly. But as I've said before, passion and emotion are the leading factors to any car buying experience, and other than speed and a bunch of cool tech for technofiles, they offer little in that category.

This is what GM understands. Over 100 years building some pretty damn iconic cars will do that. They understand that EV performance is obviously important, but not the most important thing. Same thing with ICE vehicles. The Hummer, Lyriq, Silverado EV, and upcoming vehicles like the Celestiq, Blazer EV SS, Corvette EV, etc. invoke emotion. 4 of those nameplates have a storied history. The tesla model of business is not the only way to survive in the new EV market, it's just one way...and it works for them. It's earned them a cult following. But that strategy won't work for GM - they need to adapt their persona from the past to new electric vehicles, not try to become Tesla 2.0.

Whether Ford or GM eventually becomes the EV sales leader in the U.S. remains to be seen, and one of them will. That will ultimately tell us who had the better strategy. But GM has the advantage of 4 established brands instead of two, and they offer WAY more potential for volume, legacy nameplate marketing, cost sharing, development, etc. So with the dedicated new Ultium platform, I anticipate GM winning this one out in the long run. Once they electrify, profitably, the full-size SUVs and both truck lines (as well as the mid size trucks), it's over.
With all due respect, Tesla sales in 2022 Q1 grew 80% over 2021 Q1 (GM sales down 20%), Tesla also made more profit on 310K cars then GM did on 1.5M cars in Q1... Tesla enthusiasm dying off? Model Y in the USA reserved now, will not be delivered until Feb 2023, Model S or X ordered now, are scheduled out to December 2022, and all this after Tesla has been raising prices monthly. Sorry Brother, I am not seeing it...

Competitors? Just Model 3, Tesla's old sedan, outsells all the EV's from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Mercedes, GM, combined in the USA. Shoot, Tesla is crushing the European makers on their home turf, and Tesla is profitable doing it, not selling on low prices to get volume.

Where I think GM is getting it wrong, is they are putting too much stock in design, and not enough in engineering. Why does a Model Y have the same usable space as a Lyriq, more power, (likely better handling) but weigh 1200 lbs less, and 30% more efficient? Its the engineering... Engineering I tell you. A lot of people buy Corollas and Camry's because they are reliable, and efficient, Tesla's are also reliable, and efficient, and it's the same crowd going upmarket to buy a Tesla. Ford understands this with Doug Field leading EV engineering, you have to get the engineering right, because if not, you have to put in more batteries to get the range. More battery means more weight and less efficient. GM is just throwing literally tons of batteries at the problem, instead of thinking about how to increase efficiency.

As for winning or losing, Tesla is winning today with 75% USA EV marketshare, and even though they are small, they make more profit... Last quarter Tesla had 19.2% net margins, which is unbelievable (GM 7.2%). Whether GM can "win" with overweight, slow and inefficient designs, time will tell... But GM is not off to a good start, and just simple math says heavier cars with more parts cost more to build, it's just math, and if you have a cost disadvantage, its just gets worse as you scale up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The 3 still doesn't have competitors that produce in sufficient volume. Soon they will though.
Been hearing that for 5 years, and model 3 still selling more than Tesla can produce.

Anyway, you guys are missing my point, I am not saying Gm should copy Tesla, I am saying GM should re-create cars that take no prisoner to Tesla, build cars that are efficient, spend more time engineering 1 car that is best in class instead of 3 that are so so.. GM needs to show they can meet Tesla in efficiency, Range and charging, but also handling, etc. Heavy cars drive like boats, there is no way around the physics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is what GM understands. Over 100 years building some pretty damn iconic cars will do that. They understand that EV performance is obviously important, but not the most important thing. Same thing with ICE vehicles. The Hummer, Lyriq, Silverado EV, and upcoming vehicles like the Celestiq, Blazer EV SS, Corvette EV, etc. invoke emotion. 4 of those nameplates have a storied history. The tesla model of business is not the only way to survive in the new EV market, it's just one way...and it works for them. It's earned them a cult following. But that strategy won't work for GM - they need to adapt their persona from the past to new electric vehicles, not try to become Tesla 2.0.

I wanted to specifically reply to this. If you are going to compete in EV, you need to really control cost. I have been one of the biggest Tesla naysayers forever, but now I understand what Tesla has done... Tesla built the EV market from scratch, and has the baggage of Elon Musk as CEO, who is loved in some circles and hated in others. I am closer to a hater of Musk as he is a BS'er in my book. Now, lets just talk cars from an engineering standpoint, on EV's to be profitable you have to cut cost and weight anywhere you can, to make up for the battery that is heavy, but this goes only so far, Look at the picture @Dark-Fx posted of the HummerEv with the frunk tub removed, look closer at the structure, and start counting the parts. Look at all the overlapping stampings and doublers... Each of those parts requires design, dies built, stamping time, labor to move around, robots to weld together, etc, etc, etc. This is so anti Tesla which would rather make one large die casting to replace all those parts. This is genius way to cut cost and reduce weight, and also speeds assembly time. GM was one of the first with large die castings in the CT6, but never pushed the technology further, GM had the Idea, Tesla took it to a new level. I was a naysayer initially on this, but now I see it working, and have put my model Y on the lift and looked at the design, it is literally brilliant, and mine has the 2 piece rear casting, not the single piece they are building today, but its is quite rigid. Model Y built today have single piece front and rear castings replacing hundreds of parts in the Model 3. Tesla says they save weight, production cost, and the body shop can also be substantially smaller with far less sub assembly stations. GM and Honda are working on this kind of tech for the next gen crossovers coming in 2027, but that is a long way off, and in the meantime it costs GM more to build an EV than a company like Tesla. When GM is at a cost disadvantage, and EV perception disadvantage, and a technological disadvantage, ya, I don't think design can overcome all those headwinds.
 

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I have to take exception to some of Tom’s perceptions about the Model Y versus the Lyriq. Firstly it’s hard to compare the two until the Lyriq actually comes out, but given that:

Why does a Model Y have the same usable space as a Lyriq (I don’t think the usable space is real because a lot of comes at the center of the car where’s it hard to pack items) more power (not for the AWD version), better handling) (I seriously doubt that as most reviews have savaged the ride and handling balance of the Tesla ). 30% more efficient (we all have seen tests where the Tesla gets nowhere near it’s supposed epa range and we don’t even know the Lyriq range yet). Tesla's are also reliable (not according to many independent studies). GM is just throwing literally tons of batteries at the problem, instead of thinking about how to increase efficiency (not according to the many patents I have seen on casting and 3D printing). Sure you can maximize aerodynamics but you end up with a catfish looking car like the model y or a piece of soap like the EQS. Or you can minimize weight by taking out what many consider to be useful buttons. Or take out radar and have terrible phantom braking problems which is not acceptable. No thanks I will keep my belt and suspenders.

You seem to be fixated on weight but in reality the Lyriq weighs the same as a BMW IX which has some CFRP to help keep down weight and is the same length. Of course less weight would be better, but that’s also why GM has so many fingers in so many different areas of battery development. The funny thing is in the past GM dedicated a lot of resources on making existing products cheaper which they got lambasted for - people wanted them to concentrate on making the new products better instead. Tesla seems to be praised for doing the same thing GM did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have to take exception to some of Tom’s perceptions about the Model Y versus the Lyriq. Firstly it’s hard to compare the two until the Lyriq actually comes out, but given that:

Why does a Model Y have the same usable space as a Lyriq (I don’t think the usable space is real because a lot of comes at the center of the car where’s it hard to pack items) more power (not for the AWD version), better handling) (I seriously doubt that as most reviews have savaged the ride and handling balance of the Tesla ). 30% more efficient (we all have seen tests where the Tesla gets nowhere near it’s supposed epa range and we don’t even know the Lyriq range yet). Tesla's are also reliable (not according to many independent studies). GM is just throwing literally tons of batteries at the problem, instead of thinking about how to increase efficiency (not according to the many patents I have seen on casting and 3D printing). Sure you can maximize aerodynamics but you end up with a catfish looking car like the model y or a piece of soap like the EQS. Or you can minimize weight by taking out what many consider to be useful buttons. Or take out radar and have terrible phantom braking problems which is not acceptable. No thanks I will keep my belt and suspenders.

You seem to be fixated on weight but in reality the Lyriq weighs the same as a BMW IX which has some CFRP to help keep down weight and is the same length. Of course less weight would be better, but that’s also why GM has so many fingers in so many different areas of battery development. The funny thing is in the past GM dedicated a lot of resources on making existing products cheaper which they got lambasted for - people wanted them to concentrate on making the new products better instead. Tesla seems to be praised for doing the same thing GM did.
Go drive a model Y... They are a bit stiff, much like M series BMW's, boomers (almost) like me would prefer a softer ride, but younger people. the next generation of buyers actually like the firmer ride. As for efficiency, my Model Y regularly gets 4+ miles per kWh, and while I agree Tesla stretches the range, the efficiency is no stretch. I cannot believe how far that car goes on a charge, and how little the range falls off at high speeds. As for it being impossible to design a handsome car that is aerodynamic... Welcome Lucid to the conversation, looks better then EQS, and Tesla S, and also has lower total drag than both of those. Its a smaller car in overall size, but has more interior space.

What I am down on GM about on Lyriq is packaging (no frunk, and rear cargo area not as deep or usable below the floor as Y) Weight, 5600 lbs in RWD trim is heavy for a dedicated EV platform. Model X is a lot bigger, has more power, AWD, more range and weighs 500 lbs less. Weight is something that hurts all aspects of a car, hurts acceleration, braking, handling, Basically heavy cars waddle like a toad. Extra weight also hurts in crashes, and requires more reinforcement. I feel like GM is not even trying to be best in class, and I am not the only one, note GM's stock price.

My whole point is that Ford knows the Mach E and F150 are POS EV's and they are saying we are going to fix it... We are going to do what it takes to make our next generation the best in class. Ford went out and hired Doug Field, the man who led engineering on the 3-Y, because they realized they need to think outside their existing box.

You guys are all attacking what I say and pointing to little flaws in the Y here and there, but you are looking at GM through rose colored glasses, and have no idea how far behind they real are. Listen guys, go back to my first line, what I said is GM should build a BETTER MODEL Y, fix its flaws, and make it look better. I was just pointing out that Ford is laser focused to make sure the next gen EV's they put into production will be the next generation beyond 3 and Y, and they specifically called out GM's strategy of using ICE top hats on a BEV platform as a mistake. I think Ford gets it, and is at least saying the right things, GM brass is arrogant and thinks they are the best (Mary thinks she leads) but the truth is GM is not even in the top 10 in EVs in the USA in the last 6 months, and Competition is getting better, like Hyundai, and Kia.

By the way, since you mentioned it, I drove the iX for a day, it's a fantastic driving EV, the best driving EV crossover of them all, and it weights the sale as Lyrix, with more range and AWD. If Lyriq drives as solid and handles as nice as iX, I will eat my words, but it won't. It won't even be close. That being said, you don't want to spend much time looking at the outside of iX, its ugly, IMO uglier then Model Y.
 
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