Tesla Is Off Over A Quarter Trillion Dollars

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Tesla’s stock is in the midst of a price correction, a lot of new cars are selling in China and Kia has a plan to call its EVs “EV.” All that and more in The Morning Shift for March 9, 2021.

1st Gear: Tesla’s Stock Is Down

Tesla is, as of this writing, valued at $540 billion, but that is down from the $834 billion peak that its market capitalization reached in January, itself an unreal number. This is all, of course, tied to how Tesla’s stock is doing on Nasdaq. Tesla’s fall has continued since last week. Reuters says that it could be due for more damage:

Shares of Tesla Inc closed lower for a fifth consecutive session on Monday, caught in a tech-led selloff that has wiped more than $277 billion off the company’s market value over the last month.

High-flying tech stocks, which powered the market’s rebound from the pandemic lows in March last year, have been hit by a one-two punch of rising yields and investors shifting funds to sectors poised to benefit from a recovery in the global economy aided by accelerated rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines.

“People went into this stock super aggressively to drive it from $40 to $900, and that means will usually come out just as fast,” said Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin.

“It was obviously overdone both at $200, and I would say well overdone at $900. Retail often doesn’t sell as fast as the institutions, so the correction could last longer than for other tech stocks.”


By “retail” that analyst is referring to individual people who go on websites like Robinhood and plunk down some money for shares of Tesla, as opposed to big funds who buy in because Tesla became part of the S&P 500 or something. Retail investors are stans, largely, which is not necessarily a bad thing but usually a bit irrational.

That said, what I wouldn’t give to go back to when I was in college and a big fan of a company called Apple that made neat weird computers and whose stock cost around 25 cents.


2nd Gear: Car Sales Up In China

China is back in business, and while that has been the case for a while, the interesting thing for me to track is Tesla sales there, as Tesla doesn’t release sales figures by region. But the China Passenger Car Association does release local figures, via The Wall Street Journal:

Retail sales of passenger cars last month more than quadrupled to 1.18 million vehicles compared with the year before, the China Passenger Car Association said Tuesday. The jump reflects the low sales during the same period last year. Sales plummeted 79% in February 2020 as many cities were locked down and factories and dealerships were shut.

In February, 97,000 electric cars were sold, CPCA said. That is a more-than-sevenfold increase from a year earlier, but represents a 38% decline on month. Tesla Inc. sold 18,318 Shanghai-made Model 3s and Model Ys last month, the group’s data showed.


This in many ways shows the power of national governments to stimulate demand, especially for EVs.

Since last year, China has been offering various subsidies and incentives to help boost car sales and mitigate the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent months, Chinese regulators have announced more measures, including further relaxing vehicle-purchase restrictions and building more charging facilities for electric cars.


China, of course, is key to Tesla’s vast ambitions. Tesla seems on track there so far.

3rd Gear: Kia Has A Plan To Call Its EVs ‘EV’

This, I think, is one of those so-dumb-it’s-actually-smart things. Kia said Tuesday its EV nomenclature will be “EV” followed by a number, likely indicating the size of the car, in much the same way that BMW’s are named one through eight, roughly in order of small to big.


The first Kia in this line will be the EV6.

From Automotive News:

“All of Kia’s new dedicated BEVs will start with the prefix ‘EV’ which makes it easy for consumers to understand which of Kia’s products are fully electric,” Kia Corp. announced Tuesday in South Korea.

The EV6 electric crossover will make its world premiere in the first quarter, Kia added.

Ahead of that unveiling, Kia teased silhouette shots of the EV6, showing a low-riding crossover with a short hood, elongated cabin and steeply raked rear window. Sporty rear fender flares provide a robust, planted look, while funky wrap-around taillights project a high-tech, digital feel.

The pincher-like accent lighting around the front headlamps is also a new design cue for Kia.


Here is that teaser if you are into teasers:

Image for article titled Tesla Is Off Over A Quarter Trillion Dollars
Photo: Kia

4th Gear: Ford Is Still Trying To Figure Out Europe

Ford’s still-new CEO Jim Farley has been busy cleaning house, and it sure sounds like there are orders for Ford Europe to get its shit together as well.


From Automotive News:

Ford’s European arm has already undergone a two-year restructuring program that saw it shutter or sell five plants including three in Russia, reduce production shifts in its remaining factories and cut 20 percent of its workforce in a bid to reverse years of financial losses.

“The restructuring program was very significant,” Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley told Automotive News Europe in an interview. “But the next phase of the transformation, however, is going to require further action that could mean rescaling or repurposing facilities or other changes.”


Rowley said Ford of Europe could exit certain passenger car segments as part of its plan to sell only battery-powered cars in Europe, which means that it will drop gasoline and diesel passenger cars including hybrids by 2030.

“We will choose segments where there is consumer demand, growth and where we can be profitable,” Rowley said. “We will not necessarily try to be all things to all men or women in the future.”


Not trying to be all things to all people in Europe seems like a significant concession for a company like Ford, which has had exactly that aspiration in America for just about its entire history. Start getting worried about the future of the Ford Mondeo, I know you already were.

5th Gear: Nissan Has A Big Sentra Recall

Nissan is recalling over 854,000 Sentras from model years 2016 to 2019, because the brake lights could fail to light. Also the engine might not start. Over 807,000 of those Sentras are here in the U.S.


From the Associated Press:

Nissan says silicon contamination from grease used in nearby components can cause oxidation that can make the stop lamp switch near the brake pedal malfunction. If that happens, the stop lamps may not light up and the engine may not start. Owners may see a malfunction indicator light on the dashboard if the condition happens.

Nissan says it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem.

Reverse: Adopt-A-Highway


I did not know about this:

Businesses, schools and churches are among the main organizations to participate in the Adopt-a-Highway (also known in some places as Sponsor-a-Highway) program. However, over the years, some Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups, along with other controversial organizations, have tried to become involved–and thereby receive signs along highways acknowledging their effort. After the state of Missouri rejected a Ku Klux Klan group’s application to join the program, the white supremacist organization charged that its free-speech rights were being violated. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Missouri couldn’t prevent the KKK from participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program.


Neutral: How Are You?

I am still in quarantine for the next week, having traveled recently, which means a lot of delivery, which means my mind (and liver) being blown that you can order liquor on the internet and have it delivered in less than an hour.