Mustang Parts
   Carrying Saleen wheels and Bullitt wheels.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to get your 5% off from Home Depot, online

I wanted to order an item from Home Depot online, using my Home Depot credit card, but there was no indication that I would get the 5% discount that store credit card users can ask for when buying at the physical store.

I used the web chat feature to talk with a customer service rep, who informed me that the 5% discount only applies in-store... however, she offered to give me the 5% discount anyway.  I just had to send her the order number after I checked out.

So, if you are ordering online from Home Depot and you want your 5%, there might be a way to get it.

Kudos to's customer service team for helping me out.

But, jeers to Home Depot for making the 5% discount such a pain to get.  At Lowes, you get it automatically just by using your Lowes card.

Does Telsa Need Texas?

Inside EVs has a nice write-up of Elon Musk's appearance in Texas to lobby for an exception to that state's dealer franchise laws.

Musk said that selling direct is "life or death" for Tesla.

But is it really "life or death" that Tesla sell in Texas?  With all of the other states he could be in?

Perhaps he meant that that selling his cars direct to customers is "life or death", but I wonder about that too.

If Teslas are profitable cars with solid demand, then dealerships should be able to sell them and make money, and Tesla should be able to make money.  After all, that's how everyone else does it, from tiny Mitsubishi (surprisingly) to the big boys.

Smaller volume players, like Lamborghini, Fiat, or Smart, either use multi-brand dealers, or small boutique shops to market their product.  How is Tesla fundamentally different from a small volume sports car brand?

If Tesla can't survive without eating the margin that would normally go to a dealer, what does that tell us about the strength of their market?

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Friday, April 05, 2013

Fisker: The End?

There are reports that Fisker has terminated most of its employees, leaving a "skeleton crew" in place to try to find a buyer for what is left of the company, and to deal with the DOE ATVM loan payment which is about to come due.

In other words, it looks like Fisker is finally done.

A "going concern" would not fire product development people. 

Making money selling cars is hard.  Carmakers need access to billions of dollars in cash to fund daily operations, and these borrowings aren't easy to come by at a time when banks and investors want some certainty of repayment.  People aren't willing to gamble much on companies that may not become profitable. 

The big question in my mind is Tesla.  Tesla is the best capitalized of the EV start-ups, but is also in a race against the bank.  Tesla must become cash-flow positive to a degree that lenders will loan it short term operating funds with which to run the business.  Otherwise, when Elon Musk's wealth dries up, game over.

Still, I have to hand it to Henrik Fisker and crew.  They worked hard, and managed to build a beautiful, if impractical and buggy, luxury sportscar.  Collectors will be swapping Fisker Karmas for decades to come, and I expect to see Fisker meet-ups at car shows and drive-ins.

Maybe someone will buy Fisker and try to make a go at it, but I doubt we'll see any more cars built. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

That new Tesla Lease...

... is not $500/month.  Don't be fooled.

To lease a Model S, the deal is something like 10% down, and a residual value percentage equal to a Mercedes.  Federal/State incentives go to Tesla.

A monthly payment on the 60kW Model S will cost around $1100.  Then, to get you down to $500/month, they pretend gas costs $5/gallon, and factor in a business tax deduction!

Then they offer to factor in saved time from not buying gasoline, and saving time by riding in HOV lanes in California.

Drop the business tax deduction, assume gas costs $4/gallon, and ignore the HOV lane time savings trick, and I get a monthly "equivalent" lease cost of $914.  

I can't believe the press is lapping this up without doing 10 minutes of research.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Carbon Motors: The End?

According to Indianapolis Business Journal, Carbon Motors has removed their stuff from the former Visteon plant they had hoped to use for production.  And, ominously, their blog at is down, and their Facebook page is missing.

Looks like the end of Carbon Motors, which never really got off of the ground, due to a really dubious business case.