Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing the resources for someone trying to learn about autos; General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is so far ahead of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) when it comes to increased levels of autonomous driving.
1) From a reader:
A few more really interesting resources for someone trying to learn about autos.
- This American Life did a podcast on NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc, the JV that was created in Fremont between Toyota and GM). It’s a fascinating look at why GM struggled for so long with quality from Fremont, but once Toyota came in, it became GM’s best plant. It took another 15-20 years for GM to get their act together because they refused to learn from the plant
- Highly, highly recommend the book Car: A Drama of the American Workplace by Mary Walton. For anyone trying to understand the car design and production process (though a bit dated), this is the book to read. Mary Walton was given unprecedented access to the development of the second generation Ford Taurus. She was basically treated as an employee for a number of years and given access to everyone. I highly doubt there will ever be another book written like this again, and it sheds an incredible amount of light on what any upstart auto company is up against (and also why they can, in some ways, move much faster).
- Two books I read when I first started covering autos – Crash Course by Paul Ingrassia and Overhaul by Steven Rattner
- And my personal favorite, Taken for A Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler by Bill Vlasic and especially timely given the FCAU/RNO “merger of equals” playing out now. Made me seriously rethink the “Germans are great at autos” idea.
2) From another reader:
GM is so far ahead of Tesla when it comes to increased levels of autonomous driving, that it's not even close:
GM is just horrible at marketing it. Nobody knows about it. If you put GM in charge of marketing funeral homes, people would stop dying.
It's the only car that allows hands-free driving legally in the U.S. And not just for 10 seconds. You can drive for hours, on approved (geo-fenced) freeways.
"To enable the expanded functionality, an enhancement to the Super Cruise system will be available to 2018 and 2019 model year Cadillac CT6 owners through their Cadillac dealer. Following the completion of the system enhancement, the new, additional map miles will be sent to customer vehicles over the air throughout the summer and fall."