Every couple of weeks, the AFR offers space for former ASX CEO Elmer Funke Kupper to attempt rehabilitation. After all, this is the same Elmer Funke Kupper who resigned from his job in 2016:
This is the same Elmer Funke Kupper who does not read business books because:
business books are often outdated and tend to be written by outsiders who haven’t done anything themselves.
So in today’s AFR, Elmer Funke Kupper writes about electric cars and why Tesla cars are not the future:
As a matter of fact, Spartacus sort of agrees that, if electric cars are the future (and that is a big if), then Teslas won’t be it. But Spartacus’ reasons for disagreement a fundamentally different to Elmer Funke Kupper’s. You see that Elmer Funke Kupper believes that cars made in America can’t cut the mustard:
When was the last time you bought a car designed and built in America? Exactly. I became more convinced when I looked at the companies. The big guys – Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Renault and others – will bring their brands, dealer networks and balance sheets. Their ranges will include small cars, family cars, sports cars, 4WDs and luxury cars.
Well dear Elmer. Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen have large car production facilities in the US. As do Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Fiat and Volvo. And all the car companies have large design studios in the US. Spartacus believes that Tesla will lose to Mercedes and BMW and similar not because Tesla manufactures in the US, but because Mercedes and BMW and similar are in the business of cars and not spin. You see car companies, unlike spin companies, actually make money.
But how does dear Elmer Funke Kupper propose to achieve an electric car future you ask? With extensive government intervention in the market:
First, we should set an ambitious target for the next 20 years that both sides of politics sign up to. This should include the sale of new vehicles and zero emission standards.
Second, we should implement incentives to buy electric cars. I recommend that we remove luxury car tax, set a lower GST rate, apply lower FBT for company cars and reduce the annual road tax. That would yield an immediate and material effect.
Third, we should invest in the infrastructure that supports electric cars. This will happen in part as supply follows demand, stimulated by consumer incentives. The government can assist further by requiring that all new developments install charging points. This includes offices, shopping malls, apartment buildings and parking garages. This is much more efficient than adding the facilities later.
And finally, we should be uncompromising in the delivery of electricity that is abundant, highly affordable and (relatively) clean. Supply plans should cater for a world where most cars are electric.
Nothing like a wealth dilettante arguing for more subsidies for his lifestyle at the expense of the masses.
But this is the best part of dear Elmer Funke Kupper’s arguement:
I’m a believer in free markets, provided they work. When they’re broken, we cannot leave it.
Interesting position statement give that dear Elmer Funke Kupper’s 3 most recent, highest paying and highest profile executive gigs were for regulated monopolies – ANZ Bank, TabCorp and ASX.
Perhaps he should have said that he is a believer in free markets, provided they work. When regulation is necessary to protect Elmer from competition and salary compression, we cannot leave it to the market.