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Elon Musk Is Why Tesla Is So Successful, Jay Leno Says

Tesla has had an amazing week, hitting the $1 trillion market cap after a deal with rental giant Hertz, which will see 100,000 Teslas join the Hertz fleet – at no discount, according to CEO Elon Musk. If you ask Jay Leno, Tesla’s success is inherently tied to and dependent on Musk.
Jay Leno test drove the Cybertruck in early 2020, with Elon Musk in the passenger seat 12 photos
The Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgunThe Cybertruck makes an appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, with Leno at the wheel and Musk riding shotgun
CNBC did ask Leno about it and he did not waste the chance to voice his support for the company and his occasional pal Musk. That Leno has always been on team Tesla is not a secret, but he always backs his words with arguments, so accusations of bias never came his way.

Speaking strictly of Tesla and the incredible success it’s been enjoying, Leno says a distinction between the company and its CEO is impossible. If anything, the company owes Musk the success, because he’s a visionary like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and, just as importantly, has a seat on the board, which allows him to bring his ideas to reality. Every other carmaker out there is a corporation, and you can tell by the cars they make.

“Can you imagine any of the major automobile manufacturers saying ‘Let’s call this high performance feature ‘Plaid’ like they did in ‘Spaceballs’ as a joke?’,” Leno says, referring to Tesla’s most high-powered vehicle. “You’d be fired or thrown out of the office. But when you own the company? Well, my car says ‘Plaid’ on the back of it. When you own the company, you can do whatever you want. Some people love it and some people hate it, but that’s why all other cars look alike. Because everything else has to be designed by committee.”

And it’s those “jokes” that make Teslas unique and, at the same time, more appealing to newcomers and already established customers. Leno also names the Ludicrous mode and the yoke-like steering wheel among such quirks that Musk made real on real cars.

Leno is not wrong, either: Musk has a very special touch that he brings to his approach to making cars. He’s not wrong when he says that it’s a hate it or leave it-type of thing, and that becomes obvious if you look at the divided reactions to whatever announcement Musk makes at any given time. It can be his decision to make a Not-A-Flamethrower flamethrower or to build a rave cave under Giga Berlin, where specially-made GigaBier will be served, or to put a farts function in a Tesla – call it childish humor or a stroke of genius, but it does help make Teslas stand out.

Editor's note: Photos in the gallery show Jay Leno and Elon Musk taking the Cybertruck for a test drive in early 2020.

 

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