Last week I wrote about how everyone seemed to want to jump into automobile retailing. People were coming out of the woodwork to enter this century-old business.
It didn't matter that most didn't know a lot about retailing. And when you saw the deals being made, you were convinced that they didn't know much about the auto business.
Well, now we are hearing about a whole bunch of other folks who think they and their companies should be in car manufacturing.
Much like Preston Tucker, John DeLorean and our friend Malcolm Bricklin, there are lots of people with lots of money interested in becoming automakers.
Elon Musk notwithstanding, the number of successful new entries in this business since World War II is fairly limited. Certainly we all appreciate Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche, who founded successful automakers. And some companies restarted after the war, picking up where they or their predecessors left off.
But the trail of those who invested heavily and failed as automakers is a long one.
Starting a car company is daunting. But there is something so appealing about the idea of a successful startup. Someone is always willing to roll the dice, convinced that he has the next great auto.
It is not that easy.
Musk deserves accolades for Tesla regardless of its hiccups with marketing. It has been a very good effort.
Musk's strong start will lure others to take a shot. Most will come from Silicon Valley, using technology as the primary mover and shaker. My guess is that they will try to leap ahead of conventional autos with all-electric, driverless vehicles.
Competition is a good thing. Even if no commercially successful vehicles are born in the next few years, it will be fascinating to see innovation come from outside the conventional spawning grounds for automobiles.
Those efforts are in their infancy. What will happen is unknown.
What powerplants, shapes or distribution systems emerge will prompt endless hours of conversation at traditional car companies. Millions are being invested, and hundreds of engineers are working on the next independent vehicle.
This industry continues to amaze, even amuse, but it's never dull.
Only time will tell whether the newcomers flop, introduce features that outlive them or flourish as competitors to the old guard.