The Green U-Turn

The pushback against the “Net Zero” scheme is growing bigger and bigger.

Leading the trend are our beer-drinking, bratwurst-eating friends — some of the best designers and manufacturers of cars ever. The Germans, specifically Audi, are now doing a massive U-turn on electric vehicles, dropping their earlier goal of producing only electric vehicles by 2026.

Why, you might ask? Why, to not overwhelm the dealerships. Yes, they really said that! Take a look:

Audi says it is now pulling back on what was a fairly ambitious rollout of upcoming electric vehicles in response to what its newly appointed CEO says is the EV “slowdown” and to “avoid burdening” factories and dealers.

“We first looked at what order and density of launches the organization could handle,” CEO Gernot Döllner told Bloomberg. “In the end, we decided to spread it out to not overwhelm the team and the dealerships.”

Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen, had slated 20 new models by 2026, with 10 of those being EVs. Now it will put its focus on new internal combustion and plug-in hybrid models, with some electric ones in there, but the timing will be flexible as to when that will happen.

Perhaps what Herr Gernot meant to say was there’s bugger all demand for EVs and they didn’t want to overwhelm the dealerships with a bunch of unwanted inventory?

Anyhow, it’s not just Audi. Mercedes-Benz seems to also have second thoughts about the whole “EV revolution.” Here’s Reuters:

The company now expects sales of electrified vehicles, including hybrids, to account for up to 50% of the total by 2030 – five years later than its forecast from 2021, when it aimed to hit the 50% milestone by 2025 with mostly all-electric cars.

And a few days ago, Bentley also joined in on the dissent.

But perhaps most curious is the case of Apple. Now, you might be thinking, “What does Apple have to do with cars?” But after 16 years of teasing entry into the EV market, Apple recently threw in the towel on their long-awaited electric car.

Also worth mentioning is that Apple sits on a gobsmacking $162 billion in cash. And even with all that cash, they decided to pass on the “EV revolution.”

What to make of all this? As we like to say around here, everyone is a greenie until it hits their pocket. It seems that maybe, just maybe, all these companies (and we probably missed on at least a few more) are figuring out that EVs are not the silver bullet they were promised to be.


It’s been a while since we last touched on Argentina. If you’re an Insider member (or even a long-time reader of these missives), you’re familiar with our interest in the land of silver. The country is, after all, one of the themes in our Insider portfolio.

In case you haven’t been following the recent developments…

More detail from the article:

Argentina logged a primary fiscal surplus of 1.23 trillion Argentine pesos ($1.45 billion) in February, Economy Minister Luis Caputo said on Friday, marking the second-consecutive month in the black after years of regular deficits.

The article goes on:

The government posted “two consecutive months of financial surplus for the first time since early 2011, accumulating a surplus after interest of almost 0.2% of GDP in the first two months of 2024,” the ministry said in a statement.

In other words, what the predominantly leftist pointy shoes before him couldn’t do (or were unwilling to do?) in 12 years, Milei was able to do in just a few weeks after taking office. As the saying goes, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

It’s no surprise Argentinian stocks have been on a run for the past few months. For the sake of simplicity, let’s use the Global X MSCI Argentina ETF as a proxy for Argentine stocks — it’s up roughly 15% since Milei won the election. At the same time, Latin American stocks (measured by the iShares Latin America 40 ETF) have been practically flat.


Feels like a lifetime ago, when — back in February 2020 — we started warning that lockdowns will bring about inflation and shortages. Fast forward to today, and this pesky stuff is now part of our daily lives. We recently set up a dedicated inflation channel in our Insider private forum, where members can share their own experiences with all things “transitory”.

To kick off this week’s section, here’s a note from Insider member “Dancebuff:”

Organic olive oil at Trader Joe’s was $6.49 less than a year ago. Now, it’s jumped to $8.99 for the same size bottle. A whopping 38.5% increase. The decimal point in our supposed national inflation is off by a digit. The stores say they are having trouble getting organic olive oil.

Moving on from olive oil, it’s been a while since we covered insurance rate hikes, so here’s a fresh round.

Member Michael reports that his “AXA international health insurance is up 17 %.” And here’s a note from another member, John:

My optional company health insurance policy is 12% up YOY. It’s a Portuguese policy


Speaking of inflation, this might be the mea culpa of the year…

It boggles the mind that us, a small team of hedgies sitting here in our underpants, could figure out that it’s not transitory and never was. And yet, the pointy shoes at central banks, with assuredly far more resources at their disposal than us, somehow couldn’t?

Perhaps, it might be an opportune time to rebrand the previous section or even retire it altogether now that inflation is under control (or so we’re told).

Now, if you’re scratching your head as to why — despite the headlines about dropping inflation rates — practically everything still feels pretty dang expensive, the following chart (h/t @darioperkins) explains it pretty dang well.

In other words, the toothpaste is out of the tube. And it will be next to impossible to get it back in (without making a mess, that is).


Courtesy of Insider member Clint:

And some triggering content from member Anissa:

Have a great start to the week!


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