Elon Musk Buying Small Texas Town For Employees To Live And Work From

Elon Musk has been quietly purchasing properties in a small Texas neighborhood within the past few years with the ultimate goal of building his own village where his employees can live and work from.


Elon Musk Among Witnesses Expected to Take the Stand This Week in Tesla Tweet Trial

Elon Musk is among the expected witnesses to appear this week in the ongoing federal trial accusing him of deceptively driving up the price of Tesla stock by tweeting about taking the company private, which never happened.

The August 2018 tweet in question stated that Musk had “secured” funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The company’s stock was slumping at the time due to production problems.

Tesla shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit suing Musk for billions of dollars in damages for money investors say they lost after the tweet inflated share price. The trial, taking place in San Francisco, is expected to last for three weeks. 

Investor Glen Littleton from Kansas City, Missouri, is seeking damages on behalf of shareholders who traded the company’s stock in the days after Musk’s tweet. 

Littleton had purchased Tesla investments with hopes that the automaker’s stock would eventually be worth far more than $420. Upon seeing Musk’s tweet, he felt compelled to sell his Tesla stock options since he knew the completed deal would have rendered them worthless. 

He stated he sold off most of his Tesla positions to try and limit his losses, but even after doing so, the value of his Tesla portfolio plunged by 75%.

“The damage was done. I was in a state of shock.”

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The case’s outcome may depend on whether Musk knowingly raised Tesla’s stock price by tweeting that he had secured money for a $72 billion takeover of the business. The stock plummeted in value when it became apparent that he lacked the funding to complete the deal a week later. 

On Wednesday, Nicholas Porritt, lead attorney for the investors, told the trial’s jury of nine that “millions of dollars were lost when his lies were exposed.” 

“Why are we here? We are here because Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive of Tesla, lied. His lies caused regular people like Glen Littleton to lose millions and millions of dollars.” 

Porritt also pointed out that not only did Musk’s tweet cause investors to lose money, but it also affected pension funds and other organizations that owned Tesla stock.

The trial’s presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, has already ruled that Musk’s tweet was false and reckless. 

Porritt took advantage of the judge’s verdict and told the jury they should presume Musk’s tweet was false, which the judge permitted.

“When the CEO of a public company like Tesla lies about his company and hurts investors, it’s critical that he is held accountable for that harm that he causes.”

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In his opening statements, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro insisted that Musk was “serious” about the buyout when he tweeted about securing funding.

“You will come to learn very soon that this was not fraud, not even close.”

Spiro argued that the rise in Tesla’s stock price after the tweet was due to investors’ faith in Musk’s capabilities and reputation as a visionary.

“Mr. Musk tries to do things that have never been done before. Everyone knows that.”

According to Spiro, Musk and representatives from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia had already discussed taking Tesla private.

“He didn’t plan to tweet this. It was a split-second decision.”

Spiro said Musk used the “wrong words” in a rush to be transparent about the potential deal with the Saudi fund.

Musk is on the witness list for both sides of the case. Porritt told The Associated Press that Musk is expected to take the stand when the trial resumes on Friday, if time permits, or on Monday.


Tesla Vehicles Are Becoming Cheaper, What This Means For The Company 

Tesla has recently cut their prices on some of their top-selling models, including the Model Y SUV and Model 3, by up to 20% across the US and Europe. The changes were revealed on Tesla’s website last Thursday. 

While the vehicles are still relatively expensive, the drop is significant when compared to its previous premium pricing. Many are speculating that these decreases are a sign of Tesla backing away from the months they spend gradually raising the prices of the electric vehicles. 

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Tesla has also experienced the impact of the economy in recent months, missing market estimates for sales last year, shifting its market capitalization from $1 trillion to less than $400 billion, according to reports from Business Insider.

Company owner Elon Musk has recently bought and taken over the popular social media platform Twitter, where he’s made it clear that rising interest rates in general have been taking a toll on the electric vehicle company. 

“Fed needs to cut interest rates immediately, they are massively maplifting the probability of a severe recession,” Musk tweeted in November. 

Interest rate increases have had a major impact on the costs of financing Tesla vehicles, making it even more difficult for consumers to become a Tesla owner. 

Dan Ives, senior equity research analyst at Wedbush Securities, said “it’s no secret that demand for Tesla is starting to see some cracks as a global slowdown of the economy that started in 2022 continues into 2023.”

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“A softening demand for the global EV market is a bigger driver of price cuts than interest rate hikes. When it comes to demand, backlog orders have come down significantly for Tesla, making price cuts is a good way to increase the immediate- and medium-term sales pipeline,” said Simon Moores, CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a price reporting agency for the EV supply chain, to Insider. 

Traditional automakers have also entered the electric vehicle market, providing cheaper alternatives to Tesla, which has dominated the EV market since its launch. 

According to data from an Experian report, from January to September 2022, Tesla accounted for 65.4% of new electric vehicle registrations in the US. This percentage marks a significant decrease from the two previous years: 68.2% in 2021 and 79.4% in 2020. 

The cuts to Tesla pricing will likely welcome more consumers to purchase the vehicles. Ives stated that he estimated the price cuts could definitely increase demand by around 12-15% globally in 2023. 

“This is a clear shot across the bow at European automakers and US stalwarts (GM and Ford) that Tesla is not going to play nice in the sandbox with an EV price war now underway,” he said.


Twitter CEO Elon Musk Makes Drastic Cuts Within Company: Fires Janitorial Staff 

According to a recent report from The New York Times, Twitter CEO tech billionaire Elon Musk has been making drastic cuts within the company ever since he purchased the platform for $44 billion. 

One of the most recent and seemingly random cuts from the company involved firing the entire janitorial staff, as well as forcing employees to bring their own toilet paper to work every day. 

“Early on Christmas Eve, members of the billionaire’s staff flew to Sacramento — the site of one Twitter’s three main computing storage facilities — to disconnect servers that had kept the social network running smoothly,” the NYT reported

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“Some employees were worried that losing those servers could cause problems, but saving money was the priority, according to two people who were familiar with the move but not authorized to talk about it.”

“The data center shutdown was one of many drastic steps Mr. Musk has undertaken to stabilize Twitter’s finances,” said the report. 

“Over the past few weeks, Twitter had stopped paying millions of dollars in rent and services, and Mr. Musk had told his subordinates to renegotiate those agreements or simply end them. 

The company has stopped paying rent at its Seattle office, leading it to face eviction, two people familiar with the matter said. Janitorial and security services have been cut, and in some cases employees have resorted to bringing their own toilet paper to the office.”

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Musk has also made numerous changes to the platform itself within the time he’s been active CEO, many of which have received backlash from users. 

He’s banned several journalists from covering news regarding himself, including reporters who pointed out his hypocrisy in some of the policy decision making. Specifically his choice to ban a user from tracking the movements of his private jet and an account that covers issues at Musk’s company Tesla, which are public reports. 

All of the “bans” have been partially reversed, however, due to the intense backlash from users. 

Reports are also stating that Musk is in the process of looking for a new CEO to run Twitter for him. He stated he would step down from the position once he finds someone “foolish enough” to take on the role. 


Elon Musk Plans Widescale Layoffs Across Twitter

Shortly after assuming control of Twitter, Elon Musk ordered managers to draft a list of employees to be laid off, according to four people who declined to be identified out of fear of retaliation. The company currently employs around 7,500 people.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion and took the company private on Thursday once the deal was completed. He informed investors that he planned to trim its workforce significantly, open the platform to more advertising, and implement lenient content moderation policies.

The layoffs will likely occur before Nov. 1. Employees designated for termination would have received stock grants as part of their compensation on that date. Typically, grants constitute a substantial portion of employee pay. If Musk terminates workers before that date, he may avoid paying out the awards, although the current merger deal requires him to pay the employees in cash in place of stock for “any equity that would have vested within three months from their last day at the company.”

Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, reported that Jared Birchall, head of Musk’s family office, informed him that layoffs were imminent. His company contributed less than $1 million to help finance Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

“I was told to expect somewhere around 50 percent of people will be laid off.”

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Musk arrived at the company’s San Francisco headquarters on Wednesday and assumed control on Thursday, immediately firing several Twitter executives. Chief executive officer Parag Agarwal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, former general counsel Sean Edgett, and former policy and legal executive Vijaya Gadde were among those let go.

It is improbable that Musk will pay the complete severance package of $20 million to $60 million planned for the executives. Musk fired the executives “for cause,” which could render the severance agreement invalid.

He also informed advertisers of his intention to transform Twitter into the “most respected advertising platform in the world.” Musk initially indicated that he wanted the platform to be a haven for “free speech.” However, he has revealed that he intends to organize a council to determine content moderation procedures and has yet to decide which previously banned high-profile accounts, such as former President Donald Trump’s account, will be reinstated. 

He reassured advertisers with a tweet addressed to them that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far-right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”

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The Verge reports that Musk is also considering charging users $20 per month to maintain their blue check mark and verified account status. Musk told some employees that they needed to prepare to implement the new feature by Nov. 7 or they would be fired from their position at Twitter. One employee said Musk utilizes “textbook dictator tactics: sowing fear and confusion.”

Twitter users are concerned that the lack of content moderation could lead to an increase in misinformation and hate speech. On Sunday, Musk himself tweeted a link to a website circulating a baseless conspiracy theory about the Oct. 28 attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. He has since deleted the tweet. Many prominent users, such as New York Times columnist Charles Blow and actress Jameela Jamil, have stated that they will abandon the platform now that Musk owns it.

NBA star LeBron James tweeted about a report by the Network Contagion Research Institute, which showed that racial slurs on the platform increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk’s Twitter acquisition was finalized.

“I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns Twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary. “

Tesla Logo on Trunk

Tesla Drivers Playing Video Games Raises Safety Questions

As cars become more advanced, they offer greater utilities and features. The catch is that some of these upgrades appear to be putting their drivers in harm’s way. According to the New York Times, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into Tesla drivers being able to play video games while in motion after the matter was raised by a complaint.

Tesla drivers being able to play video games on their dashboard touch screen isn’t new. Previously, drivers could play video games if they were stationary. An over-the-air software update released last summer changed that restriction.

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According to The Verge, the Tesla 3 model allows users to play “Sky Force Reloaded,” “Solitaire,” and “The Battle of Polytopia.” The site noted that while the Tesla asks if the user is in motion before playing the game, it doesn’t take any measures to ensure their answer is the correct one. A driver can easily lie and play the game while on the road.

Speaking with the Associated Press, Vince Patton — a retired journalist and Tesla owner who filed the complaint — explained that even if a passenger is playing the game, it can still be distracting to the driver because the game takes up two-thirds of the screen. Patton also said that drivers frequently use the games while their cars are being recharged.

In an email, an NHTSA spokeswoman noted the administration is currently talking with Tesla — though the conversations were not discussed in depth — and that laws prohibit the selling of vehicles with design flaws that can put drivers in danger.

“We are aware of driver concerns and are discussing the feature with the manufacturer. The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with design defects posing unreasonable risks to safety.”

In 2019, 3,142 people were killed due to distracted driving, which was 8.7% of all fatalities. That was a 9.9% increase from 2018.

When it comes to famous pairings, Tesla and safety might not quite be in that group. In June, the Models 3 and Y lost their IIHS “top safety picks plus” designations. Tesla released a “Safety Score” feature as part of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software back in September, which in theory is a way to incentivize and gamify safe driving. The safety score monitors a driver’s braking, turning, how many times a collision warning is activated, and tailgating.

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However, according to Consumer Reports, attempting to avoid “hard brakes” could make drivers fail to make a complete stops for pedestrians or go right through intersections. Tesla stated that data shows the features improves driver safety.

The “self-driving” aspect also poses serious concerns. A Model Y driver filed a complaint with the NHTSA, stating that the vehicle took control, went into the wrong lane, and crashed on Nov. 3 while in FSD mode. Tesla also recalled 12,000 vehicles sold since 2017 last month because of a communication error could have caused an accidental activation of the emergency brakes.

In response to the possible accidents caused by software kinks, Tesla has asked drivers to accept that footage from both inside the car and outside can be used in the event of a crash. The footage collected will be associated with the owner’s vehicle. Electrek suggested that by asking for footage, Tesla is looking for evidence in accidents that would allow them to defend their FSD.


Billionaires Add $1 Trillion To Their Net Worth As Millions Of Their Workers Struggle For Survival 

Throughout the timeline of the pandemic alone, billionaires in the US have collectively increased their net worth by more than $1 trillion. Many of these billionaire’s US workers, on the other hand, have been struggling to deal with unsafe working conditions that leave them susceptible to potential infection, and without hazard pay or any increase in compensation for working in a pandemic, many have been struggling for survival. 

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO and founder, added more than $70 billion to his new worth during the coronavirus pandemic, bringing his total net worth up to $185 billion. Workers at Amazon and Amazon-owned grocery chain Whole Foods have spent a majority of the pandemic protesting against the unsafe working conditions they’re being forced to work in, and the endless pressures from management to keep up with the overwhelming demand. 

Several workers who have participated or led protests at Amazon over working conditions specifically have alleged that they were fired as a result of their efforts to receive basic level safety. Profits and stockholder shares for the company have increased by billions of dollars throughout 2020, however, Amazon only provided a small fraction of those extra earnings in hazard pay and bonuses for workers on the frontline actually risking their lives everyday to further fill Bezos’ pockets. 

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In fact, Amazon ended all hazard pay back in June 2020, and instead has provided workers with sporadic one-time bonuses. On average workers have seen about a 99 cent increase in their paycheck during the pandemic, for comparison, Bezos earns about $11.7 million every single hour. 

“It’s infuriating that we live in fear every day because of minimal efforts to protect us, while executives take in tons of money while sitting safely at home.”

An anonymous employee working for Amazon recently spoke with the media about the conditions, and chose to keep their identity a secret out of fear that they would be left unemployed and with no source of income. “What they considered hazard pay was just for show. We couldn’t see a difference unless we were willing to work almost 60 hours a week. Several of us had no choice because we’re the breadwinners of our family.”

Jessica Oneto was a Whole Foods employee in California who quit in October 2020 partially due to the working conditions management was forcing upon its employees throughout the pandemic. 

“They gave us hazard pay for maybe a couple months. It was only $2 and they literally took it away as the pandemic got worse. One of the biggest companies couldn’t afford to keep it up?”

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Elon Musk, owner of Tesla Motors, earned an additional $140 billion throughout the pandemic, making him the wealthiest person in the world with a total net worth of $195 billion. Workers for Tesla have been subject to multiple factory Covid outbreaks, and unsafe conditions brought on by Musk himself, who defied local shutdown orders by reopening his plants and resuming factory production. 

Musk even went as far as to threaten his employees if they didn’t also defy the state lockdown orders by sending out an email that implied they would lose unemployment benefits if they didn’t show up to work and risk infection. At least two workers were fired for not showing up due to the fact that they were immunocompromised and worried about getting sick. 

“While people in cubicles stay home to work, we can’t do that and we don’t get any hazard pay/ Nothing has changed. Musk can afford to do so much more and he doesn’t. I find it sickening to see how much Elon Musk’s wealth has grown while we take all the risks. All we get is a ‘thank you so much’ email,” said a Tesla employee at the Fremont plant who also asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. 

Another Fremont employee cited ongoing mistreatment toward Black workers at Tesla specifically: “Musk has not once addressed this issue in his workplace or supported Black Lives Matter. No hazard pay or bonus. They gave all regular workers their regular raise, but being that I’m maxed out at my position I didn’t get anything.”

As the old saying goes the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, and this global health crisis has truly exemplified that. The only positive that workers have seen come out of these obscene billionaire wealth increases is how much more it’s being discussed now. The power of social media has created a large conversation over how America specifically runs, and why it allows this handful of white men to hoard so much wealth while millions of Americans are on the brink of complete homelessness.


Elon Musk Will Reopen New York Tesla Factory For Ventilator Production

Elon Musk is known as the billionaire tech entrepreneur who owns electric car company Tesla as well as SpaceX, an outer space satellite-internet providing business.

Self Driving Car

Russian Financial Group ‘Sberbank’ Joins Effort To Create Self-Driving Cars

This week saw the announcement that Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, has agreed to join AI transport developer Cognitive Technology to create a new company, Cognitive Pilot, concentrating on developing driverless technologies. Looking to increase their portfolio of technology and artificial intelligence companies, Sberbank has agreed to a 30% stake of the new company, which aims to develop “digital economy projects in transport, agriculture, computer vision and artificial intelligence.”

Following the signing of a legally binding contract, Cognitive Technologies is now in control of 70% of the new company, yet no financial details have been released ahead of the deal’s completion in December. However this is not the first time that the state-owned Sberbank has entered the Russian digital economy with the organization spending over $1 billion on new companies. The company has recently completed deals with food delivery company Instamart, digital media company Ramber as well as with Mail.Ru after purchasing equity in the internet company.

In the same week as the announcement of the new company, Sberbank had already confirmed their acquisition of an 8% stake in Afipsky oil refinery. Cognitive Pilot is aiming to capitalize on the rapidly growing driverless car market however internet corporation Yandex are currently the market leaders, with the Russian company already testing their technology in several locations including Israel and Moscow. They have also been granted a license to start their testing on American soil in the summer of 2020.

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It has also been confirmed that autonomous delivery robots were also being tested by Yandex. Olga Uskova, the founder of Cognitive Technologies and who will be in charge of the new company confirmed:

“Cutting down the number of road fatalities is one of the challenges of the new century. Saving people’s lives is what drives our team, and our technology level enables us to solve this task even today. It makes us feel like superheroes. The partnership with Sberbank will extend and speed up the use of our systems.”

It is believed that Cognitive Pilot will concentrate on working on ADAS – advanced driver-assistance systems – utilizing a mixture of autonomous control solutions as well as artificial intelligence, primarily for industrial equipment as well as land vehicles. By using solutions from Cognitive Technologies the ADAS’ will benefit from their ability to be able to adapt to all climates and weather thanks to the computer vision ‘relying on deep learning neural networks and millimetre band’ as well as the company’s high reliability.

Lev Khasis, First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Sberbank explains;

“The world is about to face mainstream use of unmanned solutions and we are interested in Sberbank Group and our entire country being in the forefront of this trend. Cognitive Technologies already has products for transport, agriculture and automotive industries that are very popular among both Russian and foreign clients. This year, Sberbank has become the ultimate AI developer in Russia and we are sure that the expertise in unmanned technology will enjoy demand and contribute to the faster development of AI competence in Russia.”

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Yet there are many that still argue whether or not self-driving cars are actually safe. Excitement surrounding driver-less cars has steadily grown since they were first mentioned back in 2004 with the theory that the cars need to not just be safe, but extra safe. Currently there is around 1 death per every 100 million miles driven in the United States – 37,000 people died from road incidents and car accidents in 2017 – so it stands to reason that self driving cars need to be safer than conventional cars currently are. And the companies working on these vehicles confirm that although they will be safer, how much safer nobody can guarantee as yet.

However, the RAND Corporation discovered that if driver-less cars are even just 10% safer than conventional cars they would still save more lives meaning we would not have to wait until they were 80 or 90 per cent safer before we could see them on our roads.

Senior Policy Researcher at research think tank RAND Corporation Marjory Blumenthal observed that “most people say, in a loose manner, that autonomous vehicles should be at least as good as human-driven conventional ones. But we’re having trouble both expressing that in concrete terms and actually making it happen.”

Cognitive Technologies has many high profile clients including Russian Railways and Hyundai Mobis. And thanks to the company developing autonomous control systems for trams, trains and agricultural they can also add Rusagro – a Russian agricultural company – to their growing client list. They also maintain several projects to develop systems for uncontrolled operations of locomotives, trams and agricultural machinery as well as build components for driver-less cars.

Cognitive Technologies have also won an award in the ‘Most Innovative Active Safety or ADAS Technology/Product/Service’ section of Tech.AD Berlin 2019 as well as continuously getting noted at many professional exhibitions and forums, both at home and abroad.

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Unveils Unique, Angular “Cybertruck”

Yesterday, Tesla introduced the newest entry in its line of electric vehicles, the sci-fi inspired “Cybertruck.” With a design resembling no other consumer vehicle on the market, the Cybertruck features a completely angular aesthetic, and Tesla founder Elon Musk described it as inspired by the visuals of Blade Runner. The vehicle’s design came as a surprise to members of the press, as the truck’s appearance was not leaked ahead of the event, an accomplishment for Tesla during a time when technology is frequently leaked to the press before being officially unveiled. While rumors had circulated that Tesla was designing a pickup truck, no one had predicted that it would look so unusual, appearing more like a prop in a science-fiction movie than a real consumer product.

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During Tesla’s press event, the Cybertruck was marketed for its unique and unusual characteristics, and the presenters made it abundantly clear that nothing else like it exists on the market today. The truck has a stainless-steel “ultimate exoskeleton,” as Tesla calls it, and in order to demonstrate the strength of the truck’s exterior, an on-stage presenter hit the truck with a sledgehammer, leaving no visible mark. Musk claimed the truck was “literally bulletproof,” as its exterior is able to withstand shots from a 9mm handgun. Musk also made bold claims about the strength of the glass used in the truck’s windshield and windows, and tried to demonstrate this strength by having someone throw a metal ball at it; however, in a moment that prompted laughter from the audience, the metal ball shattered the drivers’ side window, and then shattered the truck’s rear drivers’ side window when the demonstration was tried again.

Musk has said that he doesn’t care whether people like the design of the truck

The truck has several distinctive features; most strikingly, the design features virtually no curves, instead being shaped by triangles and quadrilaterals. Though the vehicle does not resemble a pickup truck, it features 100 square feet of lockable exterior storage and a payload limit of up to 3,500 pounds. The Cybertruck has an adaptive tire pressure system, allowing drivers to adjust the ride height of the vehicle depending on the situation using a built-in air compressor. Additionally, Tesla advertised an electric ATV, called the “Cyberquad,” which can be stored in the truck’s bed, allowing the truck to recharge the ATV’s battery. Though it appears to be an optional accessory for the Cybertruck, Tesla has not yet announced if and when the Cyberquad will be available for purchase.

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Elon Musk boasted impressive statistics for the truck’s performance, both on the road and off. On-road, the fully-upgraded model of the truck accelerates from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and can drive a quarter mile in 10.8 seconds. And when used off-road, the truck has “the best approach angle, clearance height, and departure angle,” according to Musk. Additionally, the vehicle comes in three battery capacity options, allowing a range of 250 miles, 300 miles, and 500 miles, respectively. The Cybertruck includes Tesla’s autopilot technology as a standard option, with an additional upgrade enabling full self-driving capabilities as soon as the software is authorized for widespread use. The truck starts at $39,900 for the single motor AWD option; other options include dual motor AWD for $49,900 and triple motor AWD for $69,900.

Reactions to the unique truck’s unveiling were predictably mixed. Many were skeptical of the “outlandish” product, with some going so far as to question whether Tesla was “for real.” Others called the vehicle “a niche product at best,” questioning its commercial viability. Journalists had a chance to take a ride in the Cybertruck, which features a starkly minimalistic interior and spacious, comfortable seating. While no one argued that any part of the unveiling was boring, many questioned the practicality of such a vehicle, and suggested that the design was too weird for the product to enjoy mass-market success. Musk has said that he doesn’t care whether people like the design of the truck, and this lack of concern for the general public’s opinion certainly informed the vehicle’s appearance.