‘Tesla killers’ aren’t killing Tesla at all

Business

At least a few executives at major automakers have indicated that electric cars are the way of the future, and several of them are making big bets on battery-powered vehicles.

But at least in the United States, the market seems to belong almost entirely to Tesla.

The California carmaker’s Model 3 midsize sedan far outstripped sales of any other competitor in 2019. The next best-selling model that year was the Chevrolet Bolt, which sold a mere 16,000.

The success of both Tesla cars, and Tesla shares, have baffled many in the automotive industry, who point to the company’s small size; precarious financial history; and repeated struggles with manufacturing delays; and customer complaints about long waits for orders and difficulty obtaining parts and service.

Meanwhile established automakers with brands that play at practically every price point and in every segment have been promising and slowly releasing their own stabs at a viable electric vehicle. But none have so far proven to be Tesla killers.

A slew of new models are scheduled for release starting in early 2020, and many are starting to offer specs competitive with what buyers can find on Tesla models. For example, Ford’s Mach-E Mustang electric crossover promises 300 miles of range in one configuration, close to the 322 miles on the long range version of the Model 3 sedan.

But relatively few buyers in the United States seem interested in battery electrics, and industry watchers think many buyers are early adopters buying Teslas out of an interest in the brand or an interest in cutting edge technology, rather than out of an interest in owning an electric car.

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