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Economist article 031916: "Tesla's mass marketing ambitions"

Discussion in 'News' started by EVger, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. EVger

    EVger Member

    Aug 17, 2013
  2. dauger

    dauger Member

    Jan 21, 2014
    Huntington Beach, CA, USA
    Since The Economist is all about what will happen, let's do that for Tesla. What if this article was written this way?

    On March 31, the reveal of Model 3 will be the first culmination of the dream of Tesla Motors' founders and leaders. No more will its critics be able to say Tesla does not offer a practical electric car targeted at the mass market. The momentum of this company cannot be stopped, except perhaps in an unforced error by its own management. That is the sole remaining risk, one of execution. But wasn't this also true of Amazon in the 1990's, of Apple in 2001 when it's late leader introduced the iPod, followed by the iTunes music store and so on? The rest is history for Amazon and Apple, and Tesla's dance today is much like those heady years of those tech giants' aggressive past.

    Demand for Model S and X already outstrips supply (30,000 Model X reservations and counting), so, by applying the same formula to its distinct submarket, it's likely Model 3, on its own terms, will be a commercial success like its brethren.

    But that goal isn't ambitious enough for Tesla, whose leadership sets sights on the impact on the larger car market the Model 3 will have. Chevy Bolt is one such me-too response, targeted differently but likely in a way complementary with Model 3, hence that is not a problem. (Incidentally, the Bolt echoes the first Android phone that followed a couple years after the then-expensive first-generation iPhone.) But the other incumbents are lumbering towards long-range EVs like a distant destiny, with Audi and Porsche offering 200-mile EVs, surely at luxury prices, at least a half-decade off having no idea what it is like supporting an EV fleet, and BMW and Nissan glacially incrementing their electric range (120 miles, maybe, after several years on?). Still others look away (Toyota).

    While every Model 3 to exist will sell before they're made, all but a few incumbents move only by government mandate, like cattle repeatedly zapped with electric-tipped prods. Incumbents' reluctance creates the impression on carbuyers that the EV choice isn't important, despite Tesla's calls that it is. Tesla's battle is not just of competition for car sales; it wants to capture the public's hearts and minds too. Tesla hopes to inspire the public to demand practical EVs from all carmakers, not just Tesla. So far Tesla has clearly spoken in its actions. Who is listening? How many are choosing not to listen? Tesla is on its way to building a lot of cars; will it be able to build a de facto grass-roots campaign that can do any more than prod the cattle? Once practical mass-market EVs have a toehold, will market forces be strong enough to reward winners and punish losers enough to make real change?
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