Tesla is facing one of the most important moments in its history. A hinge between his past and his future that will decide his future. So far, she has not encountered a context like the one we are experiencing in 2023. Is Tesla getting old or is it just a perception?
like churros. Elon Musk found a formula to sell his electric cars to an increasingly massive audience: sell Tesla like hotcakes. They are basic principles of economy of scale. The greater the number of units, the lower the fixed costs, those that will be there whether or not cars are produced.
“The buyer can choose the color he prefers for his Ford T, as long as it is black.” It is the phrase that is awarded to Henry Ford and that is claimed to be the reason why the vast majority of these cars were black. Fact or fiction, the phrase exemplifies a way of acting. The same that other manufacturers have had to follow in times of crisis.
A machine. And although all the Ford Ts were not black, their production as the beginning of the mass automobile has always been used as an example. It is estimated that more than 15 million units were sold in the first quarter of the 20th century. And it achieved it by significantly reducing its price thanks to the chain assembly.
Tesla has his hopes pinned on a very similar method. His Gigapress is a machine capable of producing large parts for his vehicles at a rate never seen before. In fact, the firm has managed to get a Tesla Model Y out of the assembly line of its factory in Shanghai every 40 seconds. The competition is above 54 seconds.
Although 14 seconds may seem short, this means that in what Volkswagen makes a car, Tesla is finishing third. It is estimated that Tesla only needs 10 hours to produce one unit, while Volkswagen has to wait 30 hours to see it roll off its assembly line. And because time is money, Tesla earns six times more per unit sold than its rivals.
We return to the churros. The Gigapress has allowed Tesla to achieve its production record in one year. And although it is far from its rivals, its growth rate is very high and they continue to hold their own as the best-selling electric cars in the world.
Part of the secret is that between his Tesla Model S (his first great mass model) and his Tesla Model Y, going through the Model 3 and the Model X, the differences are minimal. Churros or porras. Cars of different sizes but, in essence, they are really similar. Clean shapes, slightly curved and easy to assemble to ensure that the units at the end of the quarter number in the hundreds of thousands.
this repeats me. And, as with churros, Tesla’s shapes are liked. They like it a lot. But they also repeat. Therein lies part of his success and his failure. The company has gambled everything for everything to assemble the same bodywork for many years. Success or failure will only be known after long enough.
Guillermo García Alfonsín explains it well in his Tesla Model Y test. In economic terms, this way of acting is ideal, but the public is used to generations of cars that change every seven or eight years, with an intermediate facelift. Will the market get tired of always seeing the same car?
Tesla has to fight against trends and play “to be different”. His bodywork is one of his main brand values. When someone sees a Tesla, they know immediately that they are looking at a Tesla. Adrian Clarke, professional car designer, defines the aesthetic of El Confidencial as “insipidly attractive”.
An advantage. But a car brand lives not only from timeless designs. Tesla will have to continue offering alternatives to its future customers and, for now, it is succeeding. Tesla’s customer experience is very good. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons that causes the polarity of the general public towards the brand. For many: either you hate it or you love it.
The company has achieved this by making its buyers believe that Tesla has been and is the best option to get an electric car. They have one of the best (or the best) management of your battery charge. It has a support network (on the road and at the destination) that provides a plus to its customers and no one can match its charging experience: stop, plug in and forget about the payment (which will be passed automatically). For some, banal details. For others, a reason that justifies their purchase.
A stagnant technology? And, along with recharging, the other great incentive to buy a Tesla: its Autopilot. Its driver assistance system is one of the best performers and one that I certainly praised during the Tesla Model Y test. However, it is a technology that Tesla seems to be shooting itself in the foot with.
The company aspires for autonomous driving to be a lifeline in the future, a space where it can get ahead of its rivals. And while the competition is far away for the most part, more and more cars are coming close to performing well. Why doesn’t it seem like they’re moving forward?
El hype. Let’s say, better, expectations. Promises, promises and more promises. A review of a newspaper library that compiles Elon Musk’s promises is to verify that the company has rarely met deadlines. Not only that: they have had to retrace their steps on numerous occasions.
US regulators have their eyes on the brand, which they have already warned that they play a fine line with misleading advertising. Demonstrated a few days ago that, on occasions, they have gone directly to misleading advertising. And yes, there have been enough advances for Tesla to have dared to put sensors and radars aside and bet everything on its cameras, but the continuous missteps have ended up undermining its image.
The difficult thing is not to arrive. Whether Tesla becomes one of the reference brands and manages to establish itself over time is something that remains to be seen. outdated? My personal feeling is that the company has a problem: Elon Musk. Its top manager is extreme and visceral for everything. For better and for worse.
An irreverent character can get you great fame and a supersonic rise. But he can also pop a swollen bubble himself. Settling in is usually synonymous with adapting to the system and keeping a low profile. If Tesla seems outdated, it is undoubtedly due to the lightness of the promises made. If Tesla appears to be the savior of the automotive manufacturer, it is undoubtedly due to the lightness of the promises made. Time will tell.
Photos | Tesla