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5-for-5: Five things to make sure Tesla is still here in five years

5-for-5: Five things to make sure Tesla is still here in five years

Owners have a vested interest in making sure Tesla is still around in five years, so it can’t hurt to solicit advice from forum members. Here’s my top five:

1) Accelerate Model-Y (MY) launch. Retool Fremont so it can alternate runs between M3 and MY by YE 2019. Competition is here and it’s in SUVs (Audi Etron, Jaguar I-PACE, more coming). Consumer preference for SUVs over sedans has been a trend for years, so make up for lost time – Q3 2020 is too late. The factory retool is challenging but nothing compared to previous obstacles.
2) Stop bashing metal altogether. What is Tesla better at: Design and Engineering or Manufacturing? The world already has a good auto assembly outsourcing company, it’s called Magna. Strike a deal and move on. Think Apple-Foxconn. Europe is a good place to start.
3) JV with CarMax. Not having a dealer network is a competitive advantage (no middle man cutting into margins), but people want to see and test-drive cars before buying. Expand the trade-in relationship with CarMax to include space for limited inventory and personnel time to arrange test-drives without appointment; can be vehicle delivery point as well. Sales would still be online but make kiosks available.
4) Don’t alienate early adopters. These are your easiest source of future sales (multiple sales to existing customers and referrals). But the pricing changes are maddening, with early adopters penalized for stepping-up. Personally, I was caught in the M3P trap buying before the October 2018 price drop (without reprieve as I missed the secret deadline).
5) Match Supercharger and car volume growth. There are already some overcrowding issues but this could become overwhelming as M3 (+MY) volumes grow in the U.S. This could be a PR nightmare as drivers hit the highways over summer, which could scare off new buyers. One fix is to have Tesla charging trailers with multiple ports parked temporarily at key congestion points.

TeslaTap.com | 30 mei 2019

I agree with your attitude! A couple of comments though...

#2 - That sounds really expensive and would seriously delay rollouts in direct conflict with #1.

#3 - Tesla already has stores where in most states you can see and test drive. Not sure how adding $2-5K to the price of each car is helpful (or taking less margin) by going through a dealer helps Tesla's long term goals.

#4 - Never felt alienated, but understand the point. Dealers shift pricing on a per customer basis every day, but the transactions are opaque - I prefer the Tesla model where everyone at a specific time gets the same price.

#5 - They have been doing this from the start. They also have portable Superchargers they install on occasion when the buildout is not as fast as needed. I've seen/used them at Harris Ranch before they expanded from about 8 to 17 stalls. System wide they have over 12,800 SC stalls. I don't think there is a competitor yet that has even 1% of what Tesla provides today.

Tesla-David | 30 mei 2019

I agree with @TeslaTap's points. I am also a long term adopter (2012) who has never felt alienated by Tesla. I for one love the Tesla model, and would never agree to go to a dealership model. Tesla is so very far ahead in so many ways, and will continue to innovate and improve as they have done from the start.

deallaw | 30 mei 2019

Great points TeslaTap. My main thought is Tesla is capital-constrained but well-ahead on design, engineering and branding. So they're better off playing to their strengths.

Outsourcing assembly is not an all-or-nothing decision. Magna already has assembly plants for Mercedes, Porsche and others. So maybe they could help foot the bill for a new factory in Europe.

I definitely don't think Tesla should move to a dealer model. I'm thinking of something more like leasing space and covering some overhead at a place like CarMax as Tesla winds down the stores. CarMax (or some other used car chain) is not a direct competitor and Tesla has an existing relationship for trade-ins.

Glad to hear Tesla is already up and running with portable SuperChargers. It makes a lot of sense and adds flexibility as they grow the network.

TeslaTap.com | 30 mei 2019

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla already uses Magna. As vertically organized as Tesla is, they still have hundreds (thousands?) of suppliers. Making a car is not for the faint of heart :)

This supplier chart from 2016 X provides a sampling of what Tesla buys: https://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA10076284.PDF