Tesla's Trillion-Dollar Triumph Turns Media Speculation Upside-Down

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Posted on EVANNEX on November 05, 2021 by Charles Morris

Journalists are fond of speculating about events that may or may not happen, and Tesla has always been one of the prime topics for this sort of “what if?” writing. Over the years, we’ve read many an article about all sorts of hypothetical events, from reasonable surmises to wild fantasy.

Now that Tesla has become one of the world’s largest companies, many of these narratives have been turned on their heads—the company that was seen as the scrappy but vulnerable young startup is now seen as the benign elder statesman, or as the overbearing bully, depending on your viewpoint. It’s amusing to see how some of the fantasy-football scenarios that have been a staple of the chattering class have been overtaken by events.


In the early days, many a pundit (and even some company insiders) predicted that one of the auto majors would acquire Tesla. Now Tesla could easily acquire one or more of them. It won’t, because none of them has anything Tesla would want. Many of the things the legacy automakers have traditionally considered their crown jewels are now increasingly seen as stranded assets.

All those hundreds of auto brands—Buick, Pontiac, Opel, Vauxhall, et al? They’re a useless waste of resources that carmakers have kept alive for decades because silly auto buyers are “loyal” to a particular brand, and the companies that own them fear losing market share. Dealership networks? They’re a vestige of the 20th century—car buyers hate them, and Tesla has never wanted anything to do with them. Existing factories? They’re already obsolete. To incorporate the latest production advances and maximize efficiency, Tesla builds new factories from the ground up. It has zero interest in refurbishing any old auto plants.


A few years ago, a wave of new EVs from the legacy brands were touted as “Tesla-killers.” However, there was no murder—more like a botched assault attempt. Nothing to see here, folks. To continue the cop-show metaphor, this looks like one of those cases in which the intended victim grabbed the perp’s gun and turned the tables.

Tesla’s vehicles have been outselling gas-burners in their respective classes for years, and of late it’s become downright embarrassing for the German luxury brands. As for the prime murder suspects, they’re innocent: the Jaguar I-Pace sold 16,457 units in 2020; the Audi e-tron sold 47,324; Tesla doesn’t break down sales by individual models, but it delivered 499,550 vehicles in 2020.


Tesla skeptics have long harped on the fact that the US government bailed out the young company with a $456-million-dollar loan (they seldom mention the fact that Tesla repaid the loan nine years early, with interest). Now the UN has its hand out to Elon Musk, asking him to pony up a few billion to help address global hunger (he should).

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