Tesla's anomaly result in NZ of 1088 units in September last year got me thinking. Firstly, its not really an anomaly; a surprise, a massive result, and a cause for deep reflection, for sure. That Tesla became the best selling passenger car AND passenger vehicle is a stunning result locally for the brand. Yes the overall market was curtailed with lock down. But these were the same conditions for everyone. Many have called it an anomaly. The first time it happens it is. But then I remember the first month they outsold Mercedes-Benz C, Audi A4 A5 and BMW 3 and 4. That was an anomaly too.
Tesla's climb up through the sales charts is impressive. This was the first new from the ground up brand that has entered the local market in more than thirty years. Telsa is only 15 years old. Its looking like a tough competitor and the EV brand to beat. After all, it leads almost every market it competes in (if it doesnt lead then it is number 2). Two thirds of all BEV sold in the USA are Tesla. Scratch deeper though and there are interesting kinks in Tesla's armour.
Have you seen a new Tesla Model X recently? Thought not. What about a new Model S - in the flesh? Thought not. Model 3 killed both of these, and to be fair, while Model S remains a tour de force, for a large luxury sedan its pretty old (the oldest in the segment).
In fact all three models compete in minor segments here. Large sedan, medium sedan and people mover (although X could and is often called an SUV). Which is why there are kinks in their armour.
The upcoming Model Y (a huge seller globally) isn't really an SUV; its more of a hatch. Where are the Tesla models to compete in the three largest NZ segments? A small SUV, a medium SUV and a ute? Cybertruck always felt like a spoiler to Rivian for us at Boost Auto. It is unconventional and unlikely to be able to be sold in many markets, because it either won't meet crash regulations or it is too large. US full size trucks might sell well in the US, but they don't sell well globally. A mid-size would have a wider appeal.
Let's assume that Tesla misses its planned 2022 launch date for Cybertruck. Next car to be developed is the small Tesla. If it's a car, Tesla has mis-judged the market, just as they did with Model X.
Their battery tech remains class leading as does their giga-press technology (when it has ramped up). However you can't sell what customers dont want. When there is a choice of SUVs from competitors (despite that tap being turned on very slowly), Tesla's market share will slip.
Perhaps 2022 will be the final year of Tesla's dominance of the global EV market, as Toyota and VW (the world's largest two manufactures) outpace the world's most valuable car maker.
Whether the kink will be exploited however remains to be seen. One thing is certain, Tesla never stand still, and they always surprise.