Advertisement

"The motor industry has destroyed bigger men than Elon Musk"

Despite the hype surrounding Tesla, Mike Rutherford wonders if the American electric car manufacturer's bubble is about to burst

Workshy he isn’t. Tesla’s Elon Musk started earning aged 12, was a multi-millionaire by his twenties, and is now the $12 billion man. Few folk are genuinely able to claim entrepreneur, inventor, engineer and explorer status. Musk can. Still only 45, he’s already seen and done a bit.

If Musk ain’t the motor industry man of the decade, who is? If his firm isn’t the hottest new, mainstream (just!) car company out there, which one is hotter? And as for customer satisfaction, our latest Driver Power survey proves that nobody keeps the clients more content than Tesla.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Driver Power 2016 - the results

Yet despite these and other positives, something troubles me about the man and his built-from-scratch electric car company. Of all the industries in the world, why he’s opted to enter the car manufacturing game, which is one of the oldest, cruellest, and most troublesome? The days of making decent profits from churning out cars are long gone. And in view of the billions they invest for decade after decade, even the ‘wealthiest’ outfits like VW and Toyota operate on surprisingly small margins.

In short, for new-tech entrepreneurs like Musk, there are far easier ways to earn a shilling. True, he’s hardly the archetypal old-school motor industry boss, as he clearly has little or zero interest in traditional petrol and diesel vehicles. But he still had to spend billions up front on factory land, manufacturing plants, energy bills (they’re crippling car manufacturers) and much more. And by betting the farm on electric vehicle tech which has been around for scores of decades, is his Tesla company really THAT different from his motor industry establishment rival firms? Maybe not. Also, I have it on good authority that NO companies make money from electric car production. So why go to all the time, hassle and expense, Elon?

Tesla Model S review

Headlines around the world have lately mentioned a ‘crisis’ for Tesla. Consumer experts in the US have massively backtracked on their initial ringing endorsement of Tesla products. Sales targets have been missed in the second quarter of this year. And at the end of last month, the Tesla Autopilot system achieved embarrassing worldwide coverage with a driver fatality. Has the bubble burst? Nobody knows. But the cruel truth is that the notoriously brutal motor industry has, in the past, destroyed bigger men than Elon Musk… and better known firms than Tesla.

What do you think the future holds for Tesla? Let us know in the comments below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020
'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'
News

'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'

Just because premium brands can offer cheap finance deals, it doesn't mean that they can fob buyers off with poor customer service, says Deputy editor…
15 Apr 2020
“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”
News

“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”

Mike Rutherford thinks the motor industry can still do more to help provide life-saving medical kit
12 Apr 2020
‘What better than a thumbs-up from an existing owner?’
News

‘What better than a thumbs-up from an existing owner?’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler gives his view on our 2020 Driver Power survey, and is especially pleased by Kia's success
8 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New Land Rover Defender Hard Top van opens for business
News

New Land Rover Defender Hard Top van opens for business

The Defender Hard Top is the commercial version of Land Rover’s new Defender with a load carrying rear end.
30 Jun 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates
Volkswagen Tiguan

New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates

The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan adds plug-in hybrid power and a hot 316bhp ‘R’ model to the SUV’s line-up
30 Jun 2020
New Audi Q5 facelift means fresh looks inside and out plus extra tech
Audi Q5

New Audi Q5 facelift means fresh looks inside and out plus extra tech

The updated Audi Q5 features a range of styling and technology tweaks, including a smaller radiator grille and a larger infotainment system
29 Jun 2020