Other Automaker Execs Still Don’t See Tesla As A Threat

Tesla Model 3

JUL 22 2017 BY EVANNEX 29

Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 – Serial Number 0001


Recently, another group of auto industry executives decided to brush off any notion that Elon Musk and company could pose a threat to their brand. Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess saidWe see Volkswagen as the company that can stop Tesla, because we have abilities Tesla doesn’t have today.” 

In response to Tesla’s Model 3, Toyota’s North American CEO sniffed: “At gas at less than $2 a gallon, no [I’m not worried]… I think [the Model 3] is going to be great but today less than half of one percent of the industry are pure electric vehicles.”


The Model S & BMW i8 Are Both Amazing Plug-In Cars, But Entirely Different Machines

These industry executives are joining a chorus of others in the auto biz who’ve made it a habit of throwing shade at Tesla. When asked about Elon Musk, it appears many of these execs have copped a bit of an attitude. The incisive (and always cheeky) website, TeslaMondo, has been keeping track of these remarks over the years. Here are a few examples that showcase the defensive (and sometimes laughable) posture from the industry when it comes to the Silicon Valley electric automaker.

On July 31, 2013, Audi actually issued a press release on its website (quickly taken down) titled, “Not so fast to put Tesla on that particular pedestal.”

On April 6, 2014 Mercedes Benz USA boss Steve Cannon said: “Folks are buying a Tesla now because they’re kind of cool, but if you’re a Tesla buyer, you have to have multiple cars,” Cannon told Forbes, adding that he felt the infrastructure necessary to maintain and fuel electric cars wouldn’t stand up to mass demand. “With Mercedes, you have a whole network. You’ve got no worries.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

Audi Tesla

Audi trolls Musk on one of their billboards by calling their own not-yet-released electric concept car “Musk-Have”

On April 2014, Chinese automotive giant BYD’s CEO Wang Chuanfu said: “BYD could make a Tesla as soon as consumer demand for electric cars really takes off.”

On July 2, 2014, Brian Smith, Lexus VP remarked: “They’ll probably come back [to Lexus],” he noted, referring to Lexus customers who’ve defected to Tesla. “I think the question remains to be seen how many people will buy a second Tesla.”

On May 5, 2015, Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said: “I cannot say anything about Tesla,” he said. “I don’t know anything about Tesla.”

Above: BMW runs an ad targeted at Model 3 reservation holders waiting to take delivery of their new car (Source: iSpot.tv)

On Aug. 20, 2015, When asked about Tesla’s top performance mode, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said: “We don’t do Ludicrous because [Tesla’s] Ludicrous speed is stupid.”

On April 27, 2016, When asked about Tesla’s Autopilot, Volvo engineer Trent Victor said: “It gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is,” also calling it a “wannabe.” Later, on June 11, 2016, his boss, Dr. Peter Mertens declares about Autopilot: ”It’s trying to kill me.”

On April 2016, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne: “If he [Tesla’s Elon Musk] can show me that it can be done, I will do it as well, copy him, add Italian style to it and put it on the market within 12 months.”

Nissan LEAF

Nissan also ran an ad for its LEAF taking a shot at the wait time for Model 3 (Image: TeslaMondo)

On Oct. 31, 2016, Carlos Ghosn CEO of Renault/Nissan said: “I know the media love to say we have a new superman [Elon Musk] coming here, and it’s going to make all of you look like dinosaurs. But, frankly, the likelihood that this is going to happen in our industry, in my opinion, is very limited.”

On October of 2016, former vice chair of GM Bob Lutz said: “I just don’t see anything about Tesla that gives me any confidence that that business can survive.”

On January 2017, during Chevy Bolt’s launch event, GM’s CEO Mary Barra said: “Unlike some EV customers, Bolt customers don’t have to drive to another state to buy or service an EV” — a direct swipe at Tesla’s fight in many states to sell direct and service its customers.

Above: Ford’s former CEO, Mark Fields, dances around the question when asked about Elon Musk and the electric automaker (Youtube: Wall Street Journal)

However, to be fair, some executives have given Musk and company kudos. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller finally came around and admitted, “We have great respect for Tesla… They are the only one who have brought an electric vehicle on the market that you have to take seriously.” Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chairman acknowledged, “Tesla is a successful electric automotive company… [but] we want to be No. 1 by [the] latest 2025 in the electric premium segment.” And BMW just used Musk as its posterboy to inspire their staff to get moving on electric vehicles.


Source: TeslaMondo

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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29 Comments on "Other Automaker Execs Still Don’t See Tesla As A Threat"

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“On April 2016, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne: “If he [Tesla’s Elon Musk] can show me that it can be done, I will do it as well, copy him, add Italian style to it and put it on the market within 12 months.” ”

If i could step on this cockroach i would! It says alot about the innovation “drive” they have there.

Reminds me of one of those “famous things they never said”, an anonymous quote mis-attributed to Mahatma Ghandi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

I still find that Audi ad reading “Musk-Have” to be very strange. Do they really want people to think “Musk-Have, Audi does not”??

It’s all False Advertising to confuse the masses..They’re comparing a Stupid Hybrid “drive Now” To the Tesla Full Electrics…
Potatoes & Apples..And.,Musk-Have = Vaporware, Just a Photo.
..These People Make Me,. l m a o..

Until Tesla produces 300,000 cars per year, they are not a threat. Many car companies produce that many of one model.

Alternate title for the article: “Other auto maker execs pretend that they think Tesla is not a threat.” Certainly they know Tesla is way ahead of them, and that the future of internal combustion is bleak.

They could be in the dark.
Not until you’ve actually driven a Torquey, Super-Quiet EV do you know what it’s all about.

I worked at Chrysler, and I can tell you definitively, the are absolutly in denial. The big three at least are dominated by OLD SCHOOL car guys. They think muscle cars are the way to go.

Yea, Like that “BIG OLD WASHED UP GOOFY F00L” from the so called BIG 3’s , That is always Flapping his gums with Negative BS about Full Electric Cars and how Musk is Losing money on every Unit..

“Alternate title for the article: ‘Other auto maker execs pretend that they think Tesla is not a threat’.”

Yup, that’s the way I see it too. Other auto makers saying they’re not worried about Tesla… Sounds like whistling past the graveyard to me!

Now this website has pop up ads?! Are you guys frickng kidding me! Stop this crazy aggressive ads before you lose your readers.

Hey Mark,

It should not – ever. We are also having an issue with a rogue ad (one that performs outside of the way it is supposed to) affecting mobile today. If you wouldn’t mind, if you see this ad (or anyone else), could you take a screenshot and send it to:


It is sometime hard to isolate the spot (as they can be regional or targeted), so if you/anyone sees it and passes it along, we can remove it from the rotation forever. Sometimes ad spot buyers attempt to alter the function/display of the advertisement against what is contracted…and we have to hunt them down like the dogs they are and remove them. Unfortunate relative of the business…sorry for the inconvenience.


Hi Jay,
It was one of thoese “Congratulation, you won an ipad!” Ad that blocked the screen on my ipad. I had to close the web window to get rid of it. Glad to hear it’s something you guys don’t support.

Definitely is not. We not support/allow any kind offorced pop-ups like that…with that said, sometimes bad advertisers sneak through code and we have to root them out.

We are trying to replicate now…will keep working until we find it, (=

So that was the issue. Never saw an ad. Just crashed my browser every time I tried to load the site. But in general the site performance is taking a hit lately. Even on the full website not mobile. Dial back a bit and the 3 dozen ads that load

We isolated the issue that was causing the a slowdown (and some times a lock-up) for the site for quite some time – especially on mobile, very, very late last night. One of the ad providers had allowed an ad to go through that looked ok, but was attempting a redirect, that the site was protesting against.

Needless to say, that has been removed and solved a lot of those issues just today.

The pop-up we “believe” we also have isolated this morning, but we are still stress-testing it…as it only populated about 1 in every 5,000 impressions or so (which is what makes troubleshooting a bad ad tricky), so we don’t want to declare that one defeated just yet.

With that said, if you browse on mobile, there is only 3 – 3rd party ads on a story article, which is not a lot (we do have some EVSE supplier ads, but they aren’t “3rd party served”, they are direct from IEV and are no different than us showing a picture or logo). The desktop has more 3rd party ads – but still two fewer ads than it did last year. IEV has never been leaner for ad spots.

“On January 2017, during Chevy Bolt’s launch event, GM’s CEO Mary Barra said: “Unlike some EV customers, Bolt customers don’t have to drive to another state to buy an EV”
Well, GM lobbies to keep the bans on direct sales, but as of now, Bolt is still sold in less states than Tesla vehicles…

Also, people DO Have to drive to other States, particularly for Sales, to Buy a Bolt EV!

All the other car companies are bums

And no one cares what bums have to say

Tesla had NO intentions Of Posing a threat to anyone PERIOD !! TESLA Opened and offered their Patents “FREE” for the taking to anyone who wanted to use them in order to speed up Clean Vehicle Technology and get more CLEAN EV’s On the road Quicker …These Bums Accusing Tesla of what They “ARE NOT” and never intended to be are beginning to realize that they should have Gotten off their Ignorant Butts & get with the Program Long Ago …They Are Their own Threats & Their Own WORST ENEMIES….

The OCC (Other Car Companies) will continue to act this way right up to the moment when they have to announce the EV they’ve been developing in secret for the prior 2 or 3 years.

I guarantee everyone here that there is a deep division of opinion within these companies. There are always younger, more technically astute people who see where things are going better than the older people at the top of the org chart. I’ve seen it first hand (as one of the younger people, I note), and it almost never turns out well for the old guard.

Yes, Because they’ve reached their comfort zone and hate change. They have become near sighted with old age and are now in their comfortable Denial Zone with their primitive ways thinking and they do not want to accept innovation unless they are the innovators. That Boat Has Sailed , For Them !

Here is the ironic part:

Tesla is not the threat.

The legacy car makers that think in terms of ‘stopping tesla’ are a threat to themselves.

Because they lack the initiative and risk taking attitude it takes to actually make something people want. And with that I don’t mean invest millions into superbowl commercial to shape what people want and make them need SUVs to be happy.

If VW and others would actually engage with tesla on the charging network, and build their own cars capable of charging on it, and help with the buildout, all would benefit.

If their thought would not be ‘how can we stop people from getting good cars from tesla’ but rather ‘how can we provide good cars to the people ourselves’ then things would be different.

It’s not rocket science and it is not a secret, Musk laid it out early on, it takes battery factories and mass production. It’s not like they have a patent on that, everybody can do it if they have the will to change cash flows to make it happen.

Noooo, traditional car makers are not endangered by Tesla. They are endangered by themselves. German major car makers VW, Daimler and BMW are supposed to have cartel agreements, also on Diesel emissions. As if the recent betraying of VW had not been enough.

“Trust comes on foot, and goes on horseback.”
A German car maker CEO

VW: “We see Volkswagen as the company that can stop Tesla, because we have abilities Tesla doesn’t have today.”
Yes, like perpetrating the most colossal fraud on the motoring public of the entire planet and bribing enough politicians sufficiently well for years to get away with it.

I know this is an EV sight, but what real advantage does Tesla have? They have a name that has value. But, there is nothing stopping other automakers from building charging infrastructure and battery plants. And both could be built in two years or less. I imagine GM would just do a joint venture with LG like their Brownstown plant. And for infrastructure they would throw money at one of the existing providers to fill in gaps between cities/states. Outside off those two things the old car guys have more experience and capability.

This is not a zero sum game where the winner takes all and ends in a couple of years.

Where to begin…. What real advantage does Apple have? There is nothing stopping others from building cell phone factories. How come they’re the most valuable company on this planet? You underestimate the value of the Tesla brand and their iconic CEO. Why would people otherwise stand in line for hours to put down a $ 1000 deposit on something they’ve never seen? This has never occurred before in the automotive business. There is nothing stopping other automakers from building charging infrastructure? Yes there is: a petrified mindset. They are still stuck in the business model they have known for more than a century: “we provide the ride, someone else provides the juice”. The cultural inertia is almost unbreakable. There is nothing stopping other automakers from building battery factories? Yes there is: risk-averse shareholders. These large automakers are considered safe havens for your money. Stable, guaranteed dividends, etc. Throwing around billions on adventures that might or might not pay off is what they hate. A gigafactory-sized battery plant (that’s what you need to play against Tesla) can be built in two years or less? Where is your data? How long have Tesla an Panasonic been working in Nevada? Mind you, Panasonic… Read more »

Bob Lutz has become such an idiot it almost hurts.

Porsche and Volvo now show signs of getting it.

And I couldn’t care less what happens to GM, Ford, and Fiat/Chrysler.

More than 20 years after the EV1 and car makers are starting to move a bit.

I was on Sardinia in Italy last week on holiday driving my Tesla from Denmark and back 2800 miles easy thanks to the Supercharger network. I Heard “Tesla” a hundred times driving by. Perhaps Fiat does not like it, but the Italians sure did ?