Tesla Sales On Track To Match Ford Model T (w/video)


“Check out the striking relationship between the sales trajectories of Elon Musk’s Tesla and Henry Ford’s early Model T. It’s enough to give hope to the dreamers.”

States Bloomberg.

Here’s the sales trajectory comparison slide from the video below.

Bloomberg Slide Comparing Tesla Sales To Ford Model T

Bloomberg Slide Comparing Tesla Sales To Ford Model T

Sources: Bloomberg, TeslaMondo, Hat tip to sven!

Category: Tesla

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28 responses to "Tesla Sales On Track To Match Ford Model T (w/video)"
  1. ffbj says:

    Humans tend to find or see patterns in everything, often it is a boon, but sometimes a bane. This chart comparison means very little since in all other other aspects aside from being disruptive, these vehicles, the Model T and Model S are not comparable. One is a high end luxury vehicle with limited clientele, the other was designed to be an affordable car for the masses.
    To paraphrase Edwin Star: Chart, what on earth’s it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again.

    1. goodbyegascar says:

      I think the more appropriate comparison would be the historically significant 1912 Cadillac.

      It was a high-end car equipped with a battery and an electric starter motor, eliminating the need for motorists to hand-crank their engines. The electric starter made gasoline engines practical, and was soon adopted by all makes of automobile (including the Ford Model T).

      Tesla’s drivetrain will be just as influential. And the Model S is just for starters…

      1. RexxSee says:

        This chart is good for absolutely nothing, because Ford had many other models before the mega hit Model T.
        The chart with only Model 3 at 500k will be only the beginning since there is now a much more large market for cars then a century ago. The chart from 2017 to 2025 would show an exponential curve reaching millions of sales of Model 3 beginning from 2020… If all go as planned…
        Or maybe the real take off will be with Model 4 or 5 the Corolla of The Teslas at 20,000$ with 500 miles range.
        And maybe as Ford’s Model T, the price will be reduced even more as critical mass of productions are reached.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Well said.

          The model which Tesla hopes will reach Ford Model T levels of sales is the Model ≡, not the Model S. And that’s definitely counting chickens before they’re hatched. The Model ≡ hasn’t even been developed yet, let alone started selling.

          We can certainly hope that the Model ≡ will sell as well as Tesla plans. But nobody knows how it will actually play out.

      2. ffbj says:

        Yeah, that seems much more realistic to me regarding a comparison.

      3. You do realise this graph in no way specified Model S, right? It just said ‘Tesla Sales’.

        Your objection that comparing a luxury high end car to a mass market affordable one is null and void, because Musk’s 2020 goal is primarily based around the Model 3, his upcoming ‘mass market’ vehicle.

        Why do people always forget about the Model 3 and assume Tesla is only going to ever cater to the rich?

      1. Mike777 says:

        BAMB! POW!
        Geometric Growth curves are the Norm for New Technology.

  2. Murrysville EV says:

    That is striking.

    But a major difference will be this: Tesla’s sales volume will soon be comprised of three models – S, X, and 3, while Ford’s Model T achieved that with just one car.

    1. Brian says:

      I’m really interested in seeing what happens early/mid 2017 when details on the 3 come out.

    2. sven says:

      Also, the population of the U.S. was many times smaller than it is today, and the road and highway infrastructure is many times greater today than it was back then.

      1. ggpa says:

        Yes, thanks for listing the differences.

        And if you are looking for something constant from then to now: fuel cell cars are just as stupid now as they were back then.

  3. Brian says:

    With the MS and MX selling around 100k max per year they are going to really need to ramp up the M3 quick when it comes out late 2017. 200k+ The first full year sounds like a pretty tall order for a brand new car with ramp up stages.

  4. turbonium959 says:

    I don’t want to be a party pooper, but this is total “apple sauce” of optimism from Tesla. Yes, the Gigafactory for batteries is being build now. However, where is Tesla going to be building these 500K cars in 2020? I am sure there is some expansion room available in the Freemont plant, but it will not do 500K Teslas alone.

    1. “Nummi once employed 5,500 union autoworkers and had the capacity to turn out half a million gas-powered autos each year.” From http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Tesla-reopens-Fremont-s-former-Nummi-plant-3248263.php

      Better Tesla Build Model S, X, and 3 there than turn it into a Stadium for the Oakland A’s: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a5514/4350856/

      1. Also – From Wikipedia – “According to Tesla Motors’ plans, the plant would first be used to produce the Tesla Model S sedan with “future vehicles” following in the coming years. The plant was projected to produce 20,000 vehicles a year and employ 1,000 workers to start.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NUMMI

        Of Course – Just because Toyota did it [make a half million cars a year], I suppose that does not Guarantee Tesla Motors Can, but I don’t see the Plant itself as a limitation – Maybe Suppliers won’t ramp up at the right pace to keep up to Elon’s Goals?

        1. Tech01x says:

          Tesla has said many times that they expect to build 500,000 or so vehicles in Fremont. They’ve already also established other locations nearby, like the Lanthrop facility.

    2. goodbyegascar says:

      Tesla’s Freemont factory is the former GM/Toyota NUUMI factory, designed to build a maximum of 600,000 cars per year.

  5. Roy_H says:

    The car was introduced with a price tag of $850. The Model T later sold for as little as $260, because Ford passed along the savings from his production innovations.

    Factoring in inflation the equivalent prices today would be about $27k and $8300. If someone was to bring out a new car today for $8300 it would indeed be a revolution. I suppose it could be done but it wouldn’t meet safety standards and no features.

    1. Maybe Elio Prices: “Its price tag is equally bite-size: $6,800.” – http://grist.org/list/elio-three-wheeled-car-84-mpg/

      “Elio Motors’ US$6,800, tandem seat, 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) American-made three-wheeler.”

      “With checks cashed, Elios’ three-wheeled, 84-mpg commuter car aims for 2016 production”

      Equally unique – as the model T was Cheap, the Elio changes the shape of the Vehicle paradigm, while Tesla Changes its Drive Train and Performance [In a car that could be a Bentley, Jaguar, or MB Styling]!

    2. Tech01x says:

      Another way to look at the price tag is to look at the average salary in the U.S. in 1908, sans farm labor which is $564. So a Model T was 150% the average salary. The Average wage index in 2012 was $44,321.67 according to the social security administration. So 150% of that is $66,482.

      So the Model S in 2012 was about as affordable as the Model T was in 1908.

  6. PVH says:

    It is good for the Tesla narrative, that is the most important as this is what matters more than the rest for the time being.

  7. twscrap says:

    Too early to call. If it mirrors for another two years, however…

  8. Anon says:

    I like the comparison: Horseless Carriage vs Autonomous Car.

  9. jstack6 says:

    you can also get a Tesla in any color and options they have in their standard package. Don’t slow up the line with special options or orders.

  10. Terry says:

    Yes there can be some similarity. At that time everyone was used to horse and buggy. Now everyone is used to a gas guzzler. Just like the model T. Once automotive got sales it improved. Example is automatic starting. Once batteries are improved and maybe 500 miles a charge or quick change of batteries the EV will take over in sedans. It does not take long when people figure out where a large chunk of money goes in 5 yrs. Gas guzzlers are costly.

  11. kubel says:

    Won’t happen. Tesla will not be able to produce an EV at Nissan LEAF pricing before 2020.

    1. RexxSee says:

      I suggest you read his biography…you will change your mind…