Tesla Withdraws From 2016 NAIAS

DEC 4 2015 BY JAY COLE 58

Over the course of a year we attend a lot of auto shows, and most of the top sellers of EVs are represented at near all of them, with the exception of Tesla – sometimes they are there, sometimes not.   It is hit and miss.

Wait? Tesla Won't Show Because Of Product Launch Schedule? What About Showing The US Northeast The Tesla Model X?

The Tesla Model X Was Anticipated To Be One Of The Main Attractions At The NAIAS In Detroit This Year

Last year, Tesla was at the “big” US show held each year in Detroit, the NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) to show off the new P85D/85D, and was scheduled to appear again this year – we had assumed to now introduce the Model X to the US north.

However, NAIAS spokesperson Max Mauncey has told Automotive News, that Tesla has just decided to back out of the show for this year.

Officially, the reason given was that the timing of new product launches didn’t snyc up with the show dates, which kick off in the second week of January.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate things that can happen when automakers’ product cycles don’t align” with the timing of the show,”  said Mauncey to Auto News

The ‘timing of new products’ infers the official debut of the Tesla Model 3 in March, still we find it a curious decision given that show goers (and potential customers) would have been anxious to see a production version of the Model X in the flesh, and possibly get a live demonstration of those Falcon doors.

Instead Of Elon Musk And The Tesla Model X, Detroit Gets Aston Martin And The 1,000 HP RapidE

Instead Of Elon Musk And The Tesla Model X, Detroit Gets Aston Martin And The 1,000 HP RapidE

Aston Martin Rapide EV To Become 800 -1,000 HP Electric Supercar In 2017

Aston Martin Rapide EV To Become 800 -1,000 HP Electric Supercar In 2017

And while normally the story would end there, it is interesting who jumped at the chance to take over one of the empty booths vacated by the trio of Tesla, Bentley and MINI  (as event planners say this year’s NAIAS is “jam packed” and they would need a second COBO center to accommodate everyone)Aston Martin.

New Aston Martin CEO (and former 2nd in command at Nissan) Andy Palmer has been quite vocal about his luxury brand’s switch to luxury electric supercars this year – so we expect to see his 1,000 HP RapidE in attendance in lieu of seeing the Model S and X.  Aston Martin has promised to deliver the car before the end of 2017.

We should also note there is some history between Mr. Palmer and Tesla, as the CEO has taken time to swipe at Tesla; specifically the ludicrous nature of having a ludicrous button, and the Tesla Model S sedan’s inability to perform well on the track – something he promises his EVs will be able to do.

Andy Palmer Tweets Some Smack

Andy Palmer Tweets Some Smack

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58 Comments on "Tesla Withdraws From 2016 NAIAS"

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I wonder how much it would have cost Tesla to appear at NAIAS. The combination of people’s salaries and show fees probably adds up. And sure, potential customers will be there, but how many extra sales will Tesla score in 2016 if they showed up to NAIAS? I’m guessing zero. They will sell as many S / X ‘s as they can build regardless.

When the Model III ramps up, I expect Tesla to be a regular at far more auto shows. If they really want to sell 500,000 cars / year, they need to present themselves as on par with the big dogs.

When it comes to BEV…Tesla is the “big dog”.

Yes, of course. But when it comes to autoshows, EVs are an afterthought. Have you been to a show lately? I went to NYIAS and EVs had their cozy little corral in the back corner. Downstairs. They literally built a fence around the EVs.

This statement made me LOL. Envisioned a bunch of prairie dogs just wanting a chance to be free.

I remember when Tesla drove their Roadster to the Detroit auto show a few years back. They stopped in Phoenix and we got to see them and say hello. I was very impressed.

At the Detroit end they drove though snow and slush with no problem. That was much more impressive then all the gas cars getting trucked in to that show.

Tesla have been sold out of every model since they started. Just wait for my model 3 in March 2016 for a firm order. Then I can plan to turn in my 15 SOUL EV and 13 Focus EV.

I remember seeing the articles – that was great – why don’t they do that every year that they have a new model/version?

I wonder if Tesla tried to have its own car show in the state of Michigan if the state (and governor Rick Synder) would block the show?

Tesla can’t sell or even open a service center to service Tesla cars in state of Michigan, so why show them in the state of Michigan? Could this be a reason?

Does Tesla need the show more than the show needs Tesla? Or does the show need Tesla more than Tesla needs the show?

At this time, I would say the show needs Tesla more than Tesla needs the show.

Tesla doesn’t advertise. Do auto companies expense car shows as an advertising expense?

>>Tesla can’t sell or even open a service center to service Tesla cars in state of Michigan, so why show them in the state of Michigan? Could this be a reason?


If that is the reason, Tesla would have gotten more mileage out of it by saying that is the reason.

Actually I think Tesla should have kept the booth and used it to display a large sign “Made in the USA. Banned in Michigan.”

Five stars for that comment! * * * * *

I really can’t fathom this move. Sure – Tesla is “west coast”, and not well thought-of in Detroit – Sure, Michigan’s paid-off-by-NADA politicians have scrubbed Tesla from selling and servicing their cars in that state…

But… Showing up at the North American International Auto Show is important. Not only is it a part of the country where exposure of Teslas is “in your face”, but it’s also a message to this bastion of the North American auto business – that Tesla is coming.

I’m puzzled by this. If I were Musk, I’d have two booths there. I’d have the flashiest display ever – with multimedia – and periodic pop-up EV seminars. I’d even take “diplomatic” jabs at the N.A.D.A. and state dealer associations that prohibit direct sales.

To me – this is disturbing. With only 13 hand-built Founders Model X in owner’s hands, this may speak of bigger, deeper problems in Fremont than we want to hear.

Large shows like this are inordinately expensive–can easily run hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given that Tesla is not lacking media coverage, I would say this is a good prioritization of spending. Besides, everyone is going to cover the Model 3 reveal two months later and no one will care if Tesla was at the NAIAS or not.


Remember when ‘Banned in Boston’ actually was a selling point? I think Tesla was snubbed by Detroit and turn about is fair play.
Tesla to Detroit:
We don’t want you we don’t need you we are self-contained.

@Ed: Perfect!

Regardless of whether Tesla can open stores in Michigan or not, people in Michigan can and do buy Teslas online. NAIAS was a bonus for them as it was the one week of the year they could show their cars to Michigan buyers without needing their own showroom. The costs of attending may not have made sense versus the number of sales generated, but it was always nice to see their presence and they’ll be missed this year.


Sometimes Tesla doesn’t participate in auto shows because they are not invited. Most are hosted by auto dealer associations. I was even prohibited from showing my privately owned Model S in my hometown of San Diego because the local dealer association said “no thanks”.

Tesla also prefers to go it alone and be the star of their own show. When you compare the impressive level of glitz proffered by any of the major automakers, who spend tens of millions of dollars on their booths, with Tesla’s classy but very modest presentation, its easy to see why.

True but that doesn’t apply to NIAIS.

Can Tesla sell vehicles at NAIAS without a dealers license in MI?

Note: Model X production is all pre-sold for 2016 MY. Think Tesla is going heads down and purely focused on Model Ξ development as well as getting Model X up to full production speed.

There nothing stopping Tesla doing special X events at its own showrooms across the U.S. in spring 2016. Doing so would likely attract a better target group, generating a higher number of order transactions from an equivalent number of visitors.

Good points. Tesla got upstaged in the last NAIS when GM pulled a rabbit out of their hat with the surprise reveal of the Bolt.

Detroit is big automaker turf, and they aren’t going to sit back and let Tesla steal their show by any means.

Good point about the Bolt. Since Speidbilde’s drone shots of the unwrapped Bolt have ruined GM’s big CES surprise – and Tesla is under big pressure now to reveal at least a concept of Model III, things are heating up for that $35,000 200-mile BEV arena. While Tesla is plainly struggling in Fremont to get even a few Model Xs out the door – it’s a rough time for the electric car champion. Just listen to Elon at the Paris environmental conference – sharing how he at first gave Tesla a less-than-10% chance of succeeding. Tesla is not out of the woods. In fact, the hill is getting steeper to climb. GM flexes it’s huge muscles just a tiny bit with a mere 30,000 Bolts out to dealers in 2017, and that places a whole lot of pressure on Tesla to answer. I said a year ago that it would be awful if that small decision to put Falcon Wing doors on Model X could bring down the entire company – and it still appears that this indeed could still be a possibility. I don’t believe everything I hear, but when Musk tweets that “small” details on the production line,… Read more »

I’m curious if the Bolt spyshots weren’t actually intentional leaks by GM….nice way to drum up a lot of free press….it was plastered all over the car websites.

Interesting theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla pulled a stunt like that. Do you think that GM is that clever?

Have you seen the Bolt? If You’re interested in an electric car, I think you’re going to wait and see what the model 3 looks like.

Reads like money problems.

If there’s anything it’s more like additional X production delay (which would cause money problems).

If Tesla isn’t going to be able to get the ramp going by the time of the show, then they’d have a lot of negatives around having the X at the show..

What could be causing the production delays? I’m thinking the X has Tesla between a rock and a hard spot – they have had a backlog of orders, but there are rumors that new orders coming in have hit a wall. The production line for the X has got to be a big expense. If they make the commitment, get things up and running to cover the backlog after which demand slows to a trickle, it could be fatal. But if they do see the X as a doomed dud with not much future beyond the backlogged orders, and as a result they cancel the X outright, they would be risking the loss of their reputation… and everything could come crashing down. If the X is indeed a death wish either way they go, if I were Elon, I’d come clean – cancel the X entirely and give honest reasons for doing it, offer either a full refund to all who have put up $$, or a transfer of their funds over to the Model 3 plus an additional $1500 credit/discount. Sure, this seems to be impossible, but that is exactly what makes Elon Musk as attractive a personality as… Read more »

The model X delays have been and continue to be the falcon wing doors. The latest info from Musk is they’re having issues with the door seals … meaning the falcon wing door seals. In older interviews, Musk stated the doors required a large amount of testing (on inclines, in weather, in overhead environments, etc.) that wasn’t anticipated.

Agreed. NAIAS is huge for marketing purposes. Seems crazy for Tesla to not attend and show off the newly released Model X.

Is it time to short TSLA now?

If you want to short, you’ll have to figure out at what point X production problems will really bite into confidence.

You’re always welcome to sell shares you don’t have. So far it has done wonders to those that do 🙂

Yes, as in wondering, what the heck was I thinking. To elucidate the comment further, you don’t actually own the shares you sell short, you borrow them, in hopes they go down then you buy them at a lower price, paying less for the borrowed shares and that is where you make your money. The difference between where you borrowed them at and where you closed out the short is your profit.

Of course if the shares rise you can get caught in a ‘short squeeze’, as the price of the stock keeps rising as traders who were ‘caught short’ scramble to limit the damage.

Specifically on Tesla at $280 I would sell at $180 I would buy. But playing with Tesla is playing with fire, and we all know what happens when you play with fire. Ya get burnt!

I’m sure that’s part of it. They don’t want to spend money on the show if they don’t have anything to show, it’s better to skip it in that case. Their order books are already overflowing so that’s not any reason to participate.

Lol, par for the course. A Model X has not shown up at the Detroit Auto Show for the last 3 years now.

And rightly so. They should concentrate on the Model 3 and spend every penny and second on the Model 3. Tesla is production restricted and does not need advertising. It can hardly keep up with demand. Now can anyone think what will demand be like when the Model 3 comes out?

Are you sure that Tesla is production restricted? The battery shortage has been over for a while. If Tesla is production restricted, then they have bad production engineering and made some bad decisions. Other automakers like Toyota can build several different models from the same platform on the same production line. It gives the automakers flexibility to adjust production rates for each model as demand changes over time. If Tesla can’t assemble Model S cars on the recently completed second production line, then it’s a very costly decision as long as that second production line remains idle while Tesla works out the problems delaying the Model X. The second production line continues to be amortized (expensed) while it isn’t generating any revenue. This will negatively effect Tesla’s income statement as not Model X’s or S’s are being built on the second production line of offset the line’s fixed costs. How many shifts are working on the first production line in Freemont, and how many days a week is the that line producing cars? When Tesla started building the Model S, the factory workers worked 10-hour shifts, instead of the traditional 8-hour shifts of UAW autoworkers. I’m not sure if they… Read more »
I don’t really know what you want say Sven! The bottom line is that if you start from zero and want to produce a lot of cars, or anything for that matter, then you will have a ramp up period. This ramp will be the bottle neck if your product is demanded more than you can produce it. Once you calculate and do some critical path analysis then things get smother. Toyota and the like had the same problem when they started. Now they have factories that are not producing cars because no one wants to buy them. This will get worse as time goes by. In the case of Tesla they will have the exact opposite problem. demand will be by far more than supply. It is a critical balance trying to put new robots depending on your cash flow and the amount of money that you initially had. I am sure that the Tesla boys are doing their best and are preparing themselves for a huge demand once the model 3 kicks in. If you think that they didn’t think of that a long time ago then I will tell you that when they bought this factory every… Read more »

For the cost of the NAIAS show, they can probably build 4 Superchargers.

This. NAIAS is just not necessary for Tesla. They can get thousands of people – most importantly, real prospective buyers with cash in hand – to show up for any event they care to hold. The press will fawn over it. The Internet will obsess over every detail. Why go to an expensive show in a state that blocks them from selling their product and from servicing their product? Better to spend that money elsewhere like Superchargers.

I hope they come to the Toronto show in February!

“…they would need a second COBO center to accommodate everyone…”

Bull. Cobo Hall has two floors — something most people don’t know, because it’s difficult to get downstairs. They usually put second-tier car companies or other exhibits downstairs.

Could be timing. Could be that they won’t have Model X production ramped up in time for the show. Doesn’t really matter. Tesla seems to do pretty well without dealers and I have a feeling they’ll continue to do well without making it to every auto show.

Tesla only has 2 models, the S and X. what else is there to “Show”?

Tesla doesn’t follow the same script that the legacy OEMs does.

Tesla is the most successful builder of EVs in NA period, something some of the detractors posting on Inside EVs are having a hard time accepting.

They have sold considerably more EVs then 2nd place Nissan and what matters now is they are concentrating on the upcoming Model 3 for a March initial unveiling.

Get Real said:

“They [Tesla] have sold considerably more EVs then 2nd place Nissan…”

Well, if you look at only North American sales, and only for 2015. Otherwise, not so much.

Still, I think it’s a remarkable achievement that the two-and-a-third-times as expensive Tesla Model S has sold more than the Leaf this year in NA, even if it’s at least partly due to potential Leaf buyers holding off until the new, longer-range Leaf appears.

Sorry left out more Evs sold in NA in 2015, see here:

It does look bad if GM shows up with a flashy display of Bolt, when there is no Model III – even a concept – in sight.

Tesla still struggling away in Fremont, trying to insure a quality Model X is able to roll out it’s doors to preorder holders….Phew….GM is proving that turning up the heat on Tesla is something they can do without breaking a sweat.

There’s lots of reasons Tesla won’t be there. None of them good.

NAIA is for oil addicts and gas guzzlers.

Actually they have had whole areas dedicated to only EVs. And they also provided test drives of EVs in the basement of Cobo Hall. With no emissions, you can run the cars indoors.

Actually James it is really a win for Tesla and all of us for GM to show up with a flashy Bolt. This because it was Elon Musk’s intention all along to force the laggard OEMs into producing compelling EVs.

It is no surprise that a massive corporation like GM can produce such a vehicle. What is a surprise is that an upstart like Tesla was able to force them into doing so.

And as far as the whole world goes, the Model S is doing very well against the competition.

In any case, the vast majority of resources at relatively small Tesla (that are not already producing MS’s and soon MX’s) are now focused on designing, building and launching the Model 3 and the Gigafactory that makes it possible to build EVs by the hundreds of thousands.

+1 on GetReal 🙂

I am a mostly happy VW e-Golf driver (of course Tesla Model S or X would be making me more happy) and love the movement that Tesla started. The real dynamics will happen if enough people (not just tesla) will ask for the carbon tax to replace the EV tax that the NAIA types pushed through in some states.

They don’t want to be compared with Faraday Future at this show.

Oh snap!

Seems like a big mistake to me, regardless.

Why bother to show anything for 2016 since their Model X is all sold out for the model 2016 year…

So, no need to show anything for 2016. =)

Come back in 2017 for Model 3.