Tesla: how Elon Musk brought his electric cars to the top of sales

Quarter after quarter, sales of electrified cars never stop rising. According to a study just published by German analyst Matthias Schmidt, 546,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars were sold in Western Europe in the first three months of the year. It’s a little over every fifth new car! On the podium of the most purchased rechargeable models, we find in first place Model 3 and in second place Model Y. A full box for Elon Musk’s Tesla. Better, all engines combined, the Model 3 was the best-selling car in Europe in March, ahead of the Peugeot 208 and Model Y, which even outperformed the Volkswagen Golf. A true Copernican revolution.

Historic manufacturers that have long laughed at comparing Teslas to improved lawn mowers now have to laugh … funny. “The performance is remarkable, even if it has to be qualified, because it comes at a time when the new market has fallen sharply (-20% compared to March 2021),” points out Jean-Pierre Corniou, specialist in the automotive sector at Sia Partners. to the international context, between the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, has led many buyers to turn to the second-hand market to limit their spending “. The now Texan manufacturer is also doing better because it has been able to anticipate the shortage of semiconductors by building solid stocks and adapting its software when most of its competitors have had to stop their production lines repeatedly due to lack of electronic chips. .

Nearly one million Teslas sold in 2021

This does not detract from Tesla’s performance. While the brand was close to leaving the road in 2018 – and its boss burned out – in the face of the difficult rise of the Model 3, it sold nearly a million of its small electric cars in 2021 (+ 87% compared to 2020). Above all, after years of abysmal losses, Tesla made a profit of $ 5.5 billion, to a turnover of $ 54 billion. Or an operating margin of 12.1% in 2021, which rose to 19% in the first quarter of 2022. Enough to drive Tesla among the most profitable manufacturers on the car planet. Unique profitability can be explained both by extremely advanced integration (the manufacturer goes so far as to manufacture its own seats) and the sale of its vehicles directly, on the Internet and in its own dealer network.

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A simple appetizer if we are to believe the billionaire of South African descent who has just gotten his fingers in the social network Twitter. He, who is also head of Space X, Neuralink and The Boring Company, ensures that he can reach 10 million copies sold annually in the medium term and 20 million within ten years. That’s double what the market leader, Toyota, manages to sell today! A disproportionate goal, as always with the richest man on the planet, but not delusions, as Tesla has just inaugurated two new Gigafactorys in Berlin, Germany, and Austin, Texas. Two units in addition to those in Fremont, California and Shanghai, China. They should each be able to produce 500,000 vehicles a year. An increase in power, which will especially involve securing the rare metals that are essential for battery chemistry (cobalt, lithium and nickel).

The producer also announced on Tuesday, May 10, that it had signed a long-term commercial agreement with the Brazilian mining group Vale, which undertakes to supply it with nickel extracted from its Canadian mines. The latter has an annual production capacity of 75,000 tons. In recent months, Tesla has multiplied partnerships of this type to get out of the battery industry’s dangerous dependence on rare metals under Chinese domination.

After cars, Tesla humanoid robots

Nothing and no one seems to be able to stop Tesla’s powerful acceleration … except Tesla itself. “If Musk is still a few years ahead of its competitors in terms of its vehicles’ ability to pull more power and range from its engines, it looks like it’s having a hard time solving its reliability issues,” points out Jean-Pierre Corniou Alone in 2021, all generations combined, 475,000 Teslas were recalled to dealers due to poor workmanship, it’s huge! ” serious accidents.

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Last issue to date, overheating the central screen can lead to significant malfunctions. 130,000 vehicles manufactured in 2021 and 2022 have just been recalled. A detail for Elon Musk, who is already projecting himself into his new Tesla Bot project, since renamed Optimus. A human robot presented last summer as a kind of daily assistant serving workers in factories as well as the families of the future. The first copy was to be unveiled at the end of the year, and the billionaire says he is convinced that in the long run it will bring in more money for Tesla than selling cars. Of course, we are not obligated to take Musk at his word. But the man has already on many occasions demonstrated that his statements must always be taken seriously.


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