Why Elon Musk is beginning to wake up the German automakers

Tesla's Elon Musk is capturing the attention of Germany's finest in the auto sector. Der Spiegel reports on Tesla's agility (and creative) management of the chip crisis. "At Tesla, speed and flexibility appear to trump all else. If need be, Musk relocates individual steps in the production process to other countries. It has almost become a standard practice for the American carmaker," reports DS. 

Above: Tesla's Elon Musk (Flickr: Ministério das Comunicações)

In addition, "Tesla treats its service technicians as an extension of its factories," says one person who has known the company for years. And another argues that this has also played a key role in the California-based company’s success.

The result? It's reported, "Tesla has so far managed to fare much better than its competitors... The California company saw sales growth of almost 90 percent in 2021, compared to a decline of 2 percent at Daimler and 3 percent at the VW Group in Germany compared to their already weak previous year."

Furthermore, "As competitors like Volkswagen groaned under the burden of the global chip shortage, the California electric vehicle manufacturer recorded strong growth. The company’s stock market value rose to a dizzying $1.23 trillion (1.09 trillion euros), putting Tesla’s market capitalization higher than that of Toyota, VW, Daimler, General Motors, BMW and Ford combined."

"VW CEO Herbert Diess has repeatedly praised the Californians for their expertise," reports DS. "In contrast to Tesla, the traditional carmakers are relying on strong technology partners [instead]. VW, for example, is working with Israeli software specialist Mobileye." 

Are Germany's automakers already using an outdated playbook that Tesla abandoned long ago?

It turns out that before bringing it's Autopilot efforts in-house, Tesla had once worked with the Israeli firm years ago. However, "Musk fell out with Mobileye," reports DS. Yet, "Mobileye wants to have robot taxis roving through Munich as early as this year."


Source: Der Spiegel