In The Truth About Cars, Jack Baruth wrote last October:
“There are only two American cars with any sales volume whatsoever in Europe — those cars being the Ford Mustang and the Tesla Model S. … Tesla is a legitimate presence, doing about 15,000 sales per year in Britain and the Continent combined. In fact, the Model S outsold the Mercedes-Benz S-Class across Western Europe in 2015.
“If Tesla didn’t exist, if the Great Accounting for which every TSLA skeptic devoutly wishes were to occur and the firm were to be wiped into receivership, then every one of those sales would go to the German luxury automakers. But they aren’t. They’re going to an American car built by an American company on American soil. I realize many TTAC readers consider themselves to be Citizens Of The Flat World, arrogantly dismissive of any pretense to national or local interest while at the same time blissfully ignorant of the nationalist and local protections that have enabled their own little economic niches to avoid competition with overseas providers (lawyers, doctors, and Wall Street types, I’m looking at you), but for the rest of us, Tesla’s American heritage genuinely matters.
“You might say that General Motors and Ford are going to build better, more reliable, and more thoroughly developed electric cars than Tesla can, and you’re probably right. But the world doesn’t want an electric Cadillac or Lincoln for the same reasons it doesn’t want gasoline-powered Cadillacs or Lincolns. The world sees Tesla as an aspirational, upscale brand with unstoppable momentum, and it wants to purchase Tesla products.
“Without Tesla, the electric future is almost certainly going to be a sort of Poland-in-1939, divided equally between the Chinese generics on the low end and the German name brands on the high. The proles will commute in a Changjiang/Dongfeng/whatever and the top ten percent will have a Benz or Bimmer. Nobody else is going to have enough momentum to beat the fact that the Chinese own the means of production and the Germans own the valuable brands. It’s sad but true. GM and Ford could easily go the way of Curtis-Mathes, Magnavox, and all those other invincible-looking electronics brands of the Sixties and Seventies.
“It’s obvious, therefore, that we need Tesla. This is a brand-conscious era and Tesla is the only desirable American electric car brand. Period, point blank.”