Elon Musk, chief executive of highly successful Tesla Motors Inc., is aiming to increase the carmaker’s United States volume of 20,000 units in 2013 to around 250,000 units by 2020 (500,000 globally). That goal, however, is faced with obstacles – something that Musk has candidly admitted in an exclusive interview with Automotive News.
"We have a lot of work to do," Musk said. To be able to achieve the target volumes, Tesla has to transform itself from an automotive boutique to a volume carmaker. Likewise, Tesla has to convince mainstream consumer to put their trust on electric-car technology. It also has to finance a vehicle platform that could underpin several variants as well as expand its sales and service capacity considerably.
The carmaker also needs to scale up its production output by a factor of 20. "That's a lot different than what he (Musk) is doing in niche volumes right now," a veteran executive for Detroit 3 and Japanese carmakers told Automotive News.
Top executives told Automotive News that they are concerned that Tesla’s ambitions may exceed its abilities. "To go from 2,000 to 20,000 units is already pretty impressive," an executive at a German brand told Automotive News. "Now the question is how strong do you need to be to continue telling that story, to move from 20,000 to 200,000?"