Will Tesla ever become the largest car company in the United States?

Porsche is a major auto manufacturer, yes? Back in 2014 I saw a press release from Porsche crowing about their sales rate, about 200,000 cars per year worldwide. At the time Tesla was selling about 25,000 cars a year but had plans to grow that a lot. I wrote a post in May 2014 asking when Tesla would be outselling Porsche, and what would be the significance.

Yesterday I revisited the post, and found that .... Tesla no longer a boutique car maker, is outselling major manufacturers like Porsche

Porsche has had a good sales record the last few years, with 8 years of successive sales records. In 2017 they sold about 246,000 cars worldwide, and about 55,420 in North America.

So far in 2018 Tesla has sold 84,127 cars in the USA - 55,882 were Tesla Model 3's. Going by August 2018 sales, the 17,800 Model 3's sold by Tesla that month annualizes to over 200,000 cars per year. Presumably Tesla will keep growing Model 3 sales for awhile, for example they plan to install some new machines at Gigafactory 1 that will ramp up the manufacturing rate and lower the cost for batteries to $100/kWh. That last move is supposed to enable Tesla to finally begin sales of the $35,000 Model 3, and possibly bring Tesla's manufacturing to over 400,000 cars per year - in 2019.

So far in 2018, Tesla sold 14,645 Model S's and 13,600 Model X's in the USA, which annualizes to 42,367 of both in the USA. Ergo, Tesla is close to outselling Porsche in North America/USA just from the Model S and Model X lines.

Shortly Tesla is extremely likely to be selling twice as many cars as Porsche. Today they are on the cusp of outselling Porsche, and Tesla is quickly climbing the ranks of automakers.

To get into the top 20 automakers Tesla would have to be selling 1 million cars per year. To be the largest would require selling over 10 million a year.

In January 2015, Elon Musk suggested in an interview that by 2025 Tesla would be selling a "few million" cars per year. No details, just a broad brush stroke. Assuming that means 5 million, it's more than Honda sells.

To get there Tesla would require 10 or more car factories - they're apparently looking for a factory location in China right now - and maybe as many battery factories. That of course requires a heck of a lot of investment dollars from somewhere.

I don't have enough confidence to say YES ... but the trend line is there for Tesla to be one of the big five automakers within a decade?


Will Tesla ever become the largest car company in the United States?

As battery cost drop ev's will become the same cost or cheaper than IC cars to buy - along with greater performance and lower operating costs

Sometime soon - 2025?? - Everybody will prefer an ev

Tesla is in the process of tooling up to make the millions of ev's that will be required

None of the other US car manufacturers have started that process yet!

The investment required is huge - billions or tens of billions of dollars

I just don't see any of the US car manufacturers making that investment in time


It depends what you mean by largest. In terms of market capitalization, Tesla has pulled ahead of GM before to get there. In terms of the number of vehicles produced, it will be a long time before that can be determined.


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