Editor’s Note: Below is a repost from TeslaMondo that is followed by excerpts from an EV Annex post that further builds on the topic (as the title says, the topic = crazy anti-Tesla quotes from non-Tesla auto company execs).
Last fall, Count Carlos over at Nissan surveyed his moat and laughed at the notion of an invasion. “I know the media love to say we have a new superman coming here, and it’s going to make all of you look like dinosaurs. But frankly, the likelihood that this is going to happen in our industry, in my opinion, is very limited.”
Well, now, Toyota’s Jim Lentz is proclaiming much the same thing from the walls of his castle. Here’s what he just told The Street:
“At gas at less than $2 a gallon, no [I’m not worried]. I think [the Model 3] is going to be great but today less than half of one percent of the industry are pure electric vehicles.” Lentz is also fond of Volvo’s move to compete with Tesla and offer an electric version on its portfolio of cars. “I think it’s a good move on their part,” Lentz added. “I think [Volvo] sells about 100,000 [vehicles] here in the U.S, – we sell about 2.5 million here in the U.S. When you have a much smaller portfolio of product, it allows you to concentrate in a much smaller niche of the marketplace.”
Cheap gas, eh Jim? Don’t get TeslaMondo started on this subject. Cheap gas is obviously not a hindrance for Tesla, because it primarily sells excitement. Lentz is grasping.
The “N” word, eh Jim? If Lentz is unaware of the Model III’s niche-busting order bank, he’s aloof. If he’s pretending to be unaware, that’s even worse. And if he’s never heard of the Prius, the biggest automotive niche-buster of all time, then The Street must have interviewed a Jim Lentz clone from another planet.
Let’s contrast Nissan’s and Toyota’s hand-wave with BMW’s recent alarmism. The company showed its employees a horror film of sorts, with Musk as the monster — an attempt to shock them out of complacency.
The odds are very high that behind their fortified castle doors, Toyota and Nissan are NOT in a state of blissful myopia. They’re every bit as rattled as BMW and hear the same scratching at their windows. Nissan resorted to tapping people on the shoulder — people waiting in line for a Model III — and trying to sell them a Leaf. BMW did the same.
Toyota should try it too. It’s losing a lot of would-be Prius customers, at least, to the Model III. TeslaMondo talks to car buyers every day, so don’t attempt to argue. The brand new plug-in Prius Prime, billed as the most advanced Prius ever, isn’t moving the needle whatsoever. According to Edmunds.com, it has $3,000 on the hood in some markets, same as the lame duck, soon-to-be-replaced, all-but-forgotten 2017 Camry.
Via EV Annex, by Matt Pressman:
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess [recently] said, “We see Volkswagen as the company that can stop Tesla, because we have abilities Tesla doesn’t have today.” …
On April 6, 2014 Mercedes-Benz USA boss Steve Cannon said: “Folks are buying a Tesla now because they’re kind of cool, but if you’re a Tesla buyer, you have to have multiple cars,” Cannon told Forbes, adding that he felt the infrastructure necessary to maintain and fuel electric cars wouldn’t stand up to mass demand. “With Mercedes, you have a whole network. You’ve got no worries.” …
On July 2, 2014, Brian Smith, Lexus VP remarked: “They’ll probably come back [to Lexus],” referring to Lexus customers who’ve defected to Tesla. “I think the question remains to be seen how many people will buy a second Tesla.”
On May 5, 2015, Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said: “I cannot say anything about Tesla,” he said. “I don’t know anything about Tesla.”
On Aug. 20, 2015, When asked about Tesla’s top performance mode, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said: “We don’t do Ludicrous because [Tesla’s] Ludicrous speed is stupid.”
On April 27, 2016, When asked about Tesla’s Autopilot, Volvo engineer Trent Victor said: “It gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is,” also calling it a “wannabe.” Later, on June 11, 2016, his boss, Dr. Peter Mertens, declares about Autopilot: ”It’s trying to kill me.”
On April 2016, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne: “If he [Tesla’s Elon Musk] can show me that it can be done, I will do it as well, copy him, add Italian style to it and put it on the market within 12 months.” …
On October of 2016, former vice chair of GM Bob Lutz said: “I just don’t see anything about Tesla that gives me any confidence that that business can survive.”
On January 2017, during Chevy Bolt’s launch event, GM’s CEO Mary Barra said: “Unlike some EV customers, Bolt customers don’t have to drive to another state to buy or service an EV” — a direct swipe at Tesla’s fight in many states to sell direct and service its customers.
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