How's it working out so far for Tesla Motors?The Tesla Roadster was quite a niche model; only seats for 2, a six-figure price, and limited numbers made (around 2,500 total). But it fit well within Tesla's long-term strategy of starting at the top of the market and progressively going down. This works because a small startup working on new technologies won't be able to make things cheaply anyway (no economies of scale, it can take years to refine processes, etc), so you might as well make something that people will want to pay a lot of money for. An all-electric Lotus-like supercar fits the bill better than a Corolla-like EV or whatever.
Now the Model S is the next step in the strategy. A cheaper (not cheap by any means, but cheaper) EV that will be produced in larger numbers, progressively ramping up Tesla's capabilities and finances so that they can, hopefully, within a few years be able to produce an affordable mass-market EV.
So how's the Model S doing so far?Production is ramping up nicely and the electric sedans seem to be selling well. In fact, so well that despite being more expensive, the Model S should have -- according to Tesla's guidance -- outsold both the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF during the first quarter of 2013.
Indeed, Tesla's latest guidance says that the company expects to be able to report at least 4,750 deliveries of Model S electric sedans in the U.S. and Canada during the first three months of 2013, while the Chevy Volt has hit 4,421 units sold in North-American and the Nissan LEAF 3,695 units (according to numbers released by both GM and Nissan).
Tesla Motors is also expected to announce its first-ever profit during the first quarter of 2013.
The big question is whether Tesla can sustain and grow those sales. They had a lot of pent up demand waiting for production to begin. Once that backlog has been cleared, the next challenge begins. But so far, reception for the Model S has been excellent, so things are looking good.