We love the Tesla on TreeHugger and devote many pixels to it; in our newsletter we even have a column for our hero Elon and his antics, The Daily Musk. (Don’t get our newsletter? sign up here!) Often, when TreeHugger Mike would write about the Tesla, commenters would complain about the cost; (I often argued the same point). Mike would note that starting off with an expensive, aspirational car was a smart business plan when you have low volume and want to create an aura.
In the U.S., just over three years after entering the market, Model S took share from all incumbent manufacturers to become the number one selling comparably priced four-door sedan. In fact, Model S was the only vehicle in its class with growing sales last year. Even on our competitors’ home turf and in countries without government incentives to purchase electric vehicles, Model S is winning.
Zach also points out that the other manufacturers have some big advantages, including dealer networks, production capacity, decades of brand building and lots of expensive advertising. Yet Tesla is just killing them.
Last week there were a few on display at a Collingwood, Ontario snowboard shop and I noticed that there were more people outside fondling the Teslas than there were inside fondling the Burtons. You could feel the aura about the place, and you could hear people talking about how they were going to line up for that cheaper Model 3 that is coming down the road. Aspirational marketing works, especially when it eventually trickles down to the rest of us.