These Automakers Have Vowed to Catch Up With Tesla And Wrest EV Leadership: Is That A Stretch Goal?


Tesla, Inc. TSLA by virtue of its first-mover advantage has maintained its pole position in the EV industry. The field, however, is getting crowded with the passing of each day, given government mandates, environmental concerns and the allure of the massive market opportunity.

Tesla has been the benchmark for all the late entrants and the legacy automakers, which have charted out ambitious plans for transitioning into EVs. As recently as last week, Stellantis N.V. STLA, formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and French PSA Group, said it will eventually take a shot at Tesla's EV leadership.

Here are a few companies that see themselves challenging Tesla:

Stellantis Sees Healthy Rivalry Stellantis is confident of catching up with Tesla in the next couple of years, CEO Carlos Tavares said in a televised Q&A session with reporters Friday.

""I am very confident, I am trying not to be arrogant," the CEO said.

"It's going to be a very healthy competition."

Travares also underlined the importance of setting up of charging infrastructure in Europe and the U.S. to catalyze increased EV adoption.

Ford Counts Tesla, Nio Among Rivals: Ford Motor Company F CEO Jim Farley went a step further. On the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, he said if Ford had enough production capacity to meet the current demand for its battery EVs, it would have given Tesla's Model Y SUV a tough fight to be the leading BEV nameplate in the U.S.

Farley, while speaking at the Wolfe Research Global Auto, Auto Tech and Mobiluty Conference, explicitly named Tesla and Chinese EV startup Nio, Inc. TSLA as Ford's competition.

"We have to beat them, not match them," the CEO said.

Volkswagen Aims For Pole Position: Volkswagen AG's VWAGY goal is to "secure a pole position," the German automaker's CEO Herbert Diess said at the company's Power Day event held in March 2021.

Related Link: EV Week In Review: Tesla Feels Pinch Of Higher Input Costs, Nio's Hong Kong Listing Hedges Against Delisting Threat, Rivian's Teething Problems To The Fore And More

GM Overconfident: General Motors Corporation's GM CEO Mary Barry, meanwhile, has made the company's intent very clear.

In an interview with CBS News, Barra said, ""We want to lead in EVs. Full stop."

Tesla will be facing additional competition from Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corporation TM, which have splurged to further its EV ambitions. Additionally, there are startups that clone Tesla's business model to find success.

Does That Put Tesla On The Backfoot? There is no denying that Tesla has been ceding share in the geographies where the EV maker has established operations. However, it is too early to tell whether Tesla stands to lose its pole position in the industry.


GM, for one, faced a debacle with its Chevy Bolt EV and had to recall all of the vehicles it sold due to the risk of batteries catching fire. Despite the staunch backing of President Joe Biden and the heavy investments the company has committed, the automaker hasn't made much headway.

Earlier this year, the company said it is investing $7 billion in four manufacturing sites in Michigan and said it hopes to have an annual production capacity of 1 million EVs by 2025.

For the unversed, Tesla sold close to a million vehicles in 2021, and it has an annual production growth target of 50%.

Volkswagen is making inroads in some markets, such as Europe. However, it is seen floundering in China, the world's largest EV market.

Toyota, meanwhile, is bogged down because of its late start. The company has until recently placed its bets on plug-in hybrids. Nevertheless, it has put its best foot forward. The company is all set to launch its first mass-market EV – bZ4x - later this year.

Ford comes off as the only serious contender, given its aggressive electrification strategy.

Despite the tough competition, Tesla, with its charismatic and visionary leader Elon Musk, is still a force to reckon with, and it may not be any time soon that the leading EV maker faces a real challenge.

Tesla closed Friday's session down 5.12% at $795.35.

Related Link: Tesla Named 'Best Overall Luxury Brand' For Third Year Running: What It Means For The EV Stock

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Posted In: Trading IdeasCarlos Tavareselectric vehiclesElon MuskHerbert DiessJim FarleyJoe BidenMary Barry
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