The recent reports Elon Musk told his employees that the $ 35,000 model would cost $ 3 38,000 made me realize a few things: First: – $ 3,000 is a pretty shitty profit margin, and second, Tesla needs some friends. In particular, they need friends who build many good cars, but have no clear plans to build electric cars in the future. They need friends like Subaru and Mazda.
Listen to me: Right now, Tesla has a lot of trouble building cars in all the important ways: getting the quality they need, the quantity they need, at the price they need. If you look at the alleged letter from musk, Tesla has isolated the part of car manufacturing that causes them the most difficulty:
Body production currently seems to be our limiting factor, so it needs the most support now.
body production. That's not easy, but for Tesla, that's not the biggest problem, because they are unique in the industry when it comes to how their cars are built: unlike most unibody cars, Tesla packs its powertrain, its batteries and its batteries The key components in a separate, skateboard-like chassis.
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I've long thought that Tesla should sell her chassis to coachbuilders to put all sorts of bodies on her, and although I still think that idea is an advantage. Scales would be too small to handle change what is really crucial for the company.
Therefore, they must harness the relative portability of their technology and work with a car manufacturer that does not yet have well-defined future plans for electric vehicles that are big enough to be a major automaker. I can imagine two companies that would suit this description quite well at the moment: Subaru and Mazda.
Both companies have strong and loyal customer bases, both of which have technical disciplines and are definitely among the smaller of the big companies manufacturers that have the resources, the knowledge and the ability to build large-volume cars profitably.
I think Tesla's best choice for the near future is to stop beating their collective heads against the wall to try to make a cheap model 3 and partner either with Subaru or Mazda.
Tesla sold the Model 3 chassis and related software and hardware to its partner, which designed and engineered bodies (and all related internal parts, etc.) for the Tesla chassis.
There could be whole series of Tesla cars. Subaru could have a Tesla Outback and Mazda a Tesla Mazda 3 – all with roughly the same wheelbase as the Model 3 chassis. Several bodies and vehicle types could be made for the Tesla skateboard chassis, and they could be from companies to be built with a lot of experience.
The partnership would include branding highlighting the Tesla drive and technology, so owning a Tesla could help the sale and perceived status of these cars while remaining cheaper than what Tesla alone sells.
Mazda or Subaru would bring a technological path to the ever-increasing future and not lag behind, and Tesla would get away to the bottom of the market with volumes that they could never reach on their own.
Sure, Toyota is involved in Subaru and does not want this plan to materialize, but Mazda has no such implications. Subaru has demonstrated its ability to work with other automakers, but with cars like the BRZ / Toyota 86.
Although I do not believe this will be for many reasons this is not the case Elon Musk's own pride may be least of all. I think a Tesla Mazda or a Subaru Tesla would be the kind of car that people could actually buy, especially people who can not currently afford the cheapest 3s model available.
Although I like Tesla's styling, it's her groundbreaking approach to the electric car powertrain and its software. If another automaker can package that in well-built cars in a lot, why not exploit that .
Tesla could focus on being the cars instead of the cars themselves, just as Microsoft became so huge by selling what powered personal computers do, unlike the PC itself.
For high-end automobiles, of course, Tesla can continue on its own to build. But for the mass market, why should they continue to torture themselves? Reach some friends, Elon.
Maybe I'll grill and invite Elon, Subaru and Mazda. I put out a lot of beer and just see what happens. You can come too!