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Tesla quietly rumbles through the jungle



In a room packed to the exits,

Tesla could turn a profit, build a dealer network and change A culture around electric vehicles.

"By 2020, we should have 500,000" cars sold, Musk told me at our annual Automotive News World Congress. "We just want to keep driving our volume as high as we can."

Musk came as an electric

"We're cutting a path through a jungle to show what can be done with electric cars," he said.

It was the last time Musk would address Detroit with such candor, openness and pure humility. It was pre-model X, pre-model Y, pre-Musk as we know him. That was January 2015.

Four years later, the fascination persists, but the jungle is getting wilder.

Last week, the company is cutting sales staff across the country, paring back as it tries to find firmer footing. Musk says Tesla is saving money as it ramps up production of the Model 3 sedan and prepares to launch the Model Y crossover.

He has flip-flopped on his retail strategy, falling short of his sales

But Musk remains the industry's fascination ̵

1; a man who releases no official sales numbers by region, his experience in "production hell" as a badge of honor, has endured countless personnel defections

Why?

Any car company would kill for the brand cachet Musk has built on zero paid advertising and one Twitter account. Tesla has the devotees that every brand craves. How do they do it?

Luxury chiefs scratch their heads;

One of the things to do from Tesla that are so different from the way Detroit works. "

As for the rest of the industry, the EV road I do not want to be smooth. Many luxury and mainstream EVs are on the way, but there is no guarantee that they will follow suit with Tesla buyers.

Tesla remains as captive and as confusing as ever

Implosion seems to be lurking around each corner. But its impact can not be denied.

Jason Stein is publisher of Automotive News . You may email him at [email protected] Keith Crain's column will return. !


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