How Much Respect has Tesla Earned from its Competition?

1. Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath –  “Tesla and the increasingly electrified Porsche” is the competition. Our conviction is 100% that the future of (the) automotive industry is electrification,” Ingenlath says in an interview.

2. Tim Kuniskis, head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati – “Everything gets electrified, Look at our product portfolio and you see we’re going after Tesla.”

3. BMW’s CEO Harald Krüger – “We’re developing a fast-charging network and that’s not our task,”. He wants to put pressure on German government to develop the infrastructure.

“The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone, clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

My 2¢: Though BMW CEO didn’t name Tesla, he made it clear that competitors are combining forces to ramp up  e-mobility. What was the need for large auto companies to bury their decades old hatchet and join hands?

4. Dieter Zetsche,  Daimler chairman after unveiling Mercedes-Benz’s concept electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show,  “Tesla is a successful electric automotive company… we want to be No. 1 by latest 2025 in the electric premium segment.”

5. Mary Barra, CEO General Motors said at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York – “We are committed to a future electric vehicle portfolio that will be profitable.”

“I think its an impressive vehicle (Tesla) and an impressive company. If you look at Tesla there was a lot of experienced engineers that were hired by Tesla to put that vehicle on the road. I think its an impressive vehicle”. GM CEO Mary Barra at 2015 Code Conference, Day 2.

“Unlike some EV customers, Bolt customers don’t have to drive to another state to buy or service an EV,” Barra said, a pointed reference to Tesla, whose showrooms and repair centers are hardly ubiquitous. “We have 3,000 dealerships, and we believe in that model. Some like to say our size is a disadvantage, but newcomers (to the auto-making game) have little or no experience” when it comes to production at a global scale.

My 2¢: Why would a CEO (Who I have also come to respect) talk about a competitor not worth talking about? I don’t think Mary Barra fears Tesla, but she certainly respects them and considers them as a competitor.

6. Stefan Niemand, Audi’s electric-mobility chief  at the Technical Congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) – “I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right. Those who had ever driven electrically are lost for the internal combustion engine for all times.”

7. Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Corporation – “I want to change the way they work on EVs. Maybe we will call them electric vehicles, but introduce connectivity. Think about Tesla. Tesla is producing cars. And Toyota is producing cars. But what Tesla is producing is something close to an iPhone.”

I have saved the best for the last, because when  Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO speaks, the auto industry sits back and listens. He has turned three large auto companies around (Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi), not an easy feat to achieve in the capital intensive auto industry, earning him the nicknames “Superman” and “Le Cost Killer”

8. Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO – 

”I also have to pull my hat off of (tip my hat too) Elon Musk, who is a great salesman.

He is a very good person who sells very well the vision of his company. Good for him. We are not at all jealous. On the contrary, I consider that the more Tesla advances, the more Tesla develops and the more it helps us. No one denies that we are the biggest players in the field. In a way it helps us to market this technology and make it more desirable.”


9. Bonus: The importance of Tesla’s Supercharger Network.

Excerpt from HBR Interview with Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO Renault-Nissan Alliance

Question: Let’s talk about your top electric model, the Nissan Leaf. What have you learned about the electric-car market so far?

Carlos Ghosn: In terms of the technology, the Leaf has been a big success. People worried that it wouldn’t be reliable, that the batteries wouldn’t work. But it’s a great car. In our customer surveys, Leaf owners report the highest levels of satisfaction. We’ve sold more than 200,000 units. The problem is that sales are below what we thought we could achieve. The reasons are becoming clear. People complain about the recharging infrastructure and the range. The Leaf can go 100 miles on battery power, but that’s not enough for many people. They want 200 or 400 miles. And this complaint is linked to the still small number of charging stations, which makes drivers anxious.


If you have source links or details about auto industry leaders talking about Tesla please hit me up at or @ShankarsTwits 

Will keep updating the article as soon as I find relevant quotes from industry leaders.


  5. Reuters , (Slightly Edited, link to video Watch from 27:11 to 27:40), USAtoday
  9. HBR Interview:


Interesting Read: The Everyday Impact of Tesla on Gasoline Consumption explains Everything that’s going on Now