Autos

An Opening for BMW as Tesla Fails

BMW can benefit from Tesla Motors Inc.’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) failure, as measured by the electric car company’s earnings. The German company has enough electric vehicles of its own, and should launch another wave of them, positioning it better than any manufacturer in the world’s to do more damage to Tesla.

Tesla’s numbers were poor enough to push its shares down 7% after they were announced. At $197, the stock is barely $20 above its 52-week low and well off the period high of over $291. That means its market cap since that high has fallen $10 billion.

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk wrote in his shareholder letter than the company produced 11,627 vehicles. Some anticipated deliveries slipped into 2015 because of problems that included the weather. Musk wrote that Tesla should deliver about 55,000 Model S and X cars. He added that so far, Tesla’s customers have driven its cars 750 million miles.

Very few investors were impressed.

BMW has come as far as any other company to build electric cars that compete with Tesla, and BMW has built a car close to the inexpensive one Musk has promised. The i3 sells for less than $45,000. The drawback of the new BMWs, in the minds of all-electric car fanatics, is that some models come with a tiny gas engine. That, by itself could hurt BMW’s overall chances with a small number of buyers.

BMW’s i8, which sells for just under $140,000, is a direct challenge to part of Tesla’s market today. Tesla’s new P85D can out-accelerate the i8, has as many luxury features and will cost less. BMW’s answer to this is its manufacturing capacity and its balance sheet, which can bring the i3 and i8 off the production line rapidly. BMW has a dealer network that includes important markets, especially China.

ALSO READ: Why Tesla Is Not a Takeover Target

Tesla has given other manufacturers a window because of its production and dealer problems. While the window may be small, it will be open long enough for BMW to drive through it.

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