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Dan Akerson
GM wants to take on Tesla with both luxury and affordable EVs

Tesla Motors is the underdog that went from being just another electric vehicle startup to racking up profit and car sales while paying off government loans years ahead of time. These feats have drawn the company a lot of attention recently -- especially from competitors

General Motors Co. Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said GM will target Tesla specifically with new EV offerings from Cadillac. GM is hoping to grab some of Tesla's audience with flashy new Cadillacs that also outperform Tesla's models. 

“If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac,” said Akerson. “But I do think when the (Cadillac) ELR comes out late this year, early next — it’s certainly in the same postal code as Tesla, but now we’re going to move up. It’s not going to be a mass-produced car.”

Last week, GM's VP of global product development Doug Parks said the company is planning a $30,000, 200-mile range electric car. Akerson said this will likely take on Tesla. 
Tesla said it's working on an affordable EV of its own. In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his company's Model S is a great EV, but it's a luxury car that is out of the price range of many consumers. Musk said the ideal affordable Tesla EV would be available in about three to four years, and would be sold for under $40,000. It would also have a range of about 200 miles per charge. 

Akerson even managed to slide a little jab at Tesla's Model S when talking about the Chevrolet Volt. 

“We’ll sell more (Chevrolet) Volts and lose less money on the Volts than they’ll lose on the (Tesla) Model S,” said Akerson. 

While GM sees that there is clearly demand for Tesla's product and wants to create something similar (but better) to tap into that audience, Akerson believes problems like range anxiety still prevent EVs from really taking off in the American auto market.

“I’m not convinced that an all-electric car is the panacea that I think the American public wants," said Akerson. “What we see on the line of sight is a 200-mile battery car, but at the same time 200 miles is great, but it’s not going to satisfy the range anxiety that persists. It’s still a major issue with the purchasing public and I think you’ve got to have a generator on board so that you basically have unlimited range.”

However, GM is still interested in following Tesla's footsteps as Akerson recently created a GM team to specifically study Tesla. 

Tesla has raked in many successes this year, such as a surprise profit in Q2 2013; ramped up Model S production 25 percent to almost 500 vehicles per week (it expects to sell 21,000 Model S' worldwide for the whole year); paid off its $465 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan nine years early; snagged the highest safety rating from NHTSA for the Model S, and unveiled several new technologies like the $60-$80, 90-second battery swap feature in the Model S. 

Musk has proved to be an unstoppable CEO that will do anything to take his company to new levels. He's currently considering taking a dealership fight to the federal level because states like Texas refuse to allow Tesla to sell its cars via its own company-ran dealerships. 

Source: The Detroit News

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By SAN-Man on 9/23/2013 12:20:48 PM , Rating: 5
Telsa is currently outselling 7 series and S-Class.

Direct sales cut out the middle man but that's not the real issue. GM and other car companies are fighting the direct sales model simply to keep Telsa from creating a market.

And no, GM and other companies do NOT have an EV in the same class as the Telsa.

This is plain and simple.

By GulWestfale on 9/23/2013 12:53:59 PM , Rating: 3
that is simply not true. perhaps you mean tesla is outselling certain models in california, but certainly not across the US or throughout the world.
for example, i have read that tesla is outselling audi's A4 right now, but only in california. tesla sold just over 1000 vehicles in the moth of june, that's not exactly enough to compete with an established carmaker. nonetheless, they are certainly making an impact, and it's enough to make others notice them. that is why daimler and toyota have invested in them, after all.

i am however surprised that tesla has made it this far. you hear about one boutique carmaker or another every week, and sticking a different drivetrain and a couple of badges on a lotus elise is what a lot of them do, before they are never from again.

so i must say, kudos to tesla. i never thought they'd come this far. i just recently saw my first model S out on the road (well, in a parking lot) here in montreal, and i have to say it looks quite good.

By Flunk on 9/23/2013 1:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
It's easy to find examples when you cherry pick so aggressively. the 7-series is a very low-volume model, as if the S-Class and they're both priced significantly higher than the Tesla Model S too.

I could just as easily say that the Honda Civic massively outsells the Tesla model S. Which is just as true, but equally as pointless a comparison.

By Flunk on 9/23/2013 1:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
Come back when the Tesla Model S outsells the BMW 5-series across the entire country, that would be really impressive.

By DT_Reader on 9/23/2013 4:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
That will happen, when the Tesla is allowed to be sold across the entire country. Until then it's only fair to compare Tesla sales in states where they're allowed to sell.

By Flunk on 9/23/2013 4:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
You're implying that people are incapable of buying vehicles out of state, which doesn't make sense. Take a look at Texas for example. There are plenty of Teslas on the road there and yet they can't be sold in Texas.

You're not reader1, are you?

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