Since its inception in 2003, Tesla has been a near revolutionary force in the auto market. Its electric vehicles acted as early pioneers in the movement of auto manufacturers toward more electric models. Now, nearly every major car brand releases hybrid models every year, and EVs are getting more affordable each year for budget car buyers. Despite other manufacturers getting into their EV niche, Tesla still offers a lot to car buyers. Buyers are so happy with their Tesla models that Consumer Reports even named two Tesla models at the top of the luxury class in its 2021 report on customer satisfaction.
Tesla is charging forward from electric roots
Unlike other auto manufacturers that got into the electric game when they saw a market, then called Tesla Motors, the company was founded expressly for the purpose of blazing a trail to higher-tech vehicles. Founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, Eberhard told Bloomberg News in a 2014 interview that he founded Tesla because he wanted to make “a car manufacturer that is also a technology company.”
The two incorporated the company and began a funding campaign. The bulk of funding for Tesla came from Elon Musk in 2004 who became the chairman of the board of directors. Musk controlled much of the company’s public image from then on and continuously asserted that the company’s plan was to eventually make EVs affordable for all car buyers. The company began with high-end sports cars, such as the Roadster to refine their technology, but eventually would release more diverse models.
Growing more diverse and more affordable
Though Tesla’s cars arguably started off as an expensive novelty, they have become much more practical as EV technology has grown to increase range and decrease costs, and charging infrastructure has become widespread. Even as competitors are releasing more EVs to compete with Tesla, its market share continues to grow. The company even posted a 17 percent increase in stock value during 2020, which was a particularly difficult year for most car manufacturers.
Tesla still hasn’t become the budget EV provider that Musk hoped for, but its offerings have become much more affordable. With the 2021 Model 3’s MSRPs being in the high $30,000s, the luxury brand is starting to make inroads with more practical car buyers, and in 2020, the Model 3 and the Model Y’s sales amounted to 60 percent of the car manufacturer’s sales.
Tesla still offers models on the luxury side, however, with the 2021 Model S tagged at just under $70,000 and the Model X at just under $80,000.
Tesla models offer a satisfying drive and a satisfying ride
Tesla’s incredible growth has likely been aided by the fact that its models consistently receive excellent scores in owner satisfaction. This year, Consumer Reports named its models best in customer satisfaction in the small luxury category for the Model 3, and the midsized/large luxury category for the Model S.
While Consumer Reports ranked those two models the best in their categories, it’s not all good news for Tesla. The manufacturer actually fell five places in Consumer Reports’ ranking of overall brand reliability according to CNBC, and the 2021 Model S failed to be recommended this year in the reports.
While Tesla has certainly evolved as a car manufacturer in a non-traditional way, they’re not immune to the traditional market forces in the auto industry. How the company will recover from 2020 hardships remains to be seen. Though it seems like other manufacturers are getting to Tesla’s goal of affordable EVs before it is, Tesla’s strengths in customer satisfaction and unique tech innovations still make it a serious force in the market if it can keep pace with the competition.