Tesla is one of the world’s most creative and controversial businesses. The company that makes electric vehicles (EVs) has changed the car business with its cutting-edge technology, creative leadership, and big goals. But it has also faced many problems, such as production bottlenecks, quality problems, legal battles, and fierce competition. So, is Tesla going to be the company of the decade or is it going to fail? Here are some facts and numbers to help you decide.
The Growth and Performance of Tesla
In the past ten years, Tesla has grown and done a lot of great things. Tesla, based on its investor reports12, has:
- As of March 2021, they had sold 3,638,900 Teslas.
- In 20222, they made 1,369,611 car units and sent out 1,313,851 units.
- Earned $81.462 billion in 2022, which was a 51% rise from the year before (YoY).
- In 2022, they had a net income of $4.5 billion, which was a big change from the year before, when they had a net loss of $862 million.
- In 2022, it had an operating margin of 16%, which was the best it had ever been.
- Be the most valuable brand in the car industry by 2023, when its value will be $66 billion.
- As of March 31, 2023, it had a market capitalization of $604.03 billion, making it the fifth biggest company in the S&P 500 Index3.
With its famous Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X cars, Tesla has also been leading the EV market around the world. In 2022, Tesla sold 1.1 million plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) around the world, which was 18% of all EV sales4. Its most popular car was the Model 3, which sold 600,000 units around the world in 2024. The range and speed of Tesla’s EVs are also better than those of other brands. Model S Long Range, for example, can go up to 405 miles on a single charge and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds.
Problems and Risks That Tesla Faces
Tesla has done a lot of great things, but it also faces a lot of challenges and risks that could hurt its future growth and profits. Here are some of them:
Production and Supply Chain Issues
Tesla has had trouble meeting its production goals and getting its cars to customers on time because of things like plant shutdowns, labour shortages, chip shortages, and problems in the supply chain. Because of these problems, things have been delayed, cancelled, and customers have been unhappy. In the first quarter of 2023, Tesla only made and shipped 184,000 vehicles, which was less than the 200,000 units it had planned.
Quality and Reliability Problems
Tesla’s cars and services have been criticized for being of bad quality and not being reliable. The company has had to deal with a lot of complaints, recalls, and lawsuits because of problems and accidents with its goods. For example, in February 2023, Tesla called back 134,951 Model S and Model X cars because their touchscreens were broken and could pose a safety risk. Two former workers of Tesla sued the company in April 2023. They said that the company sold customers cars that were broken on purpose.
Regulatory and Legal Problems
Tesla has also run into problems with regulations and laws in different markets where it works or wants to operate. Local governments, competitors, and interest groups have all been against the company because of things like its effect on the environment, workers’ rights, consumer protection, and entry to the market. In Germany, for example, environmental protests and legal battles have slowed down the Gigafactory Berlin project. In China, the government’s attention and customer complaints about privacy and safety have hurt Tesla’s sales.
Pressure from Competitors
Both standard automakers and newcomers to the EV market are becoming more of a threat to Tesla. Many of its competitors have released or announced EV models that are meant to compete with Tesla’s domination and popularity. Some of these are the Volkswagen ID.4, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Lucid Air. These companies may be better than Tesla in terms of size, experience, customer trust, and the way they get their products to customers.
What if Tesla Falls Down?
For the most popular car in the world, the Tesla Model Y is a pretty pricey model. The total cost of ownership might help it compete with cheaper models in the long run, but you still need the money to buy the car or pay the monthly payments. Also, in some places, the Model Y and Model 3 are becoming so widespread that they are losing some of their appeal.
When there are five of them at a small crossing, like I saw today, some buyers may find them boring and be much more interested in the Hyundai IONIQ 5 or Rivian that pulls up next to them. From what I’ve seen, I think that’s already going on in my area. People used to get so excited when they saw a Tesla. Now, they don’t seem to care or even notice. More and more EVs are showing up with new-buyer plates, which is making people turn their heads.
Does it matter that early adopters have moved on to other goods if the mass market is now buying Tesla? Perhaps not. But maybe it does. Maybe all of the other EV options on the market will take some of the hype away from Tesla. We’ve already seen Tesla cut prices to try to get more people to buy. What if that’s only the first of many problems?
What if Tesla reaches its peak in 2023 or 2024 and then crashes and burns because lack of demand growth causes hastily built giga factories to fail and waste money? What if making 10–20 million Teslas a year is a lot of empty promises?
What if Tesla has trouble getting the Cybertruck out of “production hell“? What if making Model C takes a lot longer than planned? What if the core supply chains for EVs get completely clogged up and costs go up instead of down? What if opening up the Supercharger network makes many more people choose a non-Tesla car that can Supercharge over a Tesla? These are some options to think about.
Then there’s the chance that the brand’s name will go down. This has been happening to a lot of people because Elon Musk has been openly supporting conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory and getting deep into the mud of far-right-wing politics. (He thinks that a moderate is someone who has been trying to get Disney, which is Florida’s biggest job, to leave the state and has been banning books from Florida schools).
He has been talking about “first principles reasoning” for years, but he has been fooled by a lot of bad information because he is making false claims and not getting down to first principles or basic facts. What if the effects of that aren’t clear right now, but become clear in the next few years as Tesla owners leave the company and try something else, or as new EV buyers choose a Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID 4, Nissan Ariya, BYD Atto 3, BMW iX, Kia EV6, Mercedes EQE, Rivian, Hyundai IONIQ 5, or some other EV instead of a Tesla?
Tesla is one of the most important and successful companies of the last 10 years. It has changed the car business with its new ideas, clear strategy, and big goals. It has also grown and done well in terms of sales, income, profitability, valuation, and market value. But Tesla also faces big problems and risks that could hurt its chances for the future. It has to deal with problems with production and the supply chain, problems with quality and dependability, governmental and legal hurdles, and pressure from competitors. How well Tesla handles these problems and keeps its edge in the fast-changing, highly competitive EV market will determine its future.