Elon Musk gave a nod of respect to Tesla’s China-based competitors during the company’s recent earnings call. While responding to a question from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, Musk noted that without restrictions, Chinese automakers would probably dominate numerous companies.
China is home to Gigafactory Shanghai, Tesla’s primary vehicle export hub and its largest factory by volume. As such, Musk and Tesla executives are familiar with the intensity of the domestic Chinese auto market. So far, Tesla is competing well with the Model 3 and Model Y in China, but it is undeniable that competition from rivals like BYD is ever-increasing.
It was then unsurprising that Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley opted to bring up Chinese automakers during Tesla’s recent earnings call. Jonas inquired how much success Tesla investors should allow for the company’s Chinese competitors to achieve in Western markets. He also asked if Tesla could envision a scenario where the company could partner with a Chinese OEM to help accelerate the adoption of sustainable transport.
Musk’s answer was direct, with the CEO stating that based on his observations, Chinese automakers are the most competitive in the industry. He also noted that Tesla would be happy to help other electric vehicle makers, especially when it comes to the Supercharger Network and technologies like Full Self-Driving.
“Our observation is generally that the Chinese car companies are the most competitive car companies in the world. So I think they will have significant success outside of China depending on what kind of tariffs or trade barriers are established. Frankly, I think if there are no trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other companies in the world. So, they’re extremely good.
“We’re obviously happy to give any electric car company access to our Supercharger Network. We’re also happy to license full self-driving, perhaps license other technologies and, you know, anything that could be helpful in advancing the sustainable energy revolution,” Musk said.
Musk’s evaluation of Tesla’s China-based rivals is quite sound. He is, after all, intimately familiar with the competitive nature of China-based automakers. This competitive nature could be seen in the rise of BYD, which overtook Tesla as the world’s largest maker of battery electric cars in the fourth quarter of 2024. And considering that Tesla still has yet to produce its affordable car, the gap between the company and BYD’s BEV volumes will likely just increase in the coming quarters.
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