Earlier this week, Tesla reduced the price of the Model S by $3,000. When a price change is applied to any of Tesla’s vehicles, it is usually a race between media outlets to report it first. I believe that many news sites look at it as an opportunity to have a post with high views, and being the first to report it could lead to that. Also, with human beings remaining relatively misinformed about EVs and Teslas’ prices in specific, whenever a price drop is applied, it is a huge deal.
But the reason for misinformation spreads to journalists as well. I found myself shocked at the Fox Business article that implied that Tesla was undergoing some sort of “sales slide.” At least, that’s what they put in their headline.
Baffled at what I had read, I felt compelled to post it on Twitter and LinkedIn (the only two forms of social media I have) and set the record straight. While it is true that the percentage of the Model S sales has gone down, it is untrue that Tesla, or the flagship sedan, is seeing record low numbers because of a “sales slide.”
First, Tesla just had its most successful quarter in terms of production and deliveries in Q3. 139,300 cars were delivered, and 145,036 cars were produced at Fremont and Giga Shanghai. Nothing about that indicates a sales slide, especially considering the massive growth during the quarter in both deliveries and production.
The Model S and Model X were delivered 15,200 times during the quarter. Yes, this is a relatively small percentage, just a tad more than 10% of the total deliveries that Tesla performed over the course of the quarter. It is a 33% growth from the last quarter, where the company only delivered around 10,000 of the two vehicles.
In my opinion, it isn’t that Tesla’s flagship sedan is “less popular” or even “slumping” in terms of sales. I think that the Model Y and Model 3 are simply better options for most car buyers. I’ll tell you why.
First, we have their price. The Model 3 and Model Y have better price points, and they are Tesla’s first two mass-market vehicles. This means that the prices will fit more budgets, and it will be a more popular vehicle because of that.
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Secondly, the Model 3 and Model Y technology is significantly better than the Model S and Model X. Of course, the Model S has a lot of power, and the Model X has those awesome falcon-wing doors that everyone freaks out about. But in terms of sheer technology, the Model 3 and Model Y are just better options. They are minimalistic, they are newer designs, and they are also operating with better batteries than the Model S and Model X.
The Model 3 is, as far as we know, still utilizing the 2170 cells, while some speculation suggests that Tesla could already be putting the 4680 cells in the Model Y. These cells are not only more affordable, but they’re also more efficient, offer better power, and their energy capacity is greater.
The Model S and the Model X are still using the 18650 battery cells, which are still great batteries. The Model S has an EPA record 402 miles of range, and they both have 100 kWh battery packs in their performance models, which makes them a better option for the speed demons out there. Nevertheless, battery tech has gotten better since the Model S and Model X have been built, and neither of these cars has undergone a refresh, which brings me to my next point.
Buying a Model 3 or a Model Y ensures that a car buyer has the most up-to-date Tesla technology available. In addition to the already more minimalist design that the 3 and the Y offer, these two cars’ look is fresh in people’s minds. The Model 3 literally just underwent a refresh last night, and the Model Y is only seven months old as of right now.
Meanwhile, the Model S and Model X have relatively the same design as they did when they were released. The only things that have really changed are the available colors and the grille, which are minor cosmetic modifications. I love the look of the S and the X, but some people out there need the most updated versions of things. That is why we see so many people waiting for Apple to release a new phone, even though theirs works perfectly fine.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting something new. I get it. Believe me, I will be one of the first people in Pennsylvania to have a PS5, but that’s a $500 purchase. A car is $35,000 at the least if you want a Tesla.
All of this brings me to my point: These large-scale media networks reporting price cuts should just report the price cuts. Nothing more, and nothing less. There is no reason for these media outlets who have no idea what they’re talking about to sit there and suggest that the Model S is having a sales slide when they are still selling a healthy amount of vehicles.
Even Tesla knows that the Model S and Model X are not going to be big factors in the company’s future growth. That’s why the company has confined production to Fremont and hasn’t expanded it to Shanghai or even mentioned it with Giga, Texas. There is no need to. Remember, Tesla’s ultimate mission is to accelerate sustainable energy and transportation, not turn a massive profit with really fast cars. If that were the case, I’m sure the Roadster would already be built and roaming around the streets of California being driven by celebrities and Tesla referral code masters.
There is a real danger here with the way media outlets are angling their headlines. Ultimately, Tesla is doing a great job of expanding its presence in the automotive market. If mainstream media was more responsible with its reporting, could Tesla’s popularity be even more widespread at this point?
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