After the new record numbers reported by Tesla for deliveries and production in 2020, attention is turning to the future of the electric car pioneer. “Tesla has the formula that consumers want,” said long-term investment firm Loup Ventures in a recent comment. The new year will be about meeting this demand with more production capacity. Against this background, Loup Ventures does not trust Tesla to grow more than 40 percent in 2021 – but expects traditional automakers to face serious problems in the next ten years.
Cautious Tesla forecast for 2021
Tesla delivered exactly 499,550 electric cars in 2020 and even produced 509,737, as the company announced last weekend. At the beginning of the year, CEO Elon Musk set the round mark of 500,000 as a target, which was widely considered unattainable due to the coronavirus pandemic that then broke out. Only in the last few days of 2020 did it become increasingly clear that it was still possible, among other things because Musk announced this in an internal email.
The almost 181,000 deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2020 meant that Tesla has surpassed its own record from a year earlier by 61 percent. However, Loup Ventures doesn’t expect it to continue at this pace in the new year. The problem is not demand, but production capacity, writes the investment company in its comment. For 2021, an increase in Tesla deliveries of around 40 percent can be expected, around 700,000 electric cars.
This forecast is more cautious than the current consensus in the market, as Loup Ventures itself notes. On average, 785,000 Teslas are currently expected in 2021, i.e. around 57 percent growth. Tesla has not yet commented on this. To an analyst who suggested 810,000 to 1 million deliveries in a conference call, CEO Musk only said in October 2020 that he was “not far off.” More precise statements should follow with the business figures for Q4 and the full year 2020.
Ten years left for old automakers?
Regardless of the more cautious assessment in the short term, however, Loup sees Tesla “ideally positioned to have a globally leading electric car market share over the next decade”. For traditional automakers, this leaves only two options: They could bring out electric cars that are on par in terms of range and functions, but which would then be 10-25 percent more expensive than Tesla, resulting in a loss of market share. Or they subsidize these vehicles – which, given the already narrow profit margins, amounts to a loss with every sale.
Both options don’t sound very attractive. Loup actually sees an unpleasant end coming, at least for some established manufacturers: “Logically thought through, we are of the opinion that car companies that have existed for more than 50 years will ultimately (ten years from now) be forced to restructure or give up. “