Exuding with now-practiced confidence, Tesla was quite optimistic during its press conference at the 2014 Detroit auto show. Coming off of a successful fourth quarter which saw 6,900 vehicles sold, about 20 percent more than initially expected, Tesla eyes rapid expansion and “reckless growth” in the U.S. as well as in the global market.
Pursuing growth in the European as well as the Chinese markets, where new sales locations and service center will join the recently-completed Beijing operations, the largest obstacle has apparently been recruiting enough staff to meet demand. Regardless, completion of the cross-country supercharger network remains a major priority. “We don’t stand still,” Tesla vice president of worldwide sales and service Jerome Guillen told reporters. “We continue to expand aggressively our supercharger network…it will be just a few more days until we’ll have people driving across the U.S. for free.”
As per usual, Tesla executives were direct and blunt when responding to questions about safety and recalls. “There has been no serious injury [or casualty] in a Model S, ever,” said Guillen. He stressed to the media masses that Tesla considers safety to be a continually improving effort, and that upgrades such as firmware updates is part of the company’s mission to make every Tesla on the road better over time.
Many expected Tesla to display the Tesla Model X, and were instead given now-tired assurances that the electric SUV is “being worked on feverishly.” Instead, Guillen discussed the future of the Tesla model range, including a third-generation vehicle about three years away from production. Tesla plans for the upcoming vehicle to be smaller and roughly half the price of the Model S, with a “practical” electric range. “You will not feel sorry, you’ll feel proud,” insisted Guillen.
Tesla also dismissed wacky rumors of a future utility pickup, claiming that its hands are full with current production and expansion efforts. Despite the downplayed response, it would be hard to be surprised by nearly anything from the mind of CEO Elon Musk.
Musk continues to lead Tesla to rapid growth in the U.S. and abroad in face of critics and extensive media coverage of Tesla Model S fire incidents, with the latest fourth-quarter sales announcement triggering a sudden 6.7 percent share increase to $148.66, according to Bloomberg.