After Years Of Passive Aggressive Contempt, German Companies Now Trying To Take Credit For Tesla’s Success

The attitude that many German automakers have had towards Tesla since its entrance into the market has not exactly been a welcoming one — perhaps “veiled contempt” would be a polite way of putting it? (Though, this sort of behavior seems to run deep in German culture and business practice, and goes back at least as far as the birth of the modern unified German identity.)

So it may make some of those reading this laugh a bit to find out that the tide seems to have finally turned, and that German companies are now beginning to take Tesla seriously as a competitor…. And also beginning to take credit for Tesla’s success to date. (Another famously German personality trait.)

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Of course, it should be remembered here that Tesla is now rather past the point of simply being a “competitor” in the European luxury car market — but now actually seems to more or less be taking the market segment over (see: Tesla Model S Taking Over Premium Sedan Market In Europe, Automotive Industry Data Reports and #1 Large Luxury Car In US = Tesla Model S In 2015).

Anyways… Back to the main point of this article: an article in Handelsblatt in which the author expounds on the ways that various German companies have made Tesla’s success to date possible.

Here’s a snippet from the article (“Tesla: German Under The Hood“) to give you a general idea:

The electronic steering is provided by another German supplier: Bosch Mobility Solutions. Without the component, Tesla’s electronic assistant wouldn’t work. The supplier also developed parking sensors and a radar system for Tesla. Working with the Californians challenged some of the processes at the big German supplier.

…The small automaker can’t rely on its own inventions in all areas, so its value creation remains smaller than that of traditional producers.

You get the idea. There’s quite a lot more, and some of it is quite funny, so it’s probably worth a look in my opinion (it’s behind a pay wall, but there’s a free trial period).

And, yes, I’m aware that nearly every culture seems bizarre/arrogant/easily mocked from a foreigner’s vantage point. Americans included. 🙂

(Great thanks to “blanche” on the Tesla Motors Club for posting a link to the article, and kicking off a discussion on the matter.)

5 thoughts on “After Years Of Passive Aggressive Contempt, German Companies Now Trying To Take Credit For Tesla’s Success

  1. … and, by contrast, German car makers are standing entirely on their own expertise.

    Oh wait, no! They’re using the exact same suppliers as Tesla. What a shock! 😉

    Yeah, we know the car industry’s decades-long policy of outsourcing non-core expertise to third parties is one of the things that made Tesla possible. Really, this just underlines the hubris of the incumbents assuming a newcomer couldn’t integrate these parts into a compelling vehicle.

    The real story here is the imminent failure of internal combustion engine expertise as a strategic advantage, and the panicked manoeuvres of companies who were betting their future on it lasting much longer.

    1. I sure hope ICE isn’t going to last much longer but EV sales have gone down in Dec and Jan, except for Tesla and Volt. Tesla is growing as fast as they can (not fast enough) and Volt is running short on supply (almost as if they don’t really want to sell the car – ahem). So it looks like ICE has another year of grace period until the Bolt comes out, but I don’t expect GM really wants to sell that either. So outside of the luxury car market, ICE will almost surely do great until Model 3 comes out in over two years at the earliest. Sad.

      That’s what I see in the USA at least. Things seem a bit more hopeful in the EU and EVs in China have done fabulously recently.

  2. Sure some German companies have helped Tesla but the Germans, with some of the most profitable IC car companies, sat on their hands instead of developing the cars that Tesla did.

  3. Referring to a “famous personality trait” of an entire nation of people is kinda 1935.
    Doing it on a public podium is all kinds of Donald.

    Ethnic stereotypes like this have no place in a serious article. They reduce your credibility.

    Please stop.

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