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Tesla Motors in 2013

Will sparks fly in the automobile industry?

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HBS 2015 #MH0017-PDF-ENG

STRAT MAGT –Growth, KSF, and corporate level strategy

Overview and Objectives:

The case describes the evolution and the critical issues of Tesla.

Tesla was founded by Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning in 2003, with Elon Musk as one of the first investors.

Musk took over the lead engineering and managerial roles after discovering that Tesla was losing $50,000 on each Roadster (its electric sports car model) it sold in December 2006. The redesigned Roadster then sold for $109,000 before it was later discontinued in favor of the Roadster 2 and Roadster Sport, as well as designs targeted at larger markets. The Model S (family sedan) prototype was unveiled in 2009, and it received over 2,000 orders, with customers putting down a minimum $5,000 down payment. The Model S received approximately 12,000 orders by 2012 when deliveries began. It is manufactured in a California factory purchased from Toyota. The Model X (family SUV) is planned for release in 2014. An IPO in 2010 that involved a strategic partnership with Toyota (3% stake) helped provide needed cash, but Tesla did not become profitable until 2013.

While it is beginning to expand internationally, Tesla largely competes in the U.S. where the automotive industry has historically been dominated by GM, Ford, and Chrysler. In 2009, the market share of the “Big Three”dropped below 50 percent for the first time as a result of increased competition from German, Japanese, and Korean auto manufacturers. U.S. automakers profited during the “SUV craze”of the 1990s, but were slow to adapt to shifting customer preferences for less expensive, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the 2000s.

Suggested Questions:

Analysis of internal and external environment

1-Conduct a PESTEL analysis to identify the forces affecting car manufacturing of alternate energy vehicles.

2-Conduct a SWOT analysis to analyze internal and external conditions Tesla must consider going forward.

3-Using VRIO analysis, evaluate whether Tesla has a sustained competitive advantage.


Strategy formulation: Focus on Business, Corporate, and/or Global Strategy

4-How does Elon Musk constrain Tesla’s options?

5-How has Tesla departed from existing auto industry practices?


Strategy implementation: Focus on Recommendations and How to Execute Them

6-What short-term objectives are required for Tesla to survive?

7-What are the primary elements of Tesla’s internal and external environment that need to be addressed for it to achieve a sustained comp