As the electric car maker’s market value has soared in the past year, the 10 year old company could even soon take over the 105 year old auto maker – a situation that called GM to action.
With its shares and market value rising this year by 470%, Tesla is now worth $23 billion, while General Motors only surged a more modest (although very healthy) 25%, to $50 billion. If nothing goes wrong – like let’s say more Model S cars catching fire – next year the biggest American automaker could be overshadowed by a constructor that only builds electric cars and so far has only one model on the market.
So, GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson and Vice Chairman Steve Girsky assembled an internal task force – dubbed “Team Tesla,”, with members from product planning, engineering, manufacturing and sales – to study Tesla’s strategy, test-drive its Model S and learn all the lessons.
“History is littered with companies that knew what was coming and couldn’t do anything about it,” Girsky, 51, said in an interview in New York last week. “We can ignore it and cover it up, or we can figure out what we’re going to do about it.” Girsky also said that Tesla was “revolutionizing the business model … not just how you put an EV (electric vehicle) together (but) how you go to market with something like this.”
General Motors has focused on key technical aspects, like Tesla’s low-cost battery pack, the great 200-mile-plus range of the Model S, and the company’s killer plan to give away free electricity to its motorists through its own network of EV charging stations.