Tesla Motors, the smallest and youngest publicly traded US automaker – but also one of the most visible carmakers in the world in terms of media exposure – is ready to deliver the keys to its first Model X sport utility vehicle Tuesday evening near its factory.
The setting could be ripe for the taking for the smallish automaker specialized in delivering battery-electric vehicles, as the global industry has been rocked by the VW diesel cheating scandal that casts a shadow over traditional automakers and their way of promoting mostly gasoline and diesel vehicles instead of cleaner alternatives. And as lower fuel prices have become the norm since last year, hybrid and electric cars have lost even more traction with mainstream consumers that have rekindled their affection for larger SUVs and pickup trucks. But Tesla might actually nail an industry winner now as the growing “dieselgate” is consuming Volkswagen – the largest automaker in the world by sales – and is also casting a shadow over the entire German automotive industry.
Even more so, the critical all-electric Model X – now Tesla’s second car in the lineup besides the Model S sedan – could fundament the Palo Alto, California-based company’s strive to achieve both manufacturing scale and increase even further its popularity. The Model X comes to the US market under auspicious times – consumers are enamored with SUVs and crossovers and the luxury competitors, mostly German, might fall out of favor with the public as the brands lose the consumer faith. Now German authorities are signaling the embattled German auto industry should prove its worth and try to deliver a comparable e-car and set the benchmark in the nascent electric-car market.