There’s no shortage of opinion about the state of Tesla. Mostly, it is still the darling of both wealthy early adopters and City analysts.
People who have lived through the age of Apple and Google - brands that changed the world for ever - say Tesla embodies the future of the car industry. To them, it is that most beloved of things: a ‘disruptive’ company that forces an industry to change or die.
But there are plenty of people who disagree with Tesla, and they say they have the facts on their side. While Tesla’s sales are leaping - up 49% in the second quarter of this financial year, to nearly 12,000 units - the company is also losing a lot of money.
Figures from the US say Tesla lost £120m in the second quarter of this year, or around 20% of overall turnover in the same period.
Of course, putting the new Model X crossover into production is expensive. Perhaps once the family-friendly car is in showrooms, Tesla can reduce its research and development spend, gain scale and realise real profits.
One thing that can be said about Tesla, whether it’s prospering in a decade’s time or not, is that it found a brand new automotive niche market. It discovered that the world’s most affluent people, especially if they are on the right side of 60, also happen to be very ‘green’.
The idea of whisper-quiet, zero-pollution, high-performance prestige cars is not something Porsche or VW would have contemplated. But this automotive start-up appeared from nowhere, created the market and is selling 50,000 vehicles a year with just one model in the showroom.
So it’s intriguing that Jaguar is being deployed rather than Range Rover as the brand to roll out an electric production car. What better way to take a marque that is still heavily anchored in the past and propel it into the future? If you are going to ‘disrupt’ entrenched views about Jaguar, there’s no better way of doing it.