Given the amount of reservations that consumers made for the Tesla Model 3, it might seem logical that other car companies will be worried about its success. At least one key executive has taken the opposite view.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has said he welcomes the competition from Tesla. Instead of worrying about the Model 3 – which should have a base price that is competitive with Nissan’s Leaf – fighting with the Leaf for buyers, he believes it will give demand for EVs a boost, right as Nissan is planning to increase its focus on EVs.
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“The fact that so many people are willing to pay a down payment to get this car which becomes available at the end of 2017 is a good sign,” Ghosn told the media during a visit to an engine plant in Japan. “Finally, good competition for EVs is picking up.”
Tesla took more than a quarter-million reservations for the Model 3, at $1,000 a piece (it’s refundable). That’s more than the combined aggregate sales for the Model S and Model X between 2012 and 2015.
Right now, Nissan and its French partner, Renault, have sold more EVs worldwide than any other company. The Leaf alone has sold more than 200,000 units since its introduction in 2010.
Ghosn believes the increased competition will push Nissan to develop better EVs while also increasing consumer interest in EVs. Nissan is already working on improving charging infrastructure, increasing the range of the next Leaf, and cutting costs involved with EV production.
“We welcome competition because it can expand the market,” Ghosn said. “It’s going to stimulate demand.”