The man in question is Mercedes-Benz's USA CEO himself, Steve Cannon, and being no fan means Tesla has "no network" and only offers "little shops that don't have service capacity"...
Wait, there's more: "Folks are buying a Tesla now because they're kind of cool, but if you're a Tesla buyer, you have to have multiple cars." And, naturally: "With Mercedes, you have a whole network. You've got no worries. ... Tesla is great, but you've got plenty of well-established brands that mean luxury, like Porsche or Mercedes-Benz, and how long do you think we're going to wait and let Tesla be out there alone [selling premium electric cars]?"
The thing, though, I had different experience of Mercedes-Benz's service and capacity years ago when I imported cars and was in the sales parts business...
When I saw what Cannon said in a recent Forbes article, I wanted to know more. Why would man like Cannon feel the need to criticize Tesla when the first electric Benz is powered by the same company? Is this a sign that there's an anti-Tesla camp inside Mercedes-Benz?
This reminds me of our recent Tesla Model S trip around Bulgaria blog where we decided to share some Model S issues. One such led to sending to car to Tesla's Vienna service center. Tesla covered tranportation costs and offered another Model S until they fix the issue.
Back to the Cannon's words, I just don't get it. The electric B-Class is powered by Tesla, sales start in US first, but MB's CEO there does not seem to like Tesla, and maybe EV's at all.
Apparently the topic was brought into attention when Cannon spoke about Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrids coming to the market in the next couple of years. There will be more such in company's portfolio and they would be more appealing to the customer, as Mr. Cannon says "I'm not affraid of Tesla. There is no willingness to really sacrifice on the traditional qualities of a luxury car." Well, Im my experience so far, when people say "I'm not affraid (of something)" oftentimes they are ;).
What also puzzles me is that Cannon adds: "Consumers want all of that, but they aren’t going to want to pay for it, and the potential of fully electric vehicles for the rest of my life and a good portion of the rest of your life will be limited." Weird, he says they [German auto makers] want a piece ot Tesla's pie, but in the same time he does not believe in EVs?!?
I see he's 52 now, but Tesla Model S already does an average of 400 km on a single charge. Before 2020 the infrastructure will be much wider, EVs will likely do up to twice this range and will be cheaper. Guess Cannon will have to take his words back long before he even turns 60...
We'll see what happens. But if there's someone to prove something shere, that's exaclty German top trio. It's one thing to speak aloud how limited Tesla Motors' network and services are, but сompletely different to put your own long range EV on the market right now to compete with Tesla. Will there be such EV coming from Germany in the next couple of years? I'd be very, very, happy to see it. As for service and capacity, let us customers compare and choose, and we'll discuss it then ;)!
I can't be sure if there's an entire anti-Tesla camp inside Mercedes-Benz. Looks like some sparks are flying in there, though. What do you think?