Taunting Tesla: Mainstream brands are challenging Elon Musk's reign

Taunting Tesla: Mainstream brands are challenging Elon Musk's reign

- in Business

It will be difficult for anyone attending this week’s Geneva Motor Show to miss the massive banner hanging outside the city’s sprawling convention center.

“Your turn, Elon,” shouts the message from Hyundai promoting its all-new Kona, a mainstream-priced, long-range battery-electric SUV that targets a market segment that Tesla CEO Elon Musk only hopes to enter a couple years from now.

The PAL Expo convention center this week saw the debut of an assortment of electrified vehicles, both large and small, and ranging from affordable to exotic. More significantly, they offer far greater range, improved comfort and significantly more power than first-generation electric vehicles, such as the groundbreaking Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus EV.

That poses a potentially serious challenge for Tesla as it loses the technological edge that, until recently, made it a unique alternative to conventional cars.

“There’s a calculated assault coming from mainstream manufacturers,” contends David Sullivan, an automotive analyst with IHS Automotive. And it could spell serious problems for the California-based carmaker, he adds, especially if Tesla can’t resolve the production problems it is facing with its first mainstream battery car, the Model 3 sedan.

Image: Aston Martin Lagonda

The Aston Martin Lagonda is displayed at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show on March 7, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.