Reply to post: Re: Well...

BMW chief: Big auto will stay in the driving seat with autonomous cars

T. F. M. Reader

Re: Well...

@regregular: "Tesla got 'em bad, in many markets the vehicle is ridiculously successful, much to the surprise of the industry".

Not so sure about this. TSLA is steadily in the red financially, bleeding money year after year which, for me, counts more towards the reality of being "ridiculously successful" than the coolness factor of a niche product. Tesla are nowhere close to having an iPhone class product. BMW sold ~2.4M cars last year with ~EUR7B after tax profits, on ~EUR94B revenue. Tesla produced ~84K cars last year (delivered ~76K), with revenue of ~USD7B and ~USD675M losses. I do not see BMW, let alone the automotive industry as a whole, shaking in their boots because of Tesla's "ridiculous success" yet. [All the numbers come from the official financial statements that are easy to find on the 'net.]

Not everybody seems to be ecstatic about the product, either. Negative consumer opinions about Model S and Model X quality issues on delivery abound, too. It is not clear to me whether those issues are systemic or anecdotal. To be fair (and anecdotal), a friend had horrible experience with is new BMW 5 series a few years back - BMW had to replace the car.

I also have my doubts regarding, say, MobilEye valuation: is a company that produces a minor and non-unique optional feature that amounts to a sensor rather than a complete functional component of any future autonomous vehicle really worth ~30% of the market cap of BMW (or Ford, or GM)? Maybe BMW have a reason to be skeptical (should I say, realistic?) about such a Silicon Valley approach to the field?

And apart from Tesla, no other frequently mentioned player - Google, Uber, now Intel - seems to think of making their own vehicles. Rather, they'll want their technology to be adopted by the incumbents, who, by the way, understand the inherent responsibilities and liabilities far better than the overly optimistic Silicon Valley geeks. So I, for one, expect the BMWs of the world to remain in the driver's seat and to keep their badges on the hoods of those autonomous cars.

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