Nissan VP John Martin had a few words recently regarding Tesla:
“Lots of people are calling Tesla a disrupter. They are not,” he said while arguing that building a performance vehicle that’s priced over $100,000 is much easier than manufacturing an electric car for under $30,000.
And what about Apple and Google? Martin doesn’t foresee either of them getting into the auto manufacturing business anytime soon.
The reason: The profit margin in building cars is too low to interest the technology giants. While cars typically return 10-percent margins, those companies are used to 30 to 40-percent margins from their products.
But, Martin really drove home his view on Tesla.
“People ask me: ‘When are you going to compete with Tesla?’ And I ask them, ‘When is Tesla going to compete against me?’”
That kind of talk from a big incumbent sounds familiar. Here's Palm (remember those?) CEO Ed Colligan in 2006, regarding the iPhone:
"We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in."
And who could forget this classic: