Tesla’s Loyalists

By Gary S. Vasilash

Tom Libby, associate director and loyalty principal, S&P Global Mobility, thinks that what are ordinarily considered “conventional” or “traditional” automakers have a problem. This isn’t a problem that happened yesterday or last week. It is a problem that has been there for a few years now. A problem that execs at those companies talk about a lot and have made efforts—and for a long time these efforts were not much beyond lip-service—to address it. A problem that is now garnering sufficient attention, though results will vary.

The problem is Tesla.

Tesla vis-à-vis owner loyalty.

Libby charts owner loyalty to a brand. With regard to luxury brands including BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus and Tesla, owner loyalty has been declining. Yet Tesla’s decline still puts it in a position that is much higher than the others. People who buy a Tesla often by another Tesla. The same isn’t as much the case with others. Tesla even takes market share from a number of mainstream brands, as well.

The loyalty rate for the Tesla Model 3 this past March was 76.6%, the sort of figure that program managers at other OEMs wish they had.

Libby says, however, that the Porsche Taycan, which has been available on the market for a few years and the Mercedes EQS, a new entrant, are gaining loyalty.

But if you take into account all of the other models being offered by other OEMs—remember: both luxury badges and well as mainstream—then the dominance of Tesla is rather astonishing.

A question that arises is whether, as other OEMs come out with more-compelling EVs (e.g., while the Cadillac LYRIQ has much to be said for it, remember that GM also foisted things like the Spark EV on the market as though it had relevance when things like the Model S and Model X were on offer: not that there was cross-shopping between those two Teslas and the tiny Chevy, but keep in mind that people were aware of what was being put out there by whom, so Tesla gained share of mind) whether Tesla’s loyal following will peel off.

Let’s face it: there is something to be said about gravity.

You can see the conversation with Libby on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Joe White of Reuters and me here.

Why You May Not Be Getting That New Vehicle Anytime Soon

“The preliminary assessment from S&P Global Mobility for global auto production and sales levels continues to develop, but the current geopolitical events put pressure on an already delicate auto industry situation. Given additional uncertainty surrounding some important raw materials used in the production of semiconductors out of Ukraine and Russia, an initial assessment results in an assumption that several semiconductor plants will be forced to run intermittently at suboptimal speeds between the third quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2023, which in turn results in a further downgrade of global light vehicle production levels.  Lower production levels will create an even more untenable new vehicle inventory situation resulting in a downgrade to US light vehicle sales expectations.  As reflected in the S&P Global Mobility March 2022 forecast release, our initial impact removes approximately 250,000 units from our CY2022 US sales expectation and just over 300,000 units from our CY2023 projection, resulting in expected annual volume totals of 15.2M and 16.6M respectively.”– Chris Hopson, manager, North American light vehicle forecast, S&P Global Mobility

Maybe next year. . .