Nissan Exec Says Tesla Isn't a Disruptor, but Uber Is
14 October 2015 - Autoblog
veryone seems to have an opinion on Tesla. Depending on whom you ask, the EV maker might be the world's most innovative company, only offering incremental improvements to the internal combustion engine, or just plain stupid.
Unsurprisingly, Nissan North America's senior vice president of manufacturing and supply John Martin doesn't think the company is worth the hype either, but Uber might truly disrupt things in his opinion.
Uber is already a serious threat to the taxi industry, according to Martin, and it's forcing changes in the market there. Plus, without needing to manufacture anything, the company is cheaper to run than an automaker. Other companies are already looking at entering the ridesharing business one day. Once autonomous tech becomes sophisticated enough, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are considering the idea. In addition, Tesla and Google are reportedly mulling similar possibilities for the future.
As long as Tesla remains a luxury brand without a direct challenger to the Leaf, Martin doesn't seem too worried. "People ask me: 'When are you going to compete with Tesla?' And I ask them, 'When is Tesla going to compete against me,'" he said at a conference panel, according to Automotive News.
With some major hires, Google is taking the auto industry seriously, and Apple appears to be, as well. However, Martin is also outwardly unfazed by this potential competition, Automotive News reports. Not only does this pair currently lack the manufacturing to build cars, but the industry offers far lower margins than they are used to, the Nissan exec believes.