Speaking to Forbes about the upcoming plug-in-hybrid models from Mercedes-Benz, Steve Cannon said that he is not worried about Tesla gathering ground in the luxury electric cars market, especially since traditional big kahunas of the industry haven't yet started rolling out their own electric vehicles.
“Tesla is great, but you’ve got plenty of well-established brands that mean luxury, like Porsche or Mercedes-Benz, and how long do you think we’re going to wait and let Tesla be out there alone [selling premium electric cars]?” Cannon said. “So, good job, Tesla, but will they be able to maintain that with the others of us out in the market? That remains to be seen.”
While that may sound a bit like a cheap shot, keep in mind that there might be some truth behind the statement, as Tesla Motors is still a start-up company in the larger sense, with a rather petite dealership and service network, while larger car makers have no such problems.
All in all, Steve Cannon is certain that Mercedes-Benz will attract much more customers than Tesla when it comes to alternatively-fueled luxury cars, mainly thanks to the much larger dealer and service network.