Tesla Claimed to Be Able to Produce 20 Million Cars by 2030. Toyota Has Proven It’s Impossible

  • Tesla said it could double the number of cars produced by the Toyota Group in 2023.

  • To succeed, the company would have sell one of every five cars sold worldwide by 2030.

Tesla said it could produce 20 million cars by 2030
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Starting a car brand from scratch is an almost suicidal project. It takes a lot—like really, a lot—of money. And patience to endure years of losses. And masterminds to develop a differentiated product. And first-class marketing to convince the public of that uniqueness. And a delivery force that can deliver on time. And customer service to match…

We could like Tesla cars more or less, and we may or may not like Elon Musk, but the truth is, putting a car company on the map and producing around two million vehicles isn't easy.

However, putting 20 million cars into the market each year seems impossible. Musk promised this, but his company is no longer considering it—if they ever took their boss' words seriously.

20 Million... Nothing

According to The Wall Street Journal, Tesla had a plan in 2022: expand the company with new factories to put 20 million vehicles on the road by 2030.

Since then, promises related to vehicle production have circulated within the company. We know Tesla expects to set up a plant in Mexico and wants to expand its Berlin factory. There have also been rumors of a factory in India, and the company has announced that it plans to simplify its production further and perfect its way of working.

However, Tesla’s production plans have run into some problems. Reuters reported in September that the project to die cast 400 parts in one piece, thus reducing production times, hasn't provided the results the company expected. The company has used this method to achieve record production times in the industry.

There’s no good news about its “revolutionary battery,” either. Tesla sold its 4680 batteries as a qualitative leap to popularize the electric car and improve its autonomy. However, Reuters states that Tesla isn’t making that process profitable. Either way, it’s challenging to reduce costs to the point where the company can live on software alone.

All this should have been key in getting the company to a record production number that no one else in the automotive world comes close to. According to Bloomberg, Tesla is already abandoning the idea of producing 20 million cars by 2030.

However, although Tesla has grown at a spectacular rate in percentage terms, in 2023, it fell a little short of the expected two million vehicles produced (1.8 million). This is a high figure, considering that it closed 2022 with a production of 1.3 million vehicles and that it didn’t reach one million units in 2021. But in 2024, everything points to stagnation.

The drop in production led the company to remove the target of 20 million cars produced in 2030 from its sustainability plan. This number was utterly unrealistic, as the largest car manufacturer in the world is currently the Toyota Group—with Lexus and Daihatsu—with 11.23 million vehicles on the market.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Toyota has been the leading manufacturer. However, we may be reaching the limit, as Volkswagen Group, historically its main competitor, says it doesn’t want to re-enter the game of being the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer.

Bloomberg reports that Tesla’s strategic shift aims to focus its efforts on its future robotaxi. In April, Reuters—always Reuters—claimed that the company had forgotten to produce its cheapest electric car, the much-promised $25,000 Tesla that was supposed to disrupt the market.

Don’t forget that Tesla is dedicated exclusively to the electric car market, which should—and all indications are that it will—grow in the future. In Europe, governments have created policies to promote this technology, while in China, it’s clear that the state has considered it a project to encourage.

However, Tesla faces increasing competition in Europe, with competitors who claim its cars are much more affordable. In addition, experts believe that the adoption rate of electric vehicles will continue to grow but at a slower pace.

In China, Tesla has always had strong sales, but the rise of local brands has pushed it out of favor, forcing it to enter a trade war by slashing prices. BYD is an excellent example of how customers are embracing regional brands: It’s already the world’s most prominent electric car manufacturer.

In addition, industry giants like Toyota and Volkswagen are playing with more than one brand and, most importantly, diversifying their business across different technologies. Although the electric car continues to grow in China and Europe, the global market is enormous, and there are places Tesla has yet to reach.

Experts estimate that automakers sold 92.7 million cars worldwide in 2023. If Tesla reaches similar figures in 2030, one in five vehicles worldwide would have to be from Musk’s company. Today, one out of every nine cars is sold by Toyota—and that's already a number that has no rival.


Related | Tesla Model 2: News, Rumored Release Date, Price, and Everything We Know About the $25,000 Electric Car

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