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BMW Executive Praises Tesla, Says Auto Industry Should Take It More Seriously

The deputy chairman of BMW's supervisory board applauded Tesla's close relationship with Panasonic as well as its can-do attitude.

Deputy chairman of BMW’s supervisory board Manfred Schoch has called on his company and the auto industry at large to take Tesla more seriously, praising the controversial automaker for its optimistic approach.

“Our board members should finally deal more intensively with this [Elon Musk] gentleman, who should have been bankrupt by now,” Schoch told German business journal Manager Magazin. “Too much is complained and too much is declared impossible [in the auto industry].”

Tesla has faced almost countless controversies over its last few years of rapid growth, during which it has upset the auto industry. Criticisms for its build quality, production issues, loose cannon CEO Elon Musk, labor problems, Autopilot controversies, cash bleed, and so on have plagued the automaker, but what’s most important to any business is profitability, which Tesla achieved in Q3 to the tune of $312 million.

Though more than 60 percent of this profit came from the one-off sale of regulatory credits, Schoch defended the company, questioning why the vastly larger BMW didn’t make as proportionately large a profit.

“Tesla made in the third quarter, at a good $6 billion in sales, $312 million profit. BMW came in the automotive segment at 21 billion euros to 784 million surplus,” said Schoch. “Who deserves better [sic]?”

Schoch also lauded Tesla’s close relationship with its battery supplier Panasonic, which has been instrumental for the American EV-maker’s large and still-growing demand for the lithium-ion batteries that power its vehicles.

“Tesla controls the entire value chain; they understood electromobility,” Schoch commented.

Even if not all within BMW consider Tesla or electric vehicles a credible threat to the existing auto industry, the Bavarian automaker plans to bring numerous electric vehicles to market within the next few years. BMW-owned Mini will reportedly begin production of its first EV later this year, and BMW will expand its lineup of “i” models with the iX3 in 2020, and the i4 along with the X5-sized iNext in 2021.