Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is the first successful U.S. automaker in the past several decades. Today its customers and investors are crazy for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). But things were not nearly so rosy for an electric vehicle startup a year ago. Everyone doubted the future of green car startups including Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). The Elon Musk-led company and Fisker Automotive had received government loans through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. People grew more skeptical of Tesla Motors Inc. when Fisker Automotive went out of business, and its battery maker A123 Systems went bankrupt.
In contrast, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), which was an unlikely upstart a year ago, has today established itself as a legitimate electric vehicle maker. Its Model S cars began to garner rave reviews. The stock began to soar, and is up 315% this year so far. They recorded two profitable quarters, beating Wall Street expectations. However, all this success didn't come easily. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has faced a lot of hurdles along the way.
What's Tesla without Musk?
It's hard to say if Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) would have achieved the same success had Elon Musk not been its chief executive. Success of a startup largely depends on its leader. We have seen how lack of effective management destroyed Fisker Automotive. In contrast, Musk believed in his company. When General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Chrysler went under bankruptcy protection, this man invested his entire bankroll - gained through PayPal - into Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Musk depended on his friends to meet his day-to-day expenses. As Patrick George of Jalopnik puts it, it was Elon Musk's faith that attracted investors to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Elon Musk actively engages his customers through Twitter and his blog. He has arranged for customers to get their vehicles fixed via Twitter.
The quality and reliability of the Model S has been another strength of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). This high-tech luxury sedan has received a perfect score from Consumer Reports. It has a range of more than 260 miles. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is currently busy expanding the network of its Supercharger stations. In fact, the Model S has become a status symbol today.
Tesla still has a long way to go
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) paid its government loans nine years in advance. They had a few scuffles with the media. They are still battling car dealers across the U.S. - dealers feel that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)'s model of selling cars directly to consumers would threaten their business. Auto dealers in many states have sued the company. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) may adopt a franchise system later, but not anytime soon. Elon Musk said earlier this year that it's hard for a startup to build a successful dealer chain. Coda Holdings and Fisker Automotive have tried it with no success.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares jumped 0.44% in pre-market trading to $141.34.