Tesla is assembling a “growth team” from scratch as it gears up to launch Model 3 next year. Earlier this year, the electric vehicle maker hired Praveen Arichandran, a former Facebook Growth Product Manager, as its Director of Growth Programs. Tesla’s recent job listings suggest that the company is eyeing an aggressive expansion, reports Electrek.
Model 3 gives the growth team massive data to play with
Facebook and Uber have their own growth teams that helped them become global technology juggernauts. A growth team uses data to figure out how to exponentially scale the business. The California company has received about 400,000 pre-orders for its upcoming Model 3. It will give Tesla’s growth team plenty of data to work with. Prior to joining Facebook in 2011, Arichandran worked with AMD and BMO.
Arichandran’s former colleague at Facebook, Sisun Lee also joined Tesla last week. Lee was part of Uber’s growth team. Arichandran and Lee worked together on Facebook’s Internet.org project. The massive data from Model 3 reservations will help data scientists determine the best ways to grow the EV maker’s user base. Tesla said during its Q1 earnings call that 93% of Model 3 reservation holders are new customers to the company. It means only 7% previously owned a Model S, Model X or Roadster.
Manufacturing a bigger issue than user growth
At this point, the biggest issue for Tesla is manufacturing rather than user growth. Two top manufacturing executives left the company last week. Elon Musk said the production version of Model 3 would be locked down before June 30, 2016, and the vehicle will enter production before July 1, 2017. Musk said he was looking to hire some of the world’s best auto manufacturing experts to scale up manufacturing.
At the heart of the manufacturing issue is the massive demand for Model 3. Tesla was planning to produce 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020. Now the company has to reach that production rate by 2018. By comparison, Tesla plans to make and deliver only 50,000 units in the second half of this year. Musk told investors during the company’s Q1 earnings call that Tesla could be building close to one million cars per year by 2020.