This new SUV shows how car companies can't compete against Tesla

The auto industry isn’t going to be able to produce a successful foil for Tesla anytime soon, and Audi’s all-electric SUV shows why, says Stifel analyst James Albertine.

Earlier in the week, Audi announced its
plans to introduce its answer to Tesla’s upcoming Model X SUV.

The Audi e-tron quattro concept is a four-seat electric crossover coupe upon which the German automaker will base the first of a new line of electric cars set to debut in 2018.

But Albertine thinks the new Audi electric crossover highlights the auto industry’s futile attempts to effectively compete against Tesla.

“Both the timing (2018) and impracticality (seating for 4) of this upcoming concept tells us traditional OEM competition in the luxury EV segment remains significantly behind that of TSLA.,”Albertine wrote in a note to clients.

Tesla’s Model X — which is expected to debut this fall — will feature greater levels of utility along with better range than the Audi’s 310 miles on a single charge.

The Stifel analyst thinks the e-tron is more likely to become a competitor for Audi’s own gas or diesel-powered Q5 and Q7 SUVs than the Model X.

“It appears key competitors are still finding it difficult to deliver a fully electric vehicle that can offer the same, if not better, attributes than its existing gasoline powered fleet.”

It should be noted that Stifel incredibly bullish on Tesla with a target price of $US400. Tesla closed today, down more than 5% at $US242.

But Tesla is in a unique position where it does not have a true direct competitor. In June, Jefferies auto analyst Dan Dolev
released a Tesla research note in which, he and his team report on a survey Jefferies conducted of 145 U.S. Tesla owners.

The survey showed that Tesla’s only current product, the $US70,000 to $US120,000 Model S sedan, competes with both high-end luxury models and cars that cost only fraction of its price. About 70% of owners surveyed moved to Tesla from cars that cost less than $US60,000. In fact, Dolev found that Tesla buyers are willing to pay a 60% price premium in order to get their hands on the car.

In other words, Tesla is still enjoying a uniquely devoted following that Audi and others won’t easily be able to crack.

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