Tesla: We aren't a giant car company and could get crushed

Last week, Tesla’s filed its 10-K 2014 annual report with the SEC. In the document, the company included an exhaustive list of risks that it faces.

Here’s one that suggests Tesla isn’t exactly delusionally overconfident about its $US25-billion market cap:

Most of our current and potential competitors have significantly greater financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing and other resources than we do and may be able to devote greater resources to the design, development, manufacturing, distribution, promotion, sale and support of their products. Virtually all of our competitors have more extensive customer bases and broader customer and industry relationships than we do. In addition, almost all of these companies have longer operating histories and greater name recognition than we do.

Tesla has been the biggest story in the auto industry for about two years now. There’s no question that it’s captivated insiders and the general public. CEO Elon Musk is a charismatic leader — a successor to Steve Jobs who embodies the visionary entrepreneur.

But it’s worth remembering: the company has only existed for about a decade and currently builds and sells one car.

It’s a $US100,000 car.

But still.

Tesla is trying to remake the auto industry, but at the moment its ambition vastly dwarfs its actual scale.

However, I don’t really think that the traditional automakers want to out Tesla out of business. For now, big car makers are happy to have Tesla out on the leading edge of innovation, taking on a huge amount of — you guessed it — risk.

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