[YesAuto News] Recently, Tesla has been fighting a lot on the bar. You come and I fight for multiple rounds, which has caused an uproar. Speaking of it, the popularity of Pinduoduo's other brands is no longer once or twice, from cosmetics to family planning products, from mobile phones to game consoles, from household appliances to transportation… whoever gets the hottest. In the automotive field, this is not the first case. Earlier, Cadillac and Pinduoduo had done cutting on the “Fifth Five-Year Shopping Festival”, but Cadillac finally had to push it halfway. But this time Tesla's attitude seems very determined, it seems that he intends to resist to the end and never compromise with Pinduoduo.
There are many discussions in the industry on why Tesla does not compromise, but they are limited to the level of brand image and sales channel management. Tesla needs to maintain its own brand image, so it is very natural to disassociate itself from Pinduoduo.
● Brand Communication
To a certain extent, Tesla’s core competitiveness and core products are not technology and cars, but brands. Whether it is technology or products, as well as services and communication, all exist for the purpose of establishing a brand image. Every model and every technology developed on the market is a decision made under brand positioning and strategic goals. In fact, in most areas, companies with certain premium capabilities have brands as their cores, and all businesses of companies are carried out around brands.
Therefore, it is normal that Tesla does not want to have any relationship with Pinduoduo.
In addition, the industry generally believes that Tesla hardly advertises. But Tesla just doesn't do advertising in the traditional sense. In fact, Tesla has been sparing no effort in brand communication. Whether it’s Elon Musk, who has his own topical personality, or other related companies such as SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink, etc., they have brought huge brand effects to Tesla, and even the business behavior of “not advertising” itself. It is an excellent “ad”. Tesla's “advertising” is essentially a shaping of its own brand value. Although it does not borrow traditional media, it also requires huge investment. In other words, Tesla itself is a communication channel with great influence, and Tesla's “advertising” is only placed in its own system. It is precisely because of this that Pinduoduo “crushed” Tesla's popularity, borrowed its brand influence to expand its own communication, and even hoped to enhance its own brand image through the establishment of brand associations. The more serious words are to steal money directly.
Therefore, from the perspective of communication, Tesla will never let Pinduoduo's popularity.
● Sales Channel
Tesla is almost the first mass-produced car brand to successfully achieve direct sales.
As a complex and valuable commodity, automobiles have long sales cycles and complex delivery processes. Especially in the era when comprehensive informatization has not been realized, the sales service of automobiles in the terminal cannot meet the national unified standard, and the price of the vehicle cannot be completely unified. Therefore, a large number of terminal sales personnel are required to serve consumers. Automobile manufacturers have no ability to establish sales teams covering the entire market, so they must cooperate with dealers in various places. Distributors can not only solve the problems of localized and differentiated sales services, but can also share the pressure of capital turnover, commodity vehicle inventory, spare parts storage, after-sales service and other pressures for automakers, and even become a reservoir for automakers to adjust sales performance.
At the moment when the Internet is fully popularized, the world is becoming flatter and flatter, and the difference in time and space is no longer an obstacle for auto manufacturers to expand the market scale and cover the terminal market. In addition, the electrified structure of the car also makes maintenance easier. In addition, as the price of auto products is getting cheaper relative to the disposable income of consumers, buying a car has become easier. Therefore, the complexity of terminal retail and after-sales business has dropped significantly, making it possible for automakers to realize direct sales, which not only makes their services more standardized and controllable, but also connects consumers directly, saving a lot of savings through de-intermediation The cost of distribution channels.
Not only Tesla, but new automakers such as Weilai, Xiaopeng, and Ideal also adopt the direct sales model, and even most traditional car companies are exploring their own direct sales models. However, the core reason why traditional car companies did not immediately realize full direct sales may not lie in whether the products they sell are new energy vehicles or traditional energy vehicles. Instead, the biggest obstacle is to damage the interests of dealers that have previously co-operated with them and are in the same boat. .
The above is the common consensus point of view in discussing the “Tesla vs. Pinduoduo” incident-brand image and channel management. But is this really the case? Is it just that? Let us combine several other recent news from Tesla to analyze the logic behind it from the perspective of business layout.
● Travel Service
Tesla controls channels, in addition to protecting the direct sales model, it is more important to hold users firmly in their own hands. Because what Tesla sells to users is not just cars, but a complete set of car-based travel services, as well as other value-added services that will be more market-imaginative in future travel scenarios.
Automobile marketing can be divided into the following stages according to the trend of the main sources of profit: the first stage, selling automobile products; the second stage, selling automobile services; the third stage, selling mobility solutions; the fourth stage, selling based on Value-added services for travel scenarios. At present, the automobile market is in the initial stage of transition from the second stage of “sale of car services” to the third stage of “sale of mobility solutions.”
As hardware, automobiles will have fewer profit points and lower profit margins. The nature of the demand behind the user's car purchase is travel, and a series of services around travel are market opportunities for a period of time in the future. In particular, the electrification changes brought about by new energy vehicles have enabled OTA to be realized and gradually popularized. Cars are no longer simply defined by hardware, but can be upgraded online to maintain the latest state, expand functional applications, and even improve performance. The core profits of vehicles will come from new demands in a series of travel scenarios, such as system updates, functional permissions opening, performance upgrades, application purchases, and charging services. And this is precisely the model created by Tesla.
Tesla is constantly compressing hardware costs. While gaining a relative competitive advantage by continuously reducing vehicle prices, Tesla is shifting its source of profit to OTA upgrades, home charging service packages, and super charging station charging services.
Therefore, Tesla must hold the entrance of the car machine and firmly hold the users and their travel consumption in their hands. This is also one of the reasons why Tesla must clear up the relationship with Pinduoduo.
● Autonomous driving
In the third stage of the marketing competition, Tesla has achieved a first-mover advantage. Other competitors have unknowingly walked into the “script” written by Tesla in advance under the lead of Tesla. In addition, Tesla has already made plans and plans for the future: Autonomous driving is the core and foundation of the fourth stage of automobile marketing “selling value-added services based on travel scenarios”.
In the future, not only communication including the Internet will become a basic right of mankind, travel will also become a basic right of mankind. Enjoying basic free travel services will be one of the possibilities of human social life in the future. From the perspective of improving logistics efficiency, releasing human transit time, and liberating productivity, it is almost an inevitable development trend for automobiles to realize autonomous driving. Therefore, the ever-increasing travel demand of mankind and the large amount of leisure time on the road brought about by the realization of automatic driving of vehicles will inevitably need to be filled with various services, which will be a huge commercial space.
Tesla is actively advancing the autonomous driving business with the goal of seizing this huge business opportunity first, and building a value rent-seeking space through the time difference between the first movers and the exclusive entrance to vehicles and machines. In this way, even when rivals generally enter the third stage of competition for travel solutions, Tesla can still maintain its lead, eat the first bite of the fourth stage, and obtain huge benefits through value-added services in the travel scene.
With such an imaginative future opportunity, how could Tesla let Pinduoduo get a ride now?
● Product Technology
“Function determines form.”
The development of electrification and autonomous driving will change the shape and structure of vehicles. Although the current car is still in the transition stage from the E era (electronic era) to the i era (intelligence era), new energy vehicles with pure electric architecture represented by Tesla have shown us some changes: the distribution of the four corners of the wheel, Obtain a larger wheelbase to arrange the battery; move the A-pillar forward to improve the effective space utilization; reduce the area of the air intake grille or even cancel it directly to obtain a better aerodynamic layout…
Not only the shape and structure, but also the production process and materials have changed.
Recently, Tesla disclosed the integrated molding process of the body: the use of die-casting process to manufacture integrated aluminum alloy body. Although it is currently only used to produce the rear floor assembly of Model Y, the ultimate goal is to use it for the entire body except for the opening and closing parts and outer covering parts.
The current car body is mainly produced by the process of stamping + welding. In order to ensure the structural strength and rigidity of each part, it is necessary to carry out complex sheet metal structure design and a large number of repeated CAE calculations, which will inevitably cause redundant structure and performance. More. If the die-casting integrated molding process is adopted, every part of the body structure can be designed “just right”, saving the chassis space for arranging more batteries. Not only can the safety performance be improved, but it can also reduce the quality of the preparation. In addition, there is no stamping and welding process, which can save a lot of equipment investment such as molds, presses, fixtures, welding robots, etc., and reduce vehicle development costs and manufacturing costs.
In addition, Musk has also evaluated the feasibility of using heat treatment processes to achieve different colors of cold-rolled stainless steel. If this process can be realized on the outer cover of the car body, then the four major processes of the whole vehicle production will basically be completely based on the final assembly, and the production efficiency will be greatly improved.
Recently Tesla has a number of patent disclosures: high-performance computing chips (HPC) using 7nm process technology, short-range motion sensors, new wiring harness layout architecture…It is foreseeable that Tesla’s future automotive products will be more intelligent. The mechanical structure is also more concise, and it can even be completely encapsulated except for the necessary opening and closing parts such as the door, luggage compartment, and charging port. All these technical directions are paving the way for the realization of autonomous driving and the terminalization of vehicles. Tesla's future products will retain a certain degree of redundancy in performance, so that users can pay for upgrades and unlock functions to make money, or carry more functional car applications. This is also a necessary condition for the fourth stage of future automobile marketing-“selling value-added services based on travel scenarios”.
· Financial Insurance
Tesla recently has another news that has attracted the attention of the industry, that is, the establishment of an insurance brokerage limited company in China.
Tesla's involvement in the insurance business is not surprising. The industry has been calling for years that UBI insurance cannot be implemented. One of the reasons is the inability to obtain the driving behavior data of the car owner. On the one hand, because of the large number of vehicle models, it is extremely complicated to analyze the user's driving behavior through vehicle data. On the other hand, it is naturally because data, especially vehicle data, is the lifeblood of car companies and cannot be shared. However, Tesla has a natural advantage in this regard, mastering its own car and machine data, and possessing the technical ability and feasibility to analyze the behavior of car owners on its own. Although Tesla's insurance brokerage company can only act as an insurance agent, it can have sufficient data resources to influence the insurance pricing of its partners. If Tesla can provide insurance based on driving behavior for its own car owners, not only can users enjoy cheaper and reasonable insurance costs, but Tesla can also have a cost advantage in related businesses with vehicles as the core, and even Get a lot of profits from insurance.
In addition, although the aforementioned integrated body molding process has many advantages, the aluminum alloy material has low elongation and is difficult to weld, so the maintainability is poor and the maintenance cost is high. However, Tesla's future insurance will, to a certain extent, follow a route similar to Apple's “AppleCare+” in order to replace it with a new one. In addition, the recovery value rate of aluminum alloy is high. If Tesla can extend the recycling and remanufacturing business and cooperate with its own insurance services, it will greatly reduce the overall cost.
Once the L5 level of autonomous driving is realized, and the steering wheel is even eliminated, the responsibility for the vehicle on the road will be determined entirely by the car manufacturer. Therefore, automakers may not directly sell cars, but only provide travel services. Auto insurance in the era of autonomous driving will be a bigger market, and competition will become more intense. Tesla has enough motivation to hold its own vehicle insurance business in its hands in order to maximize its benefits.
· Intellectual Property
As early as many years ago, Tesla announced that it would open patents for free use in the industry. No matter what the purpose of Tesla's move is, whether it is brand communication or promoting the development of electric vehicles, it is obvious that the real core technology will not be open.
The purpose of Tesla's open patents, I personally think it is a bit like the Sophon in “Three-Body”: to lock down the opponent's technological progress. By providing free patented technology, some competitors are allowed to embark on a technical route designed by “scripts”, limiting or even blocking the possibility of competitors' development. After all, free is the most expensive. Tesla will always maintain a leading position on the basis of these open patents, and at the same time will bring additional benefits: the entire industry is built on Tesla standards.
It can be seen that Pinduoduo may only be used to borrow its brand influence. But from Tesla's point of view, it is more than just rubbing heat and destroying channels. It simply touched the foundation of its lofty ideals and beautiful blueprint, so it must not compromise.
There is a saying: “The pole is long, the bench is wide, the bench is not as long, and the pole is not as wide as the bench. The pole should be tied to the bench, and the bench should not allow the pole to be tied to the bench, but the pole should be tied to the bench.” The bundled Play has been pushed to each other for hundreds of years, and the dispute over sales channels between Pinduoduo and Tesla may not be fruitful for a while. Then let us continue to pay attention.