It wasn’t long ago that German car manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes thought that Tesla was a complete joke. As a new report from The Los Angeles Times makes clear, however, they aren’t laughing anymore.

The reason for this change is pretty obvious: Now that Tesla has likely racked up an astonishing 400,000 reservations for its Model 3, it must be taken seriously by the rest of the automotive industry.

RELATED: Tesla’s Autopilot software is about to get much more advanced

“The German carmakers are taking Tesla more seriously every day now,” Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a German car industry analyst at the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, tells The Los Angeles Times. “Germans have an enormous amount of pride in their engineering skills and believe they know everything that needs to be known about cars. They used to think there was no way that anyone could possibly build cars as well as they do. And then along comes this young punk in California.”

The article also cites a recent statement by Daimler AG chairman Dieter Zetsche, who said this month that “Tesla has promised a lot but has also delivered most of it.”

It’s not just the Germans who are spooked by the hype surrounding Tesla, either. As Bloomberg points out, Ford is paying nearly $200,000 to get an early Model X SUV so it can take it apart and learn its engineering secrets. Taken all together, it looks like Tesla has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the automotive world.

View Comments