Battle of the Brands: Tesla vs. BMWi

Having a brief review of this year’s car shows, it becomes clear that electro mobility is facing a small decrease in terms of production and market demand. General Motors (GM) is pausing its production of the Chevrolet VOLT for a couple of weeks, and also the other electro cars and its companies cannot impress the visitor with its model (Source: SZ). But, two car makers of the premium class in specific do not contribute to this development: Tesla and BMWi.

Click to expand

Electromobility: Facebook Likes per Brand (July 2013).

Tesla Motors is one of the first US car makers that bring electro mobility on the road: they have already several models using solely electro mobility concepts: the roadster, the model X and the model S, which is the first model on sale since June 2012. Since its sale, the model S has received some good marks in several different categories and test-institutes (e.g. Consumer reports, 2013). This 5+2 seater can speed up to 200 km/h, with a range of up to 480 km, and an acceleration of 0 to 100km/h in 4,4 seconds depending on the battery in use (Source: Tesla). The in Palo Alto based company has planned to deliver at least 500 cars to Europe starting in the mid of 2013 – all cars are designed and produced in California. The official prices for the model starts at 71400€ (Source: Tesla). In contrast to the Nissan Leaf or the Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt, the model S may be due to its design competing with models of the premium class such as BMW, Mercedes Benz or Audi. Using a very similar construction approach as the BMWi series, we compare the model S this time on “The battle of the brands” with the BMWi models.

BMWi is planning to sale their first cars on autumn 2013. There will be two models out in sale this year: the i3 and the i8. Further models (i1 and i5 are planned for the future). The i3 is designed to cover the future needs of driving in cities. The i8 is the premium sport version, using a hybrid drive. To set up the comparison properly we want to have a closer look on both, the i3 and the i8 to cover design and reputation driven influences in this article.

The i3 delivers This 2+2 seater brings up to 224 PS, with a range of 35 km with the electric drive, and an acceleration form 0 to 100km/h in under 5 seconds (Source: BMWi). The “megacity vehicle” i3 will provide enough space for four persons and covers a range of up to 160 km and the coupe version will bring 170 PS to the street (Source: BMWi). The official prices for the model are not communicated yet, but it is assumed that the i3 will definitely lie beyond, and the i8 above the Tesla model S.

When it comes to social media marketing now, we need to draw the comparison back on the level of the (sub) brands. So, in the following comes a brief comparison of the social media metrics of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Crystal clear, BMWi is taking the lead over Tesla with an enormous amount of follower on as well Facebook (+1049514) as Twitter (+56489).

Monthly Averages per Brand (click to expand)

Monthly Averages per Brand (click to expand)

This is, in a way interesting as Tesla is sitting at the heart of the 2.0/social media world: in Palo Alto. To get an idea how efficient the brand management of the two companies is, we need to have closer look on the timeframe of social media marketing: Both companies joined the social web quite soon: Tesla started its activities on Facebook as well as BMWi in December 2010. The Twitter accounts have been activated at April 2010 (Tesla) and April 2011 (BMWi). Since then, both had a steady increase of their profiles. This creates roughly 31/33 month of activity on Facebook and 27/39 month of activity on Twitter (both BMWi/Tesla). Calculating the average rate of likes on Facebook the result shows again a strong ratio for BMWi: 40919/6642 (BMWi /Tesla). A similar pattern appears for the average amount of follower on Twitter: 5336/2325 (BMWi/Tesla).

Having mentioned that the US car sales began for Tesla in June 2012, it would be interesting to compare the period of 2012 until now. When we have a close look on the metrics on twitter we recognize, that the difference between BMWi and Tesla is starting to decrease: While BMWi had a lead of 60540 followers, the number decreased to 56489 followers. This equals a difference of 7% in 1,5 years. This might not seem a high rate at first glance, but when taking a look on the development of the curve, we recognize that the amount has started to increase exponentially since this year.

Taking the hypothesis of regional influence as granted, the comparison of the account BMWi USA with Tesla would be quite interesting. It could be assumed that the results are rather in similar range than the major brand BMWi. Further it could be assumed that the regional environment of Tesla influences the way social media marketing is processed at Tesla. Hence the results show at least a small win for Tesla: with 18141/7518 followers (Facebook/Twitter) BMWi USA is way beyond the amount of Tesla followers.

What might be the conclusion of this comparison?

  • In the first part we have provided a background of the three models being on sale at the end of this year. We found that there are some similarities between the different products of the two different brands. When it comes to brand management in social media, we were a little bit surprised finding a brand without a single car on the street having higher social media metrics results than a brand that already has started its car sales.
  • Nevertheless, it let us only speculate if there is a regional influence on social media marketing on the two brands. The values of the BMWi USA seem lower than the regional competing ones of Tesla, but as we all know, social media is a global marketing channel – a lot of supporter may be following the general profiles of BMWi. Therefore it can be highly suspected that the spill over effects of the BMW classic brand may provide a more logical explanation for the great difference in the amounts of likes/follower.
  • Further we have seen that the twitter account of Tesla accepted the challenge to take over the number one position. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the near future when BMW has its cars on the street.

So of course you are the one who has the last word in my blog:

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