How to Manage Alliances Strategically

Since its initial public offering in 2010, the electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. has had some substantial successes. For example, in the summer of 2016, the company boasted a market capitalization of around $30 billion, an appreciation of more than 800% over its initial public offering price in 2010. Tesla’s leading executives (including cofounder and CEO Elon Musk, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen, and cofounder and chief technical officer J.B. Straubel) deserve much of the credit for this. However, it’s also important to recognize the role played by Tesla’s strategy of creating alliances with larger, more established companies. Two key strategic alliances in particular — one with Daimler AG and the other with Toyota Motor Corp. — were crucial to Tesla’s early success. The Daimler partnership provided a much-needed cash injection; the Toyota partnership gave Tesla access to a world-class automobile manufacturing facility located near its headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

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