For the second time this year, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse took a public dig at Tesla, singling out quality and reliability as issues that he said set the Germany luxury automaker apart from the electric car leader.
Zipse's latest swipe echoed one in February when he cast doubt on Tesla's ability to retain its EV crown in the face of competition. Since then, demand has continued to boom, and the Tesla Model 3 was Europe's top-selling passenger car in September.
"Where we differ is our standard on quality and reliability," Zipse said Wednesday at a conference organized by the business paper Handelsblatt. "We have different aspirations on customer satisfaction."
BMW unveiled two battery-powered models in recent weeks, the i4 sedan and iX SUV, and sales of plug-in hybrid and purely electric models nearly doubled to over 230,000 cars in the first nine months. That still pales in comparison to Tesla shipping 241,300 cars during the third quarter alone.
"Tesla isn’t quite part of the premium segment," said Zipse. "They are growing very strongly via price reductions. We would not do that since you have got to last the distance."
Volkswagen Group is also seeking to close the gap with a plan to double sales of full-electric cars this year and add 50 EV models by 2030.
The rapid-fire rollout of new EVs from rivals has yet to undercut Tesla.
Last month, its deal to supply cars to Hertz Global Holdings boosted its valuation above $1 trillion for the first time. CEO Elon Musk then triggered a downward slide with a plan to sell 10 percent of his holding.
Rivian Automotive raised about $11.9 billion in this year's biggest first-time share sale, adding to investor concerns about extreme rallies in electric-vehicle stocks.