in All Things Localization

In recent years, the global electric vehicle (EV) market has grown substantially due to several factors including technological advancement, growing environmental concerns, government policy and ever-changing consumer preferences. The global market for EVs, once dominated by first movers such as Tesla, has changed from favoring technology and luxury to utility and affordability: with China’s BYD Auto and SAIC Motor companies capitalizing on this trend. With cheaper prices and an endless stream of vehicles entering the global market from China, many EV manufacturers have struggled to keep up with these vast economies of scale. To even the playing field, however, smaller-scale manufacturers have the ability to better tailor their vehicle design and launch efforts to address various customer groups. In order to effectively capitalize on this opportunity, localization services can play a major role in offering Electric Vehicle manufacturers impactful insights to more accurately identify and navigate regional preferences and laws. Enter the downward trajectory of Tesla’s Cybertruck: proper localization is a must to effectively compete in the global EV market.

Localization service providers, such as CSOFT International, have various offerings for the automobile manufacturing industry, including user manual and product guide translations, mechanical engineering translations as well as linguistic, cosmetic and functional testing among others. For EVs, however, both nuanced cultural connotations and expert knowledge of regional regulatory compliance can be a major factor in how a vehicle is received by the global market.

Market Relevance: why are there are no Cybertrucks in Copenhagen

In the world of EVs, nothing comes close to the notoriety of Tesla’s 2023 Cybertruck. Although there are currently many questions regarding its practicality and safety, one thing is for certain: the Cybertruck is a uniquely American phenomenon. This is partially because pickup truck sales make up 20% of all vehicles sold in the USA (automotive news), whereas it only accounts for 5-6% of the global market (IHS Markit Analysis), and just 2% of vehicles sold in Europe (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association). Although market size is a factor, it does not fully answer why there are no Cybertrucks in Copenhagen. The true answer to this question is simple: Tesla’s inability to cater their new machines to the global market. While the Cybertruck is great for the big, open roads of North America, it struggles substantially in the clustered, tight streets of Europe’s population centers. Although Tesla’s original marketing campaign showed clips of its Cybertruck cruising the streets of Copenhagen, there are now far more clips of it becoming “Cyber-stuck” when driving through Europe.

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To learn more about the handling and performance of the new Tesla Cybertruck, check out this video from Out of Specs Reviews!

Localization, regulatory compliance and the importance of meeting global standards

While Tesla’s flagship cars, such as the Model Y, help it remain a cornerstone in the global EV market, a lack of attention to global standards has halted the Cybertruck’s sale in much of Europe. Specifically, the combination of the Cybertruck’s heavy weight, over 3.5 tons, with its large size and fast acceleration led to it being barred from sale throughout much of the EU due to safety concerns: All the Reasons why Elon Musk’s Cybertruck won’t be coming to Europe anytime soon. Despite its early marketing efforts to convey that the Cybertruck would be a global competitor and the future of all pickup trucks, a lack of expert regional consulting has significantly capped the spread of the Cybertruck before most of the first orders have even been fulfilled.

Could localization have saved the Cybertruck?

Although it is becoming increasingly clear that the Cybertruck is a loss leader, Tesla’s global reputation has taken a hit due to how far off the mark the final product was. While it is unlikely that Tesla’s Elon Musk would have hired experts to advise him, as he clearly knows everything, localization services could have reduced the backlash onto the brand, especially from its global consumers in Europe. Specifically, localization of Tesla’s customer service and support, with regionally sourced linguists and advisors, could have provided more insights into the differing needs of a European driver. Additionally, localized customer support would doubtlessly have been more helpful to those who found themselves Cyber-stuck on tight city corners. This localized presence of knowledgeable personnel would also have given Tesla more agility and responsiveness in effectively defending its product under EU safety scrutiny. Lastly, localization would have gone a long way in Tesla’s now tarnished brand perception among its global clientele, with the failure that is the Cybertruck as a physical embodiment of Tesla’s fall from the top of the EV industry. Clearly, to compete with both Chinese mass production and the major brands like Tesla that have defined EV trends, a firm must consider localization if they have any chance of capturing any segment of the now booming global EV market.

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Click the following link to learn more about CSOFT’s localization services for the Electric Vehicle industry or check out our other blogposts about localization for the cutting edge of technologies!

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