Tesla may not be at this year's North American International Auto Show, but it's easy to feel the influence of Elon Musk's company on the automakers unveiling new vehicles in Detroit.
From announcing all-electric cars to adding assembly lines specifically for plug-in models, auto executives are ramping up their electric vehicle plans.
"There's no doubt, the auto industry is becoming much more serious about developing electric vehicles driven by the need for emissions compliance in the U.S., China and Europe," said Michael Robinet, analyst with IHS Markit. "Tesla has shown the industry that markets do exist for electric vehicles, and the major players have taken notice."
Robinet says the early success of the Model 3 shows there is demand for all-electric vehicles. Until last year, U.S. sales of plug-in models were growing, but limited.
In 2017, the auto website Inside EVs estimated the top-selling electric model in the U.S. was Tesla's Model S, with sales of approximately 27,000 vehicles. In 2018, Inside EVs' estimates Tesla sold just under 140,000 Model 3s in the U.S.. Tesla does not release sales by country.
The surge in sales for the Model 3 clearly demonstrates there's a larger market for an all-electric vehicle, even if it comes at a higher price. The average Model 3 sells for roughly $50,000.
Cadillac President Steve Carlisle admits he "obsessively" benchmarks and studies Tesla.
"They have done a lot to popularize electric vehicles and to get into the minds of consumers," Carlisle told CNBC after giving reporters an early glimpse of the all-electric Cadillac being developed.