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Tesla Roadster in Europe – Click above to watch video after the jump

Although it only recently became available in the market, the Tesla Roadster has sold only about 300 units so far in Europe (the first one sold in Europe, to Iceland's Gisli Gislason, the man behind Northern Lights Energy, is pictured above). With the Roadster sales nearly stagnant in the U.S. (at around 1,000), Europe represents a potentially significant growth opportunity. However, as Tesla Motors is discovering, the sleek, quick and green car is not as easy of a sell as one would expect in the European Union, comprised of a diverse collection of countries, each requiring different marketing strategies. While promoting the Roadster's green qualities will work well in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and the Nordic nations, it could work better to emphasize the Roadster's great handling and acceleration in places like Italy. Christiano Carlutti, vice president of European sales for Tesla Motors summed up the current situation to BNET's Jim Motovalli:
Tesla's image is a positive one, but the car is not well known in many European countries. And getting the message out about the Tesla Roadster is complicated by multiple languages and very dispersed media markets.The existence of the European Union makes it easier to trade across national borders, but people don't generally go to other countries to buy cars. And Switzerland – which has our biggest per capita market, and a wealthy population that is passionate about cars – is not a member.
Milan and Paris dealerships are being added to the current European roster, which also includes Munich, Monaco, Copenhagen and London. With the Model S slated for a 2012 release, this expanded dealership network, along with targeted marketing, will be crucial to ensuring that Tesla's more affordable model sees larger volume sales. Hit the jump to see Carlutti discuss Tesla sales in Europe.

[Source: BNET ]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      When Tesla VP Cristiano Carlutti told a blogger recently that Europe was a “complicated” market, he meant and in fact explained that the EU has 27 member countries and nearly as many languages, not to mention non-member countries that are obviously European such as Switzerland. But no one should interpret this as a “problem” -- rather a distinction from the relatively more homogeneous USA.

      In fact, Tesla has been very successful in Europe. The first EU Roadster was delivered about a year ago – yet in that relatively short time Tesla has already delivered about 300 cars throughout the continent, from Narvik, Norway (220 kms north of the Arctic Circle) to southern Italy. There are Roadster owners spanning the continent, quite literally from Ireland to Russia, from Cypress to Scandinavia.

      Had you actually looked into the issue of EV sales in Europe, you would have discovered that – quite contrary to a “problem” – Europe in many ways represents the world’s best market for the Roadster, which is twice as energy efficient as a leading hybrid. Northern Europeans pay roughly three times what some Americans pay for gasoline, while their electricity bills are not nearly so high, making an EV a tremendous value. (For instance, it costs about 1.5 pence to drive a mile in the Roadster in the UK, and by contrast it costs up to 35 pence per mile to drive a conventional high-performance sports car one mile.)

      Europe also has some compelling incentives for customers who make the environmentally and socially responsible choice. For instance, the Roadster qualifies for a 100 percent writing down allowance in the UK, an extremely valuable tax benefit for business owners. Roadster buyers also pay 0 percent additional tax on their cars in Norway and Denmark, compared to up to 180 percent for a comparable high-performance gas guzzler. There are some cities in Europe – such as Zermatt, Switzerland – where you can’t even drive a gas guzzler into the city center! And as you can probably guess, in those cities, Roadsters have the run of the road. But – before you assume inaccurately that the reason Tesla is successful in Europe is because of incentives – you should be fully aware that many countries do not have any incentives whatsoever, and Tesla has done quite well there too because it competes against conventional sports cars on performance and design. Germany, which has no tax incentives to speak of on EVs and is home to some of the world’s most discerning sports car fanatics, is Tesla’s second largest market to the USA, followed by Switzerland, which is far and away Tesla’s largest per capita market worldwide. UK, France, Scandinavia and the low countries (Netherlands and Belgium) have also become thriving markets for Tesla.

      Finally, Europeans are also very proud – rightfully so – of some of the progress that they’ve made cleaning up their electricity grids. In Norway, for instance, the hydroelectricity-dominant grid means that the Roadster is essentially carbon neutral! Ditto in Iceland, though replace hydro with geothermal. In Germany, customers can simply check a box on their monthly utility bill to get the cleanest possible energy (including a high percentage of solar and wind energy) delivered to their home. In Spain, Italy and Switzerland, we have customers who live “off the grid” and charge their cars entirely with solar energy.

      I'm disappointed that this article and others like it have failed to accurately portray Tesla's rapid and unqualified success in Europe, and I'm also unclear why AutoBlogGreen didn't make any real attempt to answer its provocative headline on this story. Does Tesla have a Europe problem? The answer is definitive: NO!

      Rachel Konrad
      Tesla Motors Europe
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have to remind all of you US that "Europe" is not a country. It is a collection of countries. "We" don't have bad economy, some parts of the Europe might have. We have different cultures and multitude of different languages. Different government systems and different foreign issues and connections. Different natural resources and access to resources.

      That said, there are few similarities too, like we are all "western" high-tech countries.

      Reason why Roadster might not sell here as well as it does in US is that cars are not big status symbols here. If rich man here wants to emphasis that he is "green person" he buys a electric scooter or uses mass transports to get from point A to point B. People use cars as tools more like extensions of their egos. Rich person might buy a car that is expensive because *he* likes/needs it, not because he needs to show other people that he has the money for it.

      Tesla Roadster, while being a good sport car, is still just a toy. An expensive toy.Two-seater with practically no cargo space. It sells only to people who like driving a lot (like me) and who do knows what it can do (like me) and who has the money to buy it (not like me) and who don't need big range (like me) or over 200km/h top speeds in sportcar (not like me, but rules out autobahn drivers that have need for speed).

      Model S OTOH is (will be) a high performance practical car with plenty of cargo space, lower price and all the benefits of BEV. I bet that sells a lot here. A lot more than ugly Leaf with city car range, or Volt with ICE downsides (or MiEV, or ...).
        • 4 Years Ago
        You can't do long trips with Roadster, not unless you are very careful with your range and know that you can charge in a way.

        As a commuter, just for price of Roadster you could get something like Mazda 2 which has gazillion times more cargo space and something like 30000 gallons of fuel. It is a toy because you can't even go grocery shopping with it and your wife/husband, because it doesn't have the cargo space for it. Very few people find that practical. You need to have at least two or three cars to make that practical option and owning that many cars just to have Roadster is not practical.

        Only a very rich person that doesn't care about price or practicality or doesn't do shopping would find that useful car. Of those any speed-freaks would buy something that goes fast instead of Roadster. That is a very limited customer base.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Toy?

        Sure, it's fun to drive so you can use it as a toy if you want...but I use mine as an everyday commuter, and for long trips. I use it just like I've used all of my other cars (which were hybrids and small diesels). I don't understand why people call it a toy when it's such a great tool.

        Well, except for accelerating on to the freeway. THAT is fun. Then I'm just playing with it...
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's the equivalent of $100,000. It's not that fast. It does not go that far without a charge. The gearbox design was stuffed up and instead of having the intended 2 gears it is stuck with one.

      Why would Europeans want one?

      For that price I can buy a petrol Elise for weekends and a high performance, high mpg diesel four door Audi for weekdays.

      The Elise only makes sense as a car because it is very light and handles as if it were on rails. This makes up for the poor quality and the fact that it is made of crappy plastic. Add weight and destroy the handling and there is no reason to buy.

      If you know someone who has bought one, can you post up their details so I can phone them and sell them a $500 bag of magic beans.

        • 4 Years Ago
        That "crappy plastic" would be carbon fiber. Roadster is faster than Elise in track thanks to enormous acceleration. That one gear gives it better performance than the original two-gear setting would have. Efficiency, range and acceleration. It has 200+ mile range which is more than any other production EV. It is very good road and daily commuter car, beats Porsche GT3 in track and is pretty much unrivaled in acceleration in its price class of all production cars. Especially at passing acceleration (because of that single gear).

        Other than that you are correct.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd hate to turn this to politics, but maybe it's just fear of the economy. One by one, it seems, countries in the EU are falling into bankruptcy and skyrocketing unemployment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Would you like your PIGS with some spam?

        Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, eggs, and spam?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Not sure if I agree. Other that then PIGS, Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Spain,
        Europe is doing fairly well. Angie and Cameron and Sarkozy are relatively conservative and they are restricting spending as much as they can. And their economies are recovering. The US on the other hand is going nuts on Keynesian spending, and our economy is drowning in debt. Odd that our unemployment is at historic highs and that our government is even less popular now than it was 2 years ago. But the good news is that our House, Senate and President are doubling down on debt!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Are you looking for a track car? Some of what you say might apply there. But I don't drive on the track, so I'm not concerned about the fact that it's limited to 125mph...I will never take it over 80. Going faster than I go is the only advantage to a second gear; I'd rather have the reduced weight and simplicity of a single gear. The quick smooth acceleration, however, I take advantage of every day. :-)

      I've heard the handling is twitchy at the limit, but again on public roads I'm never anywhere near the limit, and regular handling is amazing. It may not be as good as the Elise (which is about the best there is), but it is in no way "destroyed".

      244 miles without a charge is a long ways indeed. 360 days out of the year, I don't even *look* at the battery gauge because I know it's more than I need. I do have to watch it on a road trip, but frankly after a few hours in the car I'm ready for a break anyway. It does have the disadvantage of waiting for a charge; but only a few times a year, and only if you don't plan something else to do. That's more than offset by missing gas stations year-round. I *prefer* charging to getting gas; it's not just something I have to put up with.

      You are free to buy an Elise and an Audi if that suits your needs better, but no way would I ever do that. My goal in buying the car was to stop burning petroleum, and Elise+Audi does nothing for that. I also don't want to have to park, license and maintain two vehicles. Sure I wish it was a lot cheaper, but the Tesla fits my needs perfectly, and there was no other option to meet my goals. So I hope now you can understand why somebody would buy one. (Mind you, other owners I know have very different reasons...mine is just one case).
      • 4 Years Ago
      When was this video recorded? 1 month ago?
      At least before the Paris Store opened.

      Teslamotors has delivered more then 360 roadsters in Europe at this moment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tesla may have delivered more than 360 units, but they haven't sold 300 yet, according to the article. Considering they have only sold 1000 in a couple years here in the US those aren't bad numbers for a niche vehicle that will enable Tesla to build the more reasonably priced S in significant numbers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, i took delivery last week. Vin 0359.

        And trust me, i had to pay first.
        They aren't doing so bad... There still is a waiting list. You'll have to wait 8-12 weeks before the car will be delivered.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If anyone has seen the topgear's test of the car it makes this statment a little irrelevant "it could work better to emphasize the Roadster's great handling and acceleration in places like Italy." It's an Elise waddling around like it has a belly full of lead, not the kart handling of the Elise. It's fast in a straight line but the much cheaper Elise runs circles around it in the turns.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It certainly is a quick car, but it isn't really a *fast* car. I think the 125mph top speed might be an issue.

        It's no fun getting passed on the Autobahn or Autostrada by VW Golfs when you're driving a $100,000+ sports car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      These numbers are meaningless unless they can be compared with the number of $150K Ferraris and Porches sold for the same market and the same period of time. The last two years were awful.

      That's a respectable number for a luxury sport car in a down market. There's a reason Ferrari, Lambo and Porsche are no longer independent companies: sales can fluctuate too wildly with the economy.

      Model S should fare a lot better since it's actually a practical vehicle.

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Given Ferrari’s pricing politics, it seems safe to assume that Ferrari/Maserati is a fairly profitable enterprise for its 85 percent owner, Fiat. Indeed, with over $2.5b in combined revenues last year and an 11.5 percent operating margin, the Italian sportscar brands aren’t exactly dying of economic downturn-related causes."

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/fiat-five-year-plan-more-profit-from-ferrari-cheaper-maseratis/

        While it is true that Ferrari has reduced production of their cars to approximately 6,000 units in response to reduced demand for their cars, the truth also remains that Ferrari makes a profit selling cars.


        "...Porsche are no longer independent companies..."

        This is a very untrue statement.

        Porsche AG, I should point out, is indeed an independent company - privately owned, to be specific. In fact, Porsche is so successful that they are now the majority shareholder of Volkswagen AG.

        Their current big hit was just unveiled at the Paris Show:

        "Porsche AG said the new limited-production 911 Speedster may sell out by the end of October as orders for the sports car grow “by the hour.”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-30/porsche-s-275-000-911-speedster-may-sell-out-by-oct-31-duerheimer-says.html

        This is a $275,000 car, and Porsche will sell every one of the 356 examples they plan to build. Tesla wishes they had the brand equity of a company like Porsche.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Worldwide, Ferrari has delivered over 1200 units of the 458 Italia, which has been on the market for a slightly shorter period than the Tesla. The Italia's sticker price is about twice that of the Tesla
      • 4 Years Ago
      tesla's electric car is a good idea. If I see it in turkey I can buy it...

      urban cruiser
      • 4 Years Ago
      Have you driven a Tesla? It's an amazing car. The single-speed transmission results in an extremely smooth and tight driving experience. I don't want to drive an ICE car ever again -- with the Tesla you just decide what you want to happen and the car does it, with no latency and no worrying about the power curve.

      Having a higher top speed would be nice, but mostly pointless in a daily driver, since I don't get many opportunities to go over 125mph, anyway.

      Yes, I bought one. No, I don't want your magic beans. Thanks though!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Are you sure? I have beans in different colours (British spelling of colours).

        Your obviously very rich and can afford a niche car. For your average chap, at that price, it just does not make any sense. For someone well healed, it probably does.

        I would drive an electric car tomorrow if someone produced a cheap(ish) one. And it really annoys me that no one has.

        Can you give me some money towards one? I have some beans in return.

        :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dont-cha think it has something to do with all the EU govt.s enacting their self-destructive austerity measures in a time of economic downturn.

      The same thing happened here in the USA when FDR listened to the conservatives (aka idiots) and enacted an austerity policy and the economy tanked. It was called "The Recession inside the Depression" for a very good reason. And things didn't begin to pick back up again until government jobs programs like the WPA and govt spending projects were put into action.

      Why Pres. Obama is stupid enough to believe that the conservatives have a clue about how to manage an economy (and therefore why should he listen to a damn thing they say) is beyond me. They've proven time and time again over the past 100 years that they couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag, let alone manage the economy.

      Europe will flounder and languish until they engage their brains and start spending measures to counter the lack of private investment that economic uncertainty brings. I happen to like Europe so I lament that they are buying into the same right wing idiocy that destroyed the world economy in the first place. The right wingers are saying, "Here let me fix your economy (I know how) -- never mind that I just destroyed it and every other economy in the world. And never mind that I am proposing the exact same short sighted and failed ideas that actually caused the collapse. Trust me!" How dumb are you if you fall for it a second time!
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