With Tesla making aggressive moves into Europe, someone with van der Sande's background may be exactly what the company needs. Tesla however, must provide some product for van der Sande to sell. With the recent delay to the Model S development program, Tesla really needs to crank up production and deliveries of the Roadster in order to generate the cash flow needed to keep the lights on. From what we hear, that is starting to happen, but it looks like they will also need some cash help from the government to move forward.
Tesla Motors names new senior vice president of global sales, marketing and service
Senior Harley-Davidson executive Michael van der Sande joins leading electric vehicle manufacturer to drive growth in the global marketplace
SAN CARLOS, Calif.--Former Harley-Davidson executive Michael van der Sande has joined Tesla Motors as senior vice president for global sales, marketing and service, effective immediately. He replaces Darryl Siry, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.
Van der Sande is the latest executive with deep automotive expertise to join Tesla. Executive Vice President Mike Donoughe, who spent 24 years at Daimler and Chrysler, is overseeing Tesla's Model S and Roadster programs. Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja was formerly a controller at Ford. Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen, former director of design for Mazda North America, is designing the Model S.
Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk praised Siry's contribution to Tesla and emphasized that Siry had played an important role in establishing Tesla's brand identity in the past two years. For the next phase of Tesla's growth, the company needs van der Sande's industry expertise and detailed understanding of regional market nuances, Musk emphasized. Van der Sande joins the executive staff as Tesla prepares to open new showrooms and service centers throughout the United States and Europe.
"As director of strategic planning at Harley Davidson's headquarters and then head of Harley's Europe, Middle East and Africa operation, Michael helped develop an incredibly strong sense of community among customers – a Harley owner wouldn't be caught dead on any other brand of motorcycle," Musk said. "That's exactly the sense of loyalty we want to inspire for Tesla."
Van der Sande, 43, joined Harley-Davidson in 1996 and was most recently vice president and managing director for operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, overseeing more than 370 dealerships in nearly three dozen countries. Previously, he served in several executive positions for the iconic American motorcycle company, including director of strategic planning at corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Prior to joining Harley-Davidson, van der Sande held various marketing and dealer development roles at Nissan Europe and Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars.
Van der Sande, a Dutch native who speaks four languages fluently and has lived in seven countries, brings to Tesla extensive knowledge of the European regulatory and consumer market. In the spring, Tesla began taking orders for the all-electric, zero-emission Roadster in Europe, and Tesla will begin EU deliveries in spring 2009. The company expects to sell roughly half of its next model, the all-electric, zero-emission Model S sedan, in Europe. Tesla also plans to expand to Asia.
Van der Sande, whose grandparents drove in the famed Monte Carlo Rally in the French Riviera, holds a racing license and has been fascinated by classic and sports cars since childhood. He will work out of Tesla's London office and spend significant time in the company's Silicon Valley headquarters.