By on April 14, 2008

carmageddon804.jpgNow that Tesla's started production on their all-electric Roadster (although there's been no indication that they've delivered a single car to single paying customer), the Silicon Valley start-up is expanding their "sales territory" into Europe. The San Jose Business Journal reports that Tesla's started taking orders across the pond as of last week. Tesla's promising to deliver 250 Elise-based, lithium-ion electric sports cars into the Eurozone as of spring 2009. And here's the kicker: Tesla is asking European buyers to pay 160 percent of the U.S. price. That's $156,630 for a car that sells for $98k here in The Land of the Free. If I was an American customer who'd paid the deposit, I'd raise holy Hell if Tesla sent even one car to Europe before satisfying its aspiring American customers.

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6 Comments on “Tesla Birth Watch 42: European Dreams...”

  • avatar

    Who among us seriously doubts that Tesla would ship to the Euros first, if they can pocket a 60% bonus by doing so? (That is, if they ship at all…)

    I’d pitch a bitch if I were waiting for my Tesla, but the cynical side of me notices it’s always the ‘Economy Class’ passengers who get bumped first.

    Who would have thought that paying almost $100,000 for a car is the same as berthing in steerage class?

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    By raising the price to Europe, Tesla is taking advantage of the high Euro insulating that market from dollar-price insensitivity and presumably defending their channel here, but are also truncating their ability to build a strongly export-driven business. What will they do when the dollar is resurgent (patience, it will be — we’ve been here before).


  • avatar

    Well… when you’ve emptied the pot of willing suckers in North America… Let’s go find a new bag of fools to take in.

  • avatar

    Actually, it may be a way for the car to survive; they no doubt are experiencing increased costs due to the prolonged “development” time. I’m sure that investor pressure is driving this development; suddenly, the Euro customers become the “early adopters” who will foot the bill for the domestic $100k “underclass”.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Phil Ressler
    …but are also truncating their ability to build a strongly export-driven business

    They don’t need to export their stuff to Europe… Teslas are (supposed to be) made in England. A lot of engineering and testing is also being done by Lotus. Which becomes more and more expensive for Tesla with the current exchange rates.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    They don’t need to export their stuff to Europe… Teslas are (supposed to be) made in England.

    Tesla is an American company leveraging a British chassis which they are adapting to their car and delegating assembly to that facility. Components comprising the car will have multi-national origins, with core technology heavily innovated in the US, if they get this thing out. But the roadster is just a capitalizing prototype and market proof-of-concept for a technology platform they hope to extend to a sedan built in the US. The business practices they establish now will inform how the company develops its business and for all practical purposes from HQ, selling the roadster to Europe is an export business and when (if) they get to the sedan this will be further substantiated by the point of origin.

    In the meantime, if the car can be economic at $100,000 in the US, the elevated Euro gives them an opportunity to price aggressively for market perception and share in the EU. They are forfeiting an opportunity to be market makers, truncating the market impact of their launch.


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