Tesla Birth Watch 42: European Dreams

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Now 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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4 of 6 comments
  • Justjim Justjim on Apr 15, 2008

    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.

  • Shaker Shaker on Apr 15, 2008

    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".

  • Mirko Reinhardt Mirko Reinhardt on Apr 15, 2008

    @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.

  • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Apr 15, 2008
    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. Phil