Tesla Motors has positioned itself well in the U.S. as a manufacturer of high-powered electric sports cars. Unfortunately things are not easy for Tesla in the biggest car market of Europe, and the U.S. firm is finding it hard to convince consumers there to buy its cars, says a report from Bloomberg.
Tesla needs to win in Germany
According to data provided by the motor vehicle office, KBA, the firm has been able to sell only 958 units of the Model S priced at 81,800 euros in Germany in the eight months through August. In the same period, Mercedes-Benz, which sells the much more expensive S-Class sedan, has been able to sell 5,149 units of the vehicle. BMW was able to sell around 30% more units of its i3 electric car in comparison to the Model S.
Tesla has achieved individual successes in the Netherlands and Norway, and now the company and celebrity CEO Elon Musk need to challenge German brands for cementing its position in Europe. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, told Bloomberg, “It’s not enough to be successful in Norway; you have to be successful in the big markets. If you make it in Germany, you can make it everywhere.”
More rivals lining up
Last week’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt gave a clearer view on potential competition for Tesla’s Model X, which was notably absent from the event. Audi presented the E-tron Quattro, which is a zero-emission concept SUV. Porsche promised that within five years it will present an electric sports car, while BMW said it has more green “i” models on the way. Tesla Motors’ booth was quiet with very few people, while the booths of its German rivals were crowded and pumping out music.
Tesla says it will benefit in the long run by the moves made by its German rivals. Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes said the company has a long-term goal of getting people to drive electric vehicles and will need the co-operation of traditional automakers to achieve it. Reyes said the “public commitments” made by tGerman companies like Porsche or BMW are a “vindication” of what Tesla is trying to do.
Despite the comments, the fact that German consumers tend to be slow at adopting new products and might trust domestic brands more are major challenges for Tesla.