This is the first article in a 5 part-series dedicated to the Frankfurt Auto Show, which I had the honour to visit today. I also had the chance to make a few interviews there, so I will capture all this for you so you don’t miss a bit! The most exclusive and perhaps the most relevant piece of information I have managed to get my hands on today is coming from Tesla. If you are a regular BSCB reader you will know that the market valuation of Tesla is currently above that of Fiat, and that the Model S broke for the first time into the monthly Top 20 of any country in the world in Norway last month where it ranked #15.
Speaking with Tesla Motors Europe Sales and Marketing Director Espen Pedersen, I learnt today that the Model S was the best-selling model overall in Norway during the first week of September, selling 134 units vs. 117 for the VW Golf (#1 year-to-date)! Although confined to one country, this is still an unbelievable achievement for a luxury electric car! It will be tough for the Model S to maintain this pole position over the full month of course, but Mr. Pedersen is hopeful it can stay inside the podium by the time September comes to an end… Needless to say I can’t wait to see that ranking in a few weeks! If this occurs, it will obviously be the first time a Tesla model ranks on any country’s podium and only the 2nd time an all-electric car manages to do so after the Nissan Leaf last April here in Norway.
We know Norwegians are first class lovers of electric cars but this is taking it to a whole new level. Interestingly, both the Model S and Leaf’s success in Norway are partly linked to the fact that not being part of the EU, homologation is a little easier as it roughly follows US standards. According to Mr Pedersen, other countries where the Model S has received a particularly warm welcome so far are the Netherlands and Denmark, something we will be able to verify when the next few months’ sales data becomes available.
Overall, Tesla is counting on 21,000 deliveries of the Model S in 2013, 5,000 of which are expected to come from Europe. In 2014 the projected figure is 40,000, with Asia Pacific added to the mix. Right now, Tesla’s focus is on the Model X SUV that should see the light in end 2014, before a smaller city car, codenamed Generation 3 for now, hits the road in 3-4 years with a bold target of 200,000 annual sales. What about the extravagant share price? For Mr Pedersen, Tesla is considered a tech company at the moment, not so much a car manufacturer, and is valued as such. Still, on paper, Tesla could currently swallow a few manufacturers with a 100-year history… Will it do it? Nope, but it’s always good to know.