Tesla Motors Inc has been handed a rare opportunity by one of the world’s largest car makers. Volkswagen has, for the time being at least, ruined its reputation, and Elon Musk is going on the offensive in the firm’s home country.
Mr. Musk has announced that, despite sales numbers to the contrary, Germany is the second most important market to his firm beside the United States. Mr. Musk made the comments at the “Wirtschaft Fur Morgen” conference in the country.
The European industrial powerhouse also happens to be home to many of Tesla Motors’ rivals in the luxury car world, and a hotbed of firms that could compete in the EV space.
Tesla Motors looks to Germany
For the year through August 2015 Tesla Motors sold 958 Model S Sedans in Germany. That data comes from Fred Lambert over at Electrek.co who took the time to go through the registration data from the country. In the same eight months of 2014 Tesla Motors sold 520 cars in Germany.
Elon Musk, known for his hopeful view of the world, said that by the end of 2014 his firm would be selling around 1,000 cars per month in Germany. The firm managed to sell just 817 cars in the country for the full year 2014.
The Tesla Motors boss made the comments at a time when 1,000 cars per week was close to the max amount being made by his firm.
In the firm’s most recent earnings call, Mr. Musk said that Tesla Motors would not be able to reach an average production rate of 1,000 cars per week for the full year 2015. He added that when the Model X arrives and his firm is up to full production it will likely build and ship 1,600-1,800 cars per week.
Mr. Musk is in Berlin, Germany on Thursday in order to meet with Sigmar Gabriel, the country’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. He’s clearly taking the chance to push awareness of the Tesla Motors Model S and Model X in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal.
Tesla Motors builds German business
The Volkswagen scandal has yet to have any clear impact on sales of either diesel or electric cars. It’s not entirely certain that people will begin leaving diesel behind in the wake of the stories. If people do abandon cars using the fuel, there’s no direct path from there to electric.
Marex Spectron’s David Govett told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that it might cause a shift away from diesel. “People are going to start saying ‘Actually, we shouldn’t have diesel cars, let’s head toward petrol or electric,'” he said.
Elon Musk may like to hear that, but we’ll there is no sales data to back it up just yet. The Volkswagen story will take a while to sink in.
For the time being, however, Elon Musk and Tesla Motors will be able to score points in the country. Mr. Gabriel, the minister for Economics and Greenery said, in the wake of his meeting Mr. Musk, that EVs need to be incentivized in Germany.
That, unlike the Volkwagen news, is something that Elon Musk may be able to take to the bank, and use to get toward the 1,000 car per week sales he’s been waiting for.