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EU Market Situation and Outlook

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by SteveG3, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. SteveG3

    SteveG3 Active Member

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    #1 SteveG3, Mar 25, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
    thought it made sense to have a thread on the investor's forum looking at the EU climate re Tesla from an investor's perspective. I'm particularly hopeful some TMC members from the EU can share some of their observations on Tesla's public perception. obviously post whatever contribution you like, but I am going to frame how I see the current situation.

    at the moment, there's reason to think 2014 sales in the EU are slower than general expectations were say 6 months ago. not the least of the indicators of a slower ramp up was Elon alluding to this on the last earnings conference call (look for Elon's response to Brian Johnson of Barclays Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) news: Tesla Motors Management Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript - Seeking Alpha). fwiw, I think Tesla will meet or beat sales guidance for 2014 and beyond as I see China beating expectations by a wider margin than any shortfall in the EU (see the excellent thread Cankooo1 has started on the Chinese Market China Market situation and outlook).

    in the long term, I think Tesla will meet the general guidance in the EU for Model S sales they first suggested last Spring, roughly 15K/year. I base this on the objective competitive advantages of the car creating a market for Tesla (I consider several aspects of the car objectively superior, among them instant torque, the low evenly distributed center of gravity of the battery for handling, storage, safety advantage with the larger crumple zone, quiet, capacity for remote upgrade, fuel efficiency, and environmental impact).

    so, while I have pretty strong confidence in Tesla eventually finding its market share in Europe, I think there are a variety of more subjective factors that will determine how long it will take for Tesla to find that market share. Basically, there has been something of a Teslamania and an Elonmania in the U.S. since the spring of 2013 which has basically made for a massive free marketing campaign for Tesla. this seems to be repeating in China, but my sense is it's been different in Europe. this is where I think any of you in the EU can help the rest of us quite a bit.

    maybe there are ways we can try to quantify this subjective "mania" effect. I tried looking at google trends unsuccessfully a couple of days ago. this may just be my unfamiliarity with it... if anyone has gotten useful Tesla information on it, please chime in.

    I'll just mention a few ideas I've had about benchmarking this subjective aspect of public awareness that can accelerate the sales ramp up. here in the U.S. I've observed,

    1. frequent suggestions of "Tesla as the Apple of Cars," and "Elon Musk filling the void of Steve Jobs" (i.e. CEO/visionary that will impact the world (not to get into whether it makes any sense to compare the two... just that there's a perception of a prominent cultural role Elon is seen as stepping into)).

    2. my casual observation is that a very high percentage of automobile magazines have had Tesla on the cover, and that nearly all reviews have been in the strong to game-changing strong range (sidenote: this includes the NY Times review. their car reviewer suggested it was the biggest thing since the Model T. the John Broder story was months later, and Broder is not a car reviewer).

    3. at this point, almost universally, articles that clearly are written to put Tesla and/or TSLA in a negative light write that the car itself is outstanding if you can afford it. that is, it seems this is such a widely held perception among the public that the naysayers seem to feel obliged to write this so as not to have their stories dismissed as biased.

    4. reading comments sections of general news articles, most commentators seem to know what SuperChargers are and be familiar with the plan for a Gen III vehicle.

    So, I'm wondering how these benchmarks compare to what is going on in the various countries in the EU.

    Couple other areas I'm wondering about,

    in the U.S, Tesla looks great compared to general opinions of domestic automakers. have to imagine this advantage becomes a disadvantage in the EU. obviously, in Germany their is likely loyalty to domestic brands and skepticism of a foreign challenger. what about other EU countries... is their heavy brand loyalty in other countries to their domestic brands vs. Tesla, is their a sense of European loyalty to German brands in the rest of Europe? I've heard that the Japanese luxury brands have sold very poorly in the EU. Is this true in your country? do you think Tesla is likely to be similarly affected?

    Finally, we're all pretty well aware of the great value a Model S is in Norway. I'm wondering in which countries the Model S is better or worse a value than it is in the U.S. when you account for subsidies. Maybe a 85 kWh Model S without options is a good benchmark. Here in the U.S. that would be about $73,000 after EV incentives, whereas a BMW 5 series and a Mercedes E class start around $50,000 (without options)
     
  2. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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    Well I can comment only on the small country of Estonia as I live here :) But what I do see is that the interest for Tesla cars is huge. The day I got mine (3rd of December) I had to recharge my phones battery 3x because of all the people calling me from radio stations, various newspapers as well as various TV channels, one even sent a camera crew to the DMV the moment they heard that a Model S had arrived. This was followed by a flurry of news articles that lasted at least a week appearing in various locations and media outlets. I heard from the people who broke the story first that the Model S story (an interview I had given the day before that they posted the moment they saw me post on FB that the car had arrived) got them more clicks than all the other stories throughout 2013.

    Since then I created a FB Tesla Fan page, mid-December and it's now at 2300 followers. Considering Estonia in total has a population of 1.2M that's 0.2% of the entire population and it's grown fast, real fast and keeps growing. There are also media people who watch it and the moment I post some major Tesla related news it gets also picked up and reported. Tesla made an offer for people to get some inventory cars that they had (showroom cars) that I was allowed to post to the fanclub and the moment I did it was followed by 2-3 news stories featured on front pages for 1-2 days.

    When I drive around I get daily thumbs up, people stop and watch and I see that about 50% of those curious about the car know what car it is and are excited about it. Since the registration the car sparked a lot of discussions in various car fora including one of the longest discussions threads on BMW forum ;) Once I heard about those I registered and straightened out facts and organized with people meetups so that they can see the car. Even very skeptical forum of high torque american muscle cars was somewhat convinced over on the Model S and they even invited me as the 0-car for their unique cars race, sadly I had a dogshow in Latvia the same weekend so had to decline.

    Sales have been increasing since I got the car and from what I hear from my Tesla contacts they're really positively surprised that a small country, which is far outside their core market is showing a lot of interest in the car with order rates accelerating (the number of Model S's by end of this week should be at least 5 with most of them natural orders that were placed before my car arrived, the deliveries starting from next month are the after effect of the car arriving and should multiply this number in coming months). Estonia does have a good charging network and incentive program, but right now the biggest hinderance is banks who require the car to be registered in local DMV before it's financed requiring everyone who buys the car now to finance it 100% themselves until the car arrives. This is a major showstopper for a lot of people and I'm working on this to lobby a bank to accept Tesla official bill and shipping information as valid enough to finance the car before it's registered in Estonia. We'll see.

    In any case there is no lack of interest, it's still hard to park anywhere for extended periods of time without people gathering and asking questions and I think a test drive event will be a good boost as there are a lot of people who'd want to test the car before they buy. So we'll see how the sales pick up after such an event ;)

    What has surprised me most is that when most of the internet commentators are full of spite and negativity on most news articles, then the percentage of naysayers on the Tesla articles is really small. Most people consider it the first true EV that they'd buy (if it were cheaper) and very few are spiteful. So I think Gen-III will have tons of sales here :)
     
  3. Alfred

    Alfred Member

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    With about 300 Model S already on the road, sales are going well in Switzerland. The local sales and service staff are very busy - to put it mildly.

    Sales tend to cluster towards service points and currently only Winterthur (near Zurich) is operational. Recruiting and training takes time and sales will only spread as more service centers become active. We are used to relatively short distances and to have to travel e.g. from Bern to Zurich (132 Km) in heavy traffic, just for service, is unattractive if not simply unacceptable. Deliveries started in September 2013 and I would refrain from drawing any conclusions before at least a full year of deliveries is behind us.
     
  4. Cankooo1

    Cankooo1 Member

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    #4 Cankooo1, Mar 26, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    We do see that understanding of Tesla in Europe is slower than in US and it looks even slower than in China. The reason and the big difference in my opinion is that we have 28 states in EU and 50 in total, but each of them has different language, culture and legislation. Influencing from one state to another is much more difficult than in US and even in China.
    For example it is possible from Norway to influent to Sweden and Norway, for Estonia to make effect of Lithuania, for Bulgaria to Serbia and Macedonia but it is really limited. This requires differentiation in the management in each country.

    Anyway I believe we shouldn’t underestimate the small countries in Europe. We saw Norway small country big demand. If the people accept it and Tesla has separated approach to the citizens it can easily became most selling car in each one. I mean for the smaller countries because usually they do not have special treatment from big companies like Tesla. This applies only for small countries. Germany for example I strongly believe Tesla can have their hearts only in one case: if they open a factory in Germany.

    Anyway last December I was on international meeting in Hungary for business network which my company is part of. We were 16 companies there from 14 EU countries + Georgia. At the official dinner I have opened topic for Tesla and it was really surprising that almost everyone were aware and we had really wide and interesting discussion.
    (By the way Mario the event was hosted by Estonian company which I work with :smile:)
     
  5. hileyms

    hileyms Member

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    I had a test drive in London just over a week ago, I asked about test drives and were told that they are doing on average 20 test drives per day.
     
  6. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    Norway isn't in the EU, but it's been really interesting in following the shifting sentiment over the past few years.

    At first, the fans weren't that numerous, and when you mentioned electric cars, people would think of cars like the Think and Buddy. But over time, the amount of fans grew and grew and grew. There was a period where the comment fields were filled with new fans, who were mostly clueless about the car, but were plenty enthusiastic. That slowly shifted into a much more informed fan base. And the fan base is still growing. Now, it's not at all uncommon for me to overhear people talking about Tesla when I'm going about my day. Usually the focus is on the huge amount of cars you see out in the wild and/or how they wish they could afford one.

    There pretty much isn't a single day that there isn't a new story about Tesla in the news - there is massive interest in Tesla, and the media knows to exploit it.

    (Also, a mere 300 cars, Alfred? That's about half the amount of cars Tesla Drammen will deliver this week! See pictures here on the activity at this single store: Tesla Drammen = Maurtue Someone counted close to 150 Model S waiting for their turn in being delivered.)
     
  7. I agree with Cankooo1's sentiments re: small countries in Europe. In fact, I believe that in order to expand towards Southeastern Europe, Tesla should consider opening a store and service center in the area. Not really sure if that would be TM's priority now (obviously not, since greatest demand apparently is in China, and that market is several orders of magnitude greater than the entire market potential of Europe), but still, at some point, it would be beneficial to have a presence in this part of Europe as well.

    In that regard, my suggestion to TM would be to open a store and service center in Sofia, Bulgaria. There are several reasons for that, one of which is the apparent adoption of the Model S in my Eastern neighbor. Although the closest service center is in Vienna (distance 1150km), there are already 5 Model S's in Bulgaria, and apparently there are more on order (information from online community at ecars.bg), which shows that the car has been adopted despite its non-existent presence in the area. Also, a service center in Sofia would apply to several big cities in the area, which will gravitate towards it for regular or non-regular checks (a big benefit of it would of course be the availability of spare parts in case of vehicle damage due accident, vandalism or pure bad-luck. Those big cities, in no particular order would be: Belgrade (395km), Bucharest (350km), Skopje (230km), Thessaloniki (316km), Kavala (313km) and other surrounding cities, whose total population would exceed 30mil citizens. Now I know not all of these citizens would be able to afford a Model S, but there are those who can, and who will buy the best car ever made.

    P.S. I don't want to sound silly with these single-digit numbers of Model S's in the area (compared to Norway) but bear in mind that this is all without ANY incentives or any kind of support from TM or local governments. This is purely the car selling itself because is the BEST car ever made.
     
  8. Cankooo1

    Cankooo1 Member

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    The numbers are still really small for the region but one Supercharger and one Service center will change the view a lot. Furthermore Model S is expensive car but there is really big potential for Model E as the most new cars sold in Bulgaria and I believe in the neighboring countries are mid-range vehicles. So this will be really good investment in the future, because presence now means awareness in the future.

    Anyway I believe the next step in 2015 are Poland (which as far as I know is a big auto market), Czech Republic and Hungary. Peripheral countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Balkan states will be third wave of expansion.
     
  9. mrdoubleb

    mrdoubleb Active Member

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    Want to increase sales for Tesla in Europe? You need 3 things: Superchargers, Superchargers, Superchargers!

    But seriously, if there ever was a fragmented charging infrastructure... oh, boy. The EU is now trying to endorse a competing standard to Chademo; some electricity companies are doing their own thing randomly; some charging stations are free, others can be used with a credit card, yet others need a pre-paid card. Varies country to country, region to region. Good luck just hitting a road driving to a business appointment through the continent! (And when I say through the continent, I do not exclusively mean "within Western Europe", but really through the continent. From Hamburg to Budapest, from Amsterdam to Prague, from Split to Rome...)

    They need to make people comfortable with trusting there is a charger around when needed. Not Tesla alone, but in general, the EU should get their act together.

    And, by the way, a general EU-wide mandate or subsidy or other bonuses (limit/discard state taxes, VAT, parking fees, etc. until EVs reach at least 10-15% of all cars on the road) would be a really good idea.
     
  10. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Things are taking interesting turns in Germany.

    In German news, EVs were pictured as small econoboxes, with lacking safety, toxic batteries that pollute our aquifers after a mere 2 years, long tailpipes, and the range in winter - oh well. Repeated all over and over in the years on, even after the Tesla Roadster hit streets in Europe back in 2008. Trolls in online forums jumped on everything electric like maniacs. If Tesla ever got mentioned, the answer was "yeah, dream on." News coverage of Tesla's plans was sparse and came with a rat's tail of naysayer talk.

    But in 2012 that began to change. Some reporters flew to U.S. to test drive the car first hand and wrote stunned reports. Major outlets picked it up. The usual troll talk in forums was denounced as that - troll talk. "Better get your facts right, a Tesla CAN do 200 miles."
    Then EU deliveries started, with drive events for the press. Even more positive stories in serious publications: auto motor sport. manager magazin, ADAC ecotest. It was no longer viable to copy'n' paste the usual anti EV rat's tail to the article - writers got shredded in the comments section and quickly refrained from that.
    Record registration numbers in Norway made it into public news outlet (Tagesschau) the most trusted one because it is not privately owned.

    A different play began. Writers wondered why such a compelling car was built in America, not by the finest car makers in the world here in Germany. Years of research and endless lineups of alt fuel concept cars were scrutinized if they ever got to fruition - the result (none) was reported and discussed. Questions were raised if German car makers were about to miss the boat.

    Then a fiery wake up call by Lars Thomsen on youtube went viral in the net and swamped the in boxes of automotive engineers and managers. I don't know any reactions but am fairly sure there were interesting discussions to be held behind closed doors.
    Publicly, all German car makers are in denial/we'll do hybrids instead/we'll make compliance cars/we need subsidies!!!

    Public reactions to my car are quite mixed. Few people know what a Tesla is. Most are floored by the sheer existence of that car, the drive train, the exterior, the interior, the design, the cargo space, the jump seats, you name it. Most can't believe what their eyes see when I show them the standard household adapter for the Tesla mobile connector. The concept of simply charging at home for 20 Euros instead of filling up for 70 boggles their mind.
    People around here take little notice (there are lots of fine cars on the streets here), they assume its just another Audi sportback or Jag or Maserati.
    Veeeery few start to consider a Model S as their next car. German Angst as its best:
    "what if the car fails on me? Can't bear the ridicule of the neighbors."
    "price"
    "batteries won't hold up"
    "fires"

    Serious contenders (a very minor percentage) ask
    "where to charge on a road trip"
    "where is the next service center"
    and are quite confident with the answers as they learn of Tesla's expansion plans.

    So a long way to go. But cars on the road and Superchargers will accelerate that.
     
  11. imherkimer

    imherkimer Member

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    Thanks for the very informative post, VolkerP. Gives me a good idea of how the situation is evolving for Tesla and EV's in Germany.
     
  12. hummingbird

    hummingbird Member

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    Thank you for your wonderful post VolkerP. Very informative. I have few questions.

    What city are you reporting from? Do you think the situation is the same in other cities in Germany?

    Forgive my ignorance, but who is Lars Thomsen? I don't speak German, can someone provide us with a brief summary of what he said in the video?
     
  13. maoing

    maoing Active Member

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    #13 maoing, Mar 26, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    Tesla Sales In Norway Blowing Records Out Of The Water This March

    quoted from http://seekingalpha.com/user/2372261/instablog

    A person tracking new car registrations via official channels have confirmed that until yesterday (24. March) a total of 898 Model S have been registered in Norway in March. Today, at 8pm, there had been another 177 Model S registered, bringing the total for the Model S so far to 1075.
    Some owners who have yet to receive their cars have reported that their deliveries are now scheduled for Saturday, which means that the deliveries are probably planned to continue at the same pace on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and parts of Saturday (and possibly Monday).
    If we take a closer look at the numbers, they should be at least as follows for Q-on-Q growth:
    Q4: October/November/December 2013: 98/527/553 = 1178 cars
    Q1: January/February/March 2014: 132/431/1075+ = 1638+ cars
    That is a Q-on-Q growth of at least 39% in the first quarter from the forth quarter (which was the first quarter of Tesla Model S deliveries in Norway).

    Really amazing Noway sales in Q1!
     
  14. hummingbird

    hummingbird Member

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    In the U.S. federal incentive is $7500 + state (e.g. California is $2500). What's the government incentive in Norway for electric cars?
     
  15. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    To avoid a massive derail - let me give you the short version. Electric cars and hydrogen cars (not REEVs/EVERs) are exempt from purchase taxes, which usually start at $10-20k for a small car and can run over $100k for something like a BMW M5. Fueling costs for an EV are about a fifth of what it will cost to fuel a frugal diesel car (gas is about $10/USG), and 90% of our electricity comes from clean renewable hydropower. EVs are exempt from toll road fees, and can drive in the bus lanes (saving up to 30 minutes commuting into Oslo). EVs get free parking in all public parking spaces, and free charging at thousands of charge points around the country. EVs also get free ferry rides (for the car, not the driver) and a $400 reduction in the annual car registration fee. But let's not make this thread about this topic - it has been discussed before.

    Interesting post, Volker. My understanding of your post is that Tesla still has a lot of work to do in Germany. I hope Tesla can roll out the superchargers rapidly, and I hope they are constantly assessing whether to roll out battery swapping in Germany. Germany is one of the few places where battery swapping can make sense.
     
  16. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    What Yggdrasil said is true , but keep in mind the car taxes including sales tax are very progressive both for weight and emmisions, hence why a M5 has much higher taxes than a Prius. At least 10 times as much. Also keep in mind we are only 5 mill people and a regular month has total car sales of 10 000-12 000 so that Tesla alone is over 10% of the total market this month is very likely. EV's might push 20% of total sales for march.

    I'm also curious about Germany does the lack of active safety features like, blind-zone warning, lane-departure etc. seem like a problem for Tesla sales there?

    Cobos
     
  17. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Thanks a lot. I am at Daimlers doorstep near Stuttgart. Seeing a Merc here is as common as a Toyota Corolla elsewhere. I think in most other areas of Germany, you will see a car mix at roughly half MSRP, or mostly cars that were bought 2nd hand. So Tesla has a big price disadvantage, even with the Euro rising vs US$. There are no price incentives, just an annual car tax waiver that is the financial equivalent of 3 tanks of gasoline :mad:

    He is a trend researcher and P85+ owner. His talk was discussed on TMC over there. There is a link to a machine translation. Lars is on the TM forums: Anyone who has the 60-75 mph hum please respond here | Forums | Tesla Motors.

    Thanks. Superchargers will help for sure. The swap stations would defy the "can't go on forever" argument.

    It is a problem. I'd say it is a problem of perception of Model S rather a problem of Model S. But buying cars is all about perception. Every Golf or Peugeot here has folding mirrors and PDC, just 2 that you can now get in a Tesla but only after upgrading to the tech package. Without these, Model S appeals more to the performance car enthusiast than to the reliable daily-driver-haul-kids-around car buyer.
     
  18. Fast Laner

    Fast Laner Member

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    Hallo Volker,

    please be so kind and explain to the forum members how car dealing/selling/buying is like in germany between audi/bmw/mercedes/vw and big car leasing companies and their re - selling these 2nd hand cars to the open public.

    Danke

    Fast Laner
     
  19. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I have little expertise to offer there. I once bought an Audi from a privately owned VWAG dealer. In Germany there is a mix of factory owned and privately owned dealerships. No protection laws that I'm aware of. The private ones have to obey strict rules given by the manufacturer WRT appearance, product presentation and so on. In the service department, I'd say they can do what they want as long as not totally screwing over customers :frown:

    I have no first hand experience to offer WRT leasing companies and the 2nd hand market. But 2nd hand car dealers are not in high public regard :wink:
     
  20. Pate

    Pate Member

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    Here in Finland we do not yet have official Tesla presence, but a local premium car importer started to import Tesla Model S late last year.

    When I ordered in the middle of January they had about 25 orders. They originally expected to sell around 10 cars this year, and were very surprised by the interest. They have upped their sales goal to 100 cars this year, and the latest information I have (about a week old) is that they have already close to 40 orders.

    Tesla Model S has been on the cover of local car magazines, and had a very positive review on the major car review TV program "Start!" this month. There have also been radio programs, magazine articles etc this month, so looks like the car importer has decided that it is worth it to have the word out about the car.

    Finland has no incentives for electric cars, not counting the fact that EVs pay the minimum CO2-based tax (same for all cars with CO2 emissions less than 66g/km, if I remember correctly). There is even an additional tax that you need to pay for an EV (and for diesel-powered cars) which you don't need to pay for petrol cars!

    The general public is still very sceptical about electric vehicles, mostly due to the range loss at low temperatures. EVs are believed not to work in below -30C temperatures, or if the car itself works, you will freeze to death driving one. :smile:

    There are currently less than 200 full EVs registered in Finland (of which only something like 30 are privately owned), and around 8000 hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicle adoption is expected to increase, though, and there have been talks about implementing purchase incentives at some point.

    So, in practice Finland is still in the "wait and see" state.

    Pate
     

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