Say what you will about Tesla’s future prospects, but it’s hard to deny that the Tesla Model S today is one of the greatest consumer-oriented cars on the planet. It’s beloved by a passionate user base and has garnered innumerable rewards — both for performance and for safety — since its release back in 2012. Just last month, the Tesla Model S P85D performed so well during testing that it actually broke Consumer Reports’ rating system.
And yet, despite all of the accolades, happy owners and incredible on-road performance, Tesla still hasn’t made significant inroads in Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about luxury vehicles. Not only have Model S sales in 2015 lagged behind comparitively priced Mercedes-Benz sedans, but even the quirky looking and all-electric BMW i3 has managed to outsell the Model S in Germany.
Devling deeper into this topic, Bloomberg writes that the German driving population may simply have more trust in tried and true German brands than the upstart company headed up by Elon Musk.
German consumers tend to be slow to adopt new products and may be more willing to trust domestic brands. In addition to that, Tesla hasn’t filled the vacant position of European sales chief… The company also has no plans to expand its German network of fast battery-charging stations.
What’s more, the publication also relays a blurb from the head of a Paris-based automotive think tank who says that the appeal of the Tesla Model S may be more inherently appealing in the United States than in other parts of the world.
Though not explicitly mentioned by the report, and yet clearly an issue for many prospective buyers, is that the fit and finish of the Model S still can’t compete with the type of luxury interiors typically seen in the likes of cars from BMW and Porsche etc. Indeed, Elon Musk himself has conceded this point and noted that Tesla will continue to make improvements in this regard.
To wit, check out this post on a Tesla Motors forum from a prospective buyer who ultimately opted not to get a Tesla.
Unfortunately, this is a very competitive class of cars and the Model S interior is far behind that of its rivals. The German automakers have evolved their cockpits to wrap around the driver just the right amount of tasteful appointments. I understand that the touchscreen eliminates the need for knobs and buttons and that’s what’s cool about the Model S. But it doesn’t eliminate the need for door pockets, handles, hooks, armrests, and possibly even a more traditional shift lever just because many of us are used having these things.
Fair points, and again, Tesla, to its credit, has made a number of noticeable interior improvements in recent years.
All this being said, it’s not as if Tesla is in dire straits. The Model S continues to sell like gangbusters even though non-North American sales could stand to be a bit higher. Additionally, the Model X deliveries are set to begin later this month. And of course, the underlying lynchpin which will determine Tesla’s fture is the highly anticipated Model 3, an electric car in the $35,000 price range geared for the masses.