Tesla’s European Problem — Not Enough Stores

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Screenshot of Tesla stores & galleries in Europe via Tesla website.

Tesla has been expected to do something about this for years. With the Model 3 entering production, it became urgent. Now that the Model 3 is entering Europe, it is baffling.

Perhaps Tesla has a blind spot? Or HQ is looking at the map and does not realize that many of the icons for sales locations are for “Sales Representatives” — that is, a telephone number for someone who can answer some questions and organize a test drive, if luck is on your side. Remove all those salespeople from the map and it becomes very empty.

Tesla was perhaps being self-constrained when it came to any expansion while production capacity was limited and it couldn’t really provide cars to new markets. But that is history and does not matter. Let’s jump into today — some tables and notes.

There are no Tesla shops …

  • in the boot of Italy
  • in Spain outside Madrid and Barcelona
  • in most of Germany outside the biggest cities
  • in any countries east of Germany and Austria
  • and in France there are only two shops outside Paris, Lyon, and Riviera

In the countries with Tesla stores and galleries, these large metropolitan areas are lacking a Tesla store or gallery:

Metropolitan Area Country Size
Ruhr area Germany 7,000,000
Rome Italy 5,000,000
Central German Germany 4,000,000
Naples Italy 3,000,000
Lille-Kortrijk France-Belgium 3,000,000
Turin Italy 2,000,000
Valencia Spain 2,000,000
Gran Canaria Spain 2,000,000
Liverpool Great Britain 2,000,000
Bremen Germany 2,000,000
Liège, Aachen, Maastricht Belgium, Germany, Netherlands 2,000,000

(There are too many cities with fewer than 2 million residents to even list.)

In the following EU countries (the smallest are again omitted) there are no Tesla stores or galleries:

Country Population
Poland 38,000,000
Romania 20,000,000
Greece 10,000,000
Czechia 10,000,000
Hungary 10,000,000
Bulgaria 7,000,000
Slovakia 5,000,000
Baltic states 6,000,000
Croatia 4,000,000

In the USA, Tesla is trying hard to open shops in states where the dealer association has gotten bills passed that block Tesla. In Europe, there are no such constraints — this type of approval is EU wide.

The following counties surrounding the EU that could have interesting markets are also lacking stores and galleries:

  • Morocco
  • Algeria
  • Turkey (Istanbul is as large as London or Paris, and not a third world city)
  • Ukraine
  • Russia

In the EU, Tesla needs an extra 60–80 shops, most with at least some mobile service units. With the EU’s roaming regulations, the telecom contracts to connect the cars should not even be a serious problem.

Around the EU, another 30 shops would make a lot of commercial sense. In these countries, some paperwork is needed.

The potential demand that is sitting there, waiting to be served and stimulated, is enormous. BMW sells cars in these cities and countries. Mercedes-Benz and Audi sell cars there. Surely, many residents in these regions would love to take home a Tesla … if they could simply go into a store to check one out.

While this is a frustrating limiting factor for Tesla today, the plus side is there’s a large amount of space in which to grow and find new customers, especially with the mass-market Model 3 now on European roads.

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Maarten Vinkhuyzen

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric.

Maarten Vinkhuyzen has 280 posts and counting. See all posts by Maarten Vinkhuyzen