Tesla in South Africa

Tesla in South Africa

I am curious if Tesla has any plans to open a store in South Africa? Elon's birthplace is a beautiful place with a critical mass of high end buyers able to afford a Model S but sadly it is one of the worst run and most dangerous countries on earth... Not a great place to do business and insane import duties for cars... Maybe after the UK version is out? I wonder if Elon ever gets sentimental for the place. Southern Africa (Zuid Afrika, Rhodesia, Namibia and Botswana) has a way of getting in your blood like no other place does, even if you were not born there... Amazing place, wonderful people (98% of them) but bloody dangerous! I was attacked in broad daylight in J'burg last visit. But can still remember the beauty of the Cape and warmth of the common people from every walk of life from setting out along the garden route to the mines at Kitwe...

Al1 | November 27, 2014

I don't see any country on the planet where Tesla won't sell in just a few more years. Why it doesn't sell in South Africa right now? Because there are very few countries indeed where Tesla sells. And that list includes countries much bigger than South Africa, e.g. India, Brasil, Mexico, South Korea.

There is no point to sell cars in South Africa if it sells more cars than it can produce in markets of strategic importance for Tesla like North America, China and Western Europe.

Kamdarmz | December 29, 2014

I agree with you Terry, I dont think many of those commenting here know a thing about South Africa , Have any of them actually been here? Have you seen our roads? Infrastructure? Have you seen the CARS we drive? We may have crime , but that does not mean we dont have the spending power. High end luxury vehicles like , Bmws 7 , Merc S , Porsche , and others including many Exotic sports cars are very much common sight on our roads, a good car costing a million rand will easy sell in Sa , whatever the import taxes . BMWs launching their I3 here in March? Iv been told the I8s already on an almost 9 month waiting list, I was told by a sales rep at a Motor show this year that the Leaf is already selling very well and there is a waiting list for it. We may have a problem with charging stations in the interim, but this can be easily solved. If we can open up 10 burger kings within a few months, im sure the same can be had with charging stations,Though I have seen charging bay markings being put up in some of our malls already. I personally believe that the Tesla may very well be missing the boat in SA . Its going to be pretty hard to "catch up " once the established guys have gotten a foothold in the market with their brand of ev vehicles. From what Iv noticed , We south Africans are very brand conscious, and we perceive brand with quality, an Unknown brand such as Tesla ( Unknown to many South Africans) may find it difficult to win over say someone looking at an Ev BMW . Or a Golf E-tron? But that's my opinion. The sooner Tesla launches a car in SA , and show us something Different, the faster their cars should sell and the more accustomed will the general population be towards the brand.

Red Sage ca us | December 30, 2014

Tesla Motors has no intention of being known as a luxury car brand. They started on the high end as an axiom of survival. They planned from the outset to use those cars to build revenue. That must be accomplished using their limited resources wisely. So Tesla works in those nations that show the greatest potential for profitability in the short term, and for expansion in the long term. Sales of Model S and Model X will fund development of Model ≡ and eventually other vehicles for sale to the masses.

Tesla Motors wants to offer their cars everywhere. But however dynamic or influential they may be, that doesn't change the fundamental fact that this is a small company. There is too much risk associated with having a mere representative presence in certain territories. There is a reason why there are multiple Superchargers and Tesla Stores in Norway, Canada, and China, but none in Mexico, India, or South Africa.

Examine the differences between those territories and you'll have the answer as to why Tesla Motors has no presence in some of them.

Brian H | December 30, 2014

Tesla has no fear of such competition.

A. It wants maximum competition.
B. Its range and quality ("Best car in the last 20 years") make demand instant and automatic.

marinusvz | July 22, 2015

Surely South Africa is a bigger market and has more potential sales than Hawaii??

South Africa alone has double the population of all of Australia. South Africa also has proximity to more other countries than Australia. Australia is more isolated geographically and logistically than South Africa.

So why is Tesla in Hawaii and Australia, but not in South Africa? Economically and logistically I don't think it makes sense that Tesla can be in Australia and Hawaii, those very remote places, and not in South Africa.

And most luxury cars in South Africa are driven by black people, since apartheid ended the economy in South Africa has more than doubled, in spite of many skilled people leaving, for various reasons, racism amongst others... at the same time many skilled black people started moving to South Africa. Even some rich black people from the USA, but also the diaspora and also rich people from other African countries.

The idea that black people are poor or stupid is just wrong. I know many black people that speaks way better English than most Afrikaans white people. In fact, many black people I know would still stay in a flat and already drive a luxury car like a 'latest number' Mercedes or BMW, so in a big way the market is actually beneficial to sellers of cars. In spite of the high taxes on cars.

The Electrical Grid in South Africa actually is still relatively good. But even if it wasn't, that is a reason FOR rolling out electrical cars and solar power charging stations in Africa, not a reason AGAINST it. It is like cell phones that are so amazingly popular and widespread in Africa. It is just an inherently more distributed approach to get your energy from the sun, rather than from some distribution network, whether trucks carrying fuel or the electric grid.

The governments want to stimulate the economies in Africa. Zuma the president is very worried about the fact that our energy needs are growing faster than our energy supply (because of the GOOD economy), and perhaps they can be convinced to lower the import taxes if the argument is made that it would stimulate the economy, by lowering the needs on the grid due to the mayor investment in solar power.

So all in all, if you can ignore the racist comments of some of the other people in this post (who forgets that America is in fact the oppressive and dangerous place where police can murder black people with no repercussions, as we've seen recently in more than one case), and you take a more balanced view, and you just go for market/economic reasons alone, I really really really would very much think there is a good case to be made to open a Tesla shop or three in South Africa sooner rather than later. Would it make a difference if some of us invest money in Tesla? What would make the difference. How can we make this happen. Please?

hgdekock | July 27, 2015

Well in a few month Ill be moving to Hong Kong for at least 3 years. I already ran into 2 Teslas on the road. I hope I can get a Tesla while in HK and afterwards, If I go back to SA Ill be taking it with.

zanokuhle | August 10, 2015

The Daytona Group sells high-end vehicles here in South Africa and seems to be doing really well. The owner says (in a 2013 article) that he has his eyes set on Tesla and Fisker:

zanokuhle | August 10, 2015

Facebook page for South African Tesla Motors enthusiasts:

Red Sage ca us | August 12, 2015