Tesla in St Petersburg and Moscow? Realtors talk to Kommersant

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March 7, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– Kommersant.ru, translated by Tom Winter –

Elon Musk presenting the Tesla in Singapore

Tesla the manufacturer of electric vehicles has beens seriously contemplating entering the Russian market. The company is looking for premises for its own offices, showroom, and service centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Among the sites for their salons Tesla considers the trade centers “Seasons” and “Atrium” in Moscow. But entering the Russian market is unlikely to help the manufacturer dramatically increase sales.

Tesla is looking for premises for the opening of its own Russian representative office, two sources in the real estate market told Kommersant. Tesla’s representative did not deny this information, noting that the company does not disclose details about future openings in new markets. CBRE, Tesla’s exclusive consultant in Russia – declined comment.

One of those who spoke with Kommersant relates that the company plans to open a modest office. “Initially it was planned to place the office in Regus Horizon Tower, but so far this idea has not been worked out,” he says. According to Blackwood, the rental of a fixed workplace in this space, depending on the selected district or business center is 25-30 thousand rubles per month, which is 20% higher than the average market price. 

According to Kommersant‘s other source, the company is also interested in opening service centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg and renting a commercial space. “So, Tesla was offered a platform in the trade center “Seasons” in Moscow,” he adds. The press service of RD Group (developer of the facility) declined to comment. Another interlocutor names one of the possible places for the Tesla show room to be the Atrium trade center at the Kursk railway station. We have been unable to reach the main owner of the “Atrium” Ernest Rudyak. Colliers International Managing Partner Nikolay Kazansky believes that Tesla would more logically rent its own office in the center of Moscow, a separate showroom for the presentation of all models, and a service center with about 500-800 square meters.

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Tesla has existed since 2003 and is based in the US Silicon Valley. The main owner is Elon Musk, whose fortune Forbes previously has valued at $ 13 billion. Tesla’s revenue in 2016 was $ 7 billion, which is 52% more than in 2015. The volume of production amounted to 83.9 thousand electric vehicles, exceeding the 2015 amount by 64%. According to the agency “Autostat,” 39 Tesla cars were sold in Russia in 2016 – 33% less than a year earlier. Analysts call Tesla the most popular brand of electric cars in Russia, accounting for 47% of sales in this segment.

Tesla owner Alexander Chachava told Kommersant that there are at present no official service centers and charging stations for these cars in Russia. According to him, minor breakdowns are dealt with in ordinary car-care centers, in case of serious issues, owners are forced to call specialists from the European center in Hamburg. The average cost of such services is about € 5 thousand, Mr. Chachava estimates. As a rule, car owners set up charging stations in their country homes, he said. “It’s problematic to park at an apartment building because of the requirements of the fire department,” he explains. 

From the declarations of intermediary firms, the cost of Tesla cars in Russia now starts from 4 million rubles. David Kapianidze, the head of tax practice of the BMS Law Firm, points out that the size of tax rates for the import of electric vehicles now depends on their value: for cars in the price category up to € 8,5 thousand, the rate exceeds 48%.

The opening of the representative office can help accelerate the development of the brand in Russia, says Dmitry Babansky, of SBS Consulting. Given the rather low base of Tesla, in his opinion, they might expect the recovery of sales to the level of 2015, 50-60 cars per year. Mr. Babansky notes the trend of gradual growth of competition in the market: in 2016 the Renault Twizy entered the Russian market (in addition to existing Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Nissan Leaf). So, the brands already present in the market operate in more massive segments, which could mean risks of a decline in the market share for Tesla, says the expert.

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