Tesla has disappointed many an Aussie buyer today, announcing quietly that the Model S will not be made in right-hand-drive, cancelling any orders placed by Australian and New Zealand prospective buyers.
While the original Tesla Model S and X were made in Right-Hand drive, the latest iteration of the vehicle, while remarkably similar in design, has only been made available in left-hand-drive configurations.
The impressive “plaid” version is the pinnacle of Tesla’s electric vehicle technology, and the decision to cancel orders in Australia and New Zealand leaves potential buyers very much on the cusp of walking away from the innovative car brand.
Since the first Tesla’s arrived in Australia almost a decade ago with literally no electric opposition the market has moved on, and there are now electric options from the biggest brands and new brands in the market.
Prospective Model S buyers will be offered the chance to buy a Model 3 or Model Y of course, but that’s like offering a 1 series BMW to someone who was waiting on a 5 Series. They are very different cars.
For Tesla they will need to try and push those buyers into the performance end of the smaller vehicles, while the likes of BMW and Mercedes will be able use this as an opportunity to woo back that clientele to the premium European marques.
With prices well north of $150,000 the Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes range will be in the shopping list of these buyers.
There’s no official statement from Tesla, other than a glitzy announcement that the Model S will be coming to Japan. Outspoken Tesla boss CEO Elon Musk is quick to promote incremental releases of the company’s vehicle software, but doesn’t seem keen to expand on just why this Model cannot be built in RHD.
Some speculate a fundamental engineering flaw in the new design makes it impossible to engineer a factory solution to produce right-hand-drive. If that’s the case, it draws into question the company’s ability to be a global player.
If that’s not the case, they should just come out and say that RHD markets aren’t a priority or they can’t make it work financially.
Either way, it’s left many prospective buyers very disappointed