US giant targets luxury shoppers
Electric car firm Tesla plans showroom near Harvey Nichols
Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors wants to open a showroom in Edinburgh’s most fashionable street.
The US company says Multrees Walk, home to top retailers such as Harvey Nichols, Burberry and Hugo Boss, is the ideal location for a concept store.
“It is an iconic retail destination with a genuine global reach,” the company says in an application to the city council.
“By positioning the store in such a premium location, Tesla aims to create a one of kind international destination that effectively communicates the creativity, innovation, sustainability and environmentally friendly nature of the brand.
“This will be done via innovative product displays with interactive features, onsite product experts and test drives.”
Tesla’s proposals will be regarded as an early vote of confidence in the planned regeneration of the area which involves replacing the outdated St James Centre with a new shopping and leisure district.
It is also seen as a measure of the city’s green energy ambitions.
Tesla was founded in 2003 in Silicon Valley, California to develop sustainable transport and bring electric cars to a mass market.
The company says it has proved that electric vehicles can be a clean, attractive and viable alternative to petrol powered vehicles. Further models are being developed, with the Model X SUV due to launch this year and a third model, expected to be a mass-market compact saloon, to follow in 2017.
In addition to developing its own vehicles, Tesla is cooperating with other established vehicle manufacturers by sharing battery and power train technology with the goal of accelerating the adoption of electric vehicle technology.
Tesla cars are on the road in 37 countries and the company has more than 125 sales and service locations. In the UK, Tesla operates a store in Westfield London and dealerships in Gatwick, West Drayton and Birmingham with further stores scheduled for Manchester and Bristol and other UK cities. It is aiming to open a flagship retail store in central London.
The company has established similar retail locations across the United States and Europe, with recent store openings in Hamburg, Berlin, and Geneva.
The store concept is about showcasing the product and technology and educating the public in a familiar retail environment, rather than establishing a traditional car showroom or dealership with associated pressured sales environment.
Customers will be able to configure and order their vehicle from the store, but they will not drive away on the day of purchase, nor will cars be delivered from the store.
The Multrees Walk location will take a prominent position within Tesla’s retail network as a centre of excellence for education, events and brand awareness.