Tesla’s UK sales are rubbish – is Top Gear to blame?

UK sales have been as lukewarm as a pint of bitter, and right-hand drive Roadsters are piling up unsold.

 

Tesla’s been tooling down the freeway at an impressive clip lately – it’s moved over 2000 Roadsters, and sold out the entire first year’s production of the Model S, which it hasn’t even built yet. As we reported yesterday, the company’s surging stock price should keep its batteries charged for some time to come.

Across the pond however, I’m afraid there’s a bit of a sticky wicket – UK sales have been as lukewarm as a pint of bitter, and right-hand drive Roadsters are piling up unsold. In a recent interview with The Detroit News, CEO Elon Musk blamed “the continuing adverse impact on the Roadster via reruns of Top Gear, the UK’s leading car show.”

The program’s infamous 2008 episode saw a Roadster turn in a humiliatingly poor performance in a road test, and famously snarky host Jeremy Clarkson quipped “in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work.” Tesla, claiming that the failure was staged, sued for libel, but lost. The ongoing drama has been a boon to automotive pundits, though none of us have proven any more eloquent than Musk himself, who said, “the fundamental thing with Top Gear is that the show was about as authentic as a Milli Vanilli concert.”

Will Tesla’s sales in Blighty be forever blighted? Will Messrs Musk and Clarkson kiss and make up behind the wheel of a Model S? Will Milli Vanilli make a comeback, propelled by Top Gear fans? For the answers to these and other similarly important questions, don’t miss the next episode of As the EV Charges!