As little as two years ago, the Model S and Model X, the two signature models from Tesla, the US based electric car marque founded by Elon Musk, were available for customers in the UK to order. Fast forward to 2023, and its future is suddenly looking more shaky.
Those customers who were interested in either model in the time since were able to place an order, but were advised that both the delivery date and the actual price was subject to change, with a view to being confirmed in the near future.
Now, Tesla have released a terse statement via email in the last couple of days, saying that neither the Model S or Model X would be available for customers in the UK to order as a right-hand drive car "for the foreseeable future", instead advising that those with outstanding orders can choose either £2000 of credit towards a Model 3 or Model Y, purchase a left-hand drive variant of the Model S or Model X from their remaining inventory, or cancel their order entirely.
Reports are also coming through that customers in Ireland and Australia have been informed of exactly the same statement, saying that the right-hand drive version is likely to be unavailable in these countries anytime soon and of the same options that are now available to them. So where has it gone wrong?
Well, Elon Musk stepping back from overseeing Tesla to focus his efforts on his - thus far - controversial tenure at Twitter has undoubtedly not helped matters (he actually sold some of the existing Model S and Model X stock to finance this move). But unconfirmed whisperings seem to be pointing towards Tesla as a whole cutting their costs.
It is also true to say that currently, they are a bigger deal and more popular Stateside than they are in international territories, the UK included. But that’s before you consider that their signature models are now 10 years old, during which time, almost all the legacy car manufacturers have cottoned onto and are now producing more affordable and efficient models that are electric or hybrid powered.
Recent financial postings aren't looking too promising either; Tesla's gross profit margins peaked in December last year, at 25.6%. And although they turned in $12.6 billion in profit in Q4 2022, their much hyped Cybertruck model has now been pushed back for production until 2024. Compare this to the recent roll out and popularity of, say, Ford's electric powered F150 pick up truck, and the difference between both is clear.
The apparent inability to deliver on promises, and have the infrastructure and business acumen in terms of design and manufacturing in place to make the Model S or Model X a truly worldwide phenomenon have exposed Musk's hubris and ability to talk a good game for what it is - hot air. And whilst we are reluctant to engage in premature grave dancing, unless things turn around soon, then quite simply, Tesla is looking like it is in danger of becoming the 2020s equivalent of DeLorean.
If you had a Tesla Model S or Model X right-hand drive on order, and are disappointed to now be missing out, then never fear. You can still book to drive a Tesla Model S P90D exclusively at our London Motorsport Academy venue in Hertfordshire for either 8 laps, 16 laps or in a 20 lap experience alongside the Dodge Viper SRT VX. Visit our Tesla Driving Experiences page today to browse and book from available dates on our Tesla Experiences Calendar or purchase one of our open Gift Vouchers.