Musk ignores affluent Russians begging for Tesla’s Model S image

While almost 100,000 people from the country that was once poised to overtake Germany as the largest auto market in Europe follow Musk’s unofficial social media page, the Tesla co-founder has not opted to bring his coveted green Model S there.

While the California-based electric automaker is promoting its dream car – the Model S electric luxury sedan – all around the world, Russian enthusiasts have to go through ordeals and incur massive expenses to own one. For example, a wealthy software executive who decided to axe his BMW X6 in favor of the svelte Tesla Model S had to go to the US to buy car and then turn in another $12,000 to fly it to Moscow, where it had to bank another $50,000 to clear customs. “I love gadgets and this thing is pure gadget, like an iPhone on wheels,” comments another Tesla fan, Ivan Streshinskiy, who manages Alisher Usmanov’s $14 billion fortune as head of USM Advisors.

Other affluent Russian owners include billionaire Roman Abramovich and bankers Herman Gref and Andrei Akimov, who chief OAO Sberbank and OAO Gazprombank, Russia’s biggest and third-largest lenders, respectively. The members of the Tesla “fan club” believe the company could sell as much as 2,000 Model S sedans and 2,000 of the coming Model X crossovers each year thanks to the publicity of such prominent owners and a class of wealthy people famed for indulging deeply into conspicuous consumption. For example, while the Russian auto market is heading towards disaster, Russian buyers spent $1.1 billion on luxury cars during the first five months of the year, the same amount being posted as worldwide revenue by Tesla during the first quarter.

Via Automotive News Europe