Tesla Australia’s Heath Walker admits men have been responsible for the majority of local Model S sales so far, but can see the tide turning, particularly once the Model X SUV joins the range around July/August 2016.
“We’ve been heavily skewed towards the male demographic and I think that’s mainly due to probably [the media] more than anything,” Walker said.
“The people that read your press in terms of motoring and tech tend to be more male-skewed and they tend to be usually the ones who are on the cusp of new auto and tech news.
“But we’re starting to see a slight tip of the scales. It’s probably not the best indicator but I tend to use our Facebook audience as a measure for that and also our purchase data, and it’s starting to tip.
“Model X will have a big influence on that gender split and the timing’s really good for us. Model X will come out probably early Q3 for us next year, which is good timing because it will have had a good launch overseas. I think we’ll have seen the type of demographic that’s adopting the car overseas and I think that will transition over here nicely.”
Walker said Tesla’s strategy for reaching both women and men revolved around making the initial experience they had with its cars unique from the other brands on the market.
“I think, generally speaking, purchasing a car previously has been a scary experience for some people, and we’re trying to remove that from the process.
“We’re just like a store, like any retail store. You can come in, you can look at the vehicles, we do the education element, we hold special events and test drive events … we do retail displays. We’ve got a permanent one in Chadstone where the female market is, but also the male market, where they can casually be introduced to the vehicle.”
Australian reservations for the Model X are already open, with prospective customers required to place a fully refundable $6000 deposit to effectively secure a place in the cue to take delivery.
This is despite the fact Tesla is still to reveal the production version and its exact pricing and specifications. The most recent indications suggest the Model X will be priced broadly in line with the BMW X5 and the brand’s own Model S, which start at $84,200 and $113,152 respectively.
Walker said he didn’t have the data to make comparisons between the level of interest in Model S and Model X, but believes Model X will be a big hit on our shores.
“Our market’s ripe for this product. We’re an SUV nation now, and all you have to do is look at how well Porsche has done with Cayenne and Macan to see that the price point is not out of reach for Australians either.
“When you’ve got an SUV that looks like the Model X, and performs like the Model X at the price that the Model X is likely to be, this market’s perfect for it.”