Tesla had an incredible year for sales and deliveries in 2015. The California-based automaker delivered 50,580 vehicles last year, which represents a 60% increase over the previous year. It’s hard to find any weaknesses with such an incredible sales performance. Yet the company increased its deliveries in almost all markets but Norway, where according to registration data, Tesla delivered the exact same number of Model S’s in 2014 and 2015: 4,039 units.
Norway remains an important market for Tesla and its biggest in Europe – bigger than the company’s next two top-selling country on the continent combined.
Tesla put a lot of efforts into developing the Norwegian EV market early in the introduction of the Model S because of the country’s generous incentives for electric vehicle buyers. Electric cars in Norway are exempt from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes, which can be extremely high for gas-powered cars in the country, and 25% VAT. EVs are also exempt of all public parking fees, toll payments, and one of our favorites, electric vehicle drivers can use bus lanes.
The Norwegian government first intended to keep these incentives in effect until the end of 2017 or until reaching 50,000 EVs on the road (whichever come first), but the country reached the 50,000 mark in April last year and agreed to keep the incentives in place until 2017 anyway.
This initiative is an important opportunity for Tesla to keep growing in country, which it wasn’t able to do in 2015:
But after a difficult first quarter 2015 compared the same quarter in 2014, Tesla was able to catch up to its 2014 delivery rate and finished the year exactly flat, based on registration data.
Q4 2015 was encouraging for the company. Tesla delivered 796 units versus 504 during the same period in 2014, which represents a 58% increase – in line with the company’s global growth during the year. Last month alone, the automaker delivered 373 Model S’s in Norway.
Fluctuating currency rates certainly didn’t help Tesla’s exports in oil rich countries in 2015, but there were also some events in Norway that didn’t help Tesla’s image. Some Model S owners complained about the way Tesla was advertising the power output of its Dual Motor Model S and Norway’s Consumer Council got involved and acted as a mediator between Tesla and over 150 Model S owners. Tesla CTO JB Straubel addressed the problem in a blog post and the company has since changed its way of advertising the power output of its vehicles.
A Model S catching fire while charging at a Supercharger also gathered quite a few headlines on New Year’s day. We have little information at this time about what could have caused the fire, but publicity-wise, Tesla is off to a rough start in the country for 2016.
Nonetheless, with the Model X expected to arrive in Norway later this year and the continued incentives for electric vehicles, Tesla is likely to renew with growth in the market in 2016.