Despite not having yet officially entered the Russian car market, Tesla could get a boost in the country thanks to new tax incentives and a strong gray market.
Gray markets emerge when a product is not officially sold by a manufacturer in specific markets.
For Tesla vehicles, support from the manufacturer is really important.
Things as simple as service and parts, but Tesla’s features like Autopilot often require some market-specific development.
Nonetheless, some adventurous drivers have been willing to go through the process of importing their own cars into markets where Tesla has yet to enter.
Russia is a good example and local Tesla owners have proven quite resourceful .
They ended up teaming up to build their own service center in Moscow. It is now known as the “Tesla Club,” and they help potential buyers go through the process of importing a new Tesla and then offer service and support after purchase.
There are an estimated 500 Tesla vehicles in Russia and about 400 of them were sold through the Tesla Club.
In order to encourage electric vehicle sales, Moscow decided to cut customs fees for electric cars to zero starting in May.
It is resulting in a massive renewed interest in electric vehicles since the fees were previously 48-54% for individuals and 15% for legal entities.
Alexei Eremchuk, head of Tesla Club, told Reuters that he sees Tesla sales increasing to 1,000 cars this year — doubling the total fleet of Tesla vehicles in the country:
“This year the (Tesla) fleet (in Russia) may easily increase by 1,000 cars, including used ones,”
It would be truly impressive without official channels from Tesla in the country.
The new tax incentive could also encourage Tesla to officially enter the market, which has been talked about for a while.
Tesla has been talking about an expansion in Russia since 2017 when it started looking into deploying Superchargers in the country.
Last year, Elon Musk said that Tesla is finally going to expand in Eastern Europe in response to a plea from local owners without service.
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