Jakarta. Tesla’s Model S, a line of premium electric cars from Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors, officially made its way to Indonesia on Friday, marking the brand’s entrance into Southeast Asia.
Launched three years ago in the United States, Tesla’s Model S will be available in Indonesia through Jakarta-based premium car dealership Prestige Motorcars.
“We believe Indonesia is ready for a high-technology car,” Rudy Salim, the president director of Prestige Motorcars, said in Jakarta on Friday.
“The demand for premium cars here is still high, and the [Tesla Model S] provides an alternative for people seeking an environmentally friendlier option.”
Rudy added that the electric car, which can travel up to 400 kilometers on a single charge, would be sold in Indonesia for between $ 140,000 and $ 190,000, double the manufacturer’s suggested retail price in the United States.
“We’ll also install a charging station in the buyers’ home,” Rudy added.
The cars will not be readily available at the dealership, he conceded, but will be imported with each customized order. The first batch of deliveries are scheduled for April.
The dealership started taking orders on Friday and has already seen requests coming from Jakarta and Surabaya.
Prestige Motorcars is, so far, the only car dealerships in Southeast Asia to offer the Tesla Model S, the brainchild of engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk. The 43-year-old is also chief executive of Tesla Motors and space technology company SpaceX.
Tesla Motors made its first official foray into the Southeast Asian market by opening a branch office in Singapore in 2010 and offering the Tesla Roadster. However, the lack of a green technology tax break and subsidies from the government forced the company close up shop 10 months later, according to a report from AutoEvolution.
Despite its popularity in the United States, the brand has experienced trouble gaining traction on the global stage. Last year’s sales figures for China, where Tesla set up a branch in 2013, was weaker than previously expected, reportedly triggering a tirade from Musk threatening to fire top executives in the country.
Nevertheless, Prestige Motorcars’ Rudy said he was confident that Indonesians would embrace the brand.
“The [sales] decline in China was due to the country’s slowing economy, not a lack of interest. In Hong Kong, for example, demand is high. It will be similar in Indonesia,” he said.
Tesla’s Model S will compete with other premium car brands that have already made their mark on the local market, including Italy’s Ferrari and Germany’s Mercedes-Benz.
The former has sold 473 units in Indonesia so far, according to Ferrari Indonesia chief executive Arie Christopher. The Italian brand now sells an average of 40 cars per year here.