Tesla eyes Middle East market with massive Dubai debut


Tesla has announced opening of its new Gulf headquarters in Dubai on Monday setting the stage for a grand entry into the Middle East market.

The Middle East market is largely untapped as far as electric vehicles is concerned and that’s primarily because the region has no shortage of petrol or diesel to power gas guzzling vehicles. Despite a state-of-the art metro, many people in Dubai and across the energy-rich Gulf region prefer to get around in SUVs or other luxury cars known to burn a lot of petrol.

Elon Musk, the co-founder and chief executive of the American firm was himself present at the launch of the new headquarters to ensure that the company sets the right foot into the market that will take Tesla’s profit numbers to new heights.

“The time seems to be good to really make a significant debut in this region starting from Dubai,” Musk told the World Government Summit under way in the emirate.

Dubai’s official Media Office said that Musk met UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who welcomed Tesla’s decision to set up its regional headquarters in the city state. The Prime Minister has instructed local officials to ensure that Tesla is provided “with the services and logistic support” that it needs.

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. Once a sleepy fishing town, it has evolved into a regional business hub and a tourist magnet, thanks to huge investments in luxury resorts and shopping malls. The emirate, seen as the most diversified in the Gulf, has a population of 2.5 million people, most of them expatriates.

Official figures released by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority in 2015 showed that the number of vehicles in Dubai had doubled over the past eight years, leaving the Gulf emirate with more cars per person than New York or London.

“My guess is probably that in 10 years it will be very unusual for cars to be built that are not fully autonomous,” Musk told the Dubai summit on Monday. “I think almost all cars built will be capable of full autonomy in about 10 years.”