"I feel like if we can't do well in Germany, then that's not a good sign," Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk jokingly told a crowd that gathered at a Tesla service center in Germany in October.
Though Musk's comment facilitated some good laughter, the announcements to follow, and Tesla's actions since his talk in Germany, suggest the company isn't taking its expansion into the country very lightly.
Two big announcements
During the event in Germany, Musk made two major announcements.
First, recognizing Germans' love to drive their high-end vehicles at top speeds on the autobahn, Tesla will offer customers a free optional high-speed tuning. The tuning, Musk says, enables a better driving experience at top speeds.
Second, Tesla will be making a huge investment in its Superchargers in the country. Already breaking ground on six Superchargers at the time of the announcement, Musk says Tesla plans to have about 40-50 Superchargers in the country by the end of 2015, giving 100% of the population of Germany access to a Supercharger station. The company plans to approximately double the number of Supercharges in the country every quarter all the way through the end of 2015. This should give chargers approximately 200 km spacing -- shorter than the average distance in the U.S., probably due to expected higher driving speeds, which would decrease Model S battery range. Even more, Superchargers will boast a power upgrade over those in the U.S., offering 135 kW powered charging stations as opposed to 120 kW in the U.S.
An important market
Just how important is Germany to Tesla?
"We're going to be making a big investment in Germany. In fact, right now, Germany is our top focus in the world," Musk said at the October event in Germany.
For the Tesla Roadster, Germany was the company's second-biggest market in the world. Over the long haul, Musk says that Tesla believes Germany will be its third-largest market after the U.S. and China, and a market with "one of the highest per capital sales as well."
With proven excellence in engineering and performance, and a zero-emissions driving experience, Tesla believes Germans will appreciate the Model S. In fact, Tesla expects demand in Germany to be around 200-300 vehicles per week by the end of 2015, according to Forbes contributor Mark Rogowsky. On a quarterly basis, that's 3,200-4,800 vehicles per quarter. That's a significant number considering that Tesla said during it's second-quarter- earnings call that demand for all of North America was about 5,000 cars per quarter based on weekly net orders at the time.
Already, Tesla has four active Supercharger stations in Germany, based on data from its website.
Tracking Tesla's global expansion
Of course Germany isn't the only country in Tesla's current global expansion. The company plans to begin delivering vehicles in China at the beginning of next year. Even more, it plans to rapidly expand its Superchargers into many more European countries than Germany. In fact, its Norway expansion is basically already complete.
Despite an aggressive Supercharger expansion, Tesla won't likely be able to meet demand in all of the new markets it will enter in 2014. So, while Tesla's international expansion is nice, it's only one side of the story Tesla investors will need for the stock to grow into its pricey valuation. Tesla will also have to rapidly ramp up supply.