Tesla Motors Inc. marked the opening of its largest North American sales, service and delivery centre in San Francisco, where one-fifth of residents don’t own a car and dominated by emerging ride-sharing services like Uber.
Though Tesla is based in nearby Palo Alto, the 65,000-square-foot (6,039-square-meter) San Francisco centre is the company’s first in the city. The location was originally home to a Chevrolet showroom built in 1937, the year the Golden Gate Bridge opened.
Tesla is expanding retail operations as it targets production of 500,000 vehicles by 2018, roughly a 10-fold increase from last year. The automaker operates about 260 stores worldwide — the largest is in Oslo, Norway — and plans to have 300 open by the end of this year. Tesla aims to have about 440 open by the end of 2017, when the Model 3, starting at a more affordable $35,000 before incentives, is slated to begin deliveries.
The three-story San Francisco store is located on Van Ness Avenue, up the street from British Motor Cars, an independent dealer that sells Land Rover, Jaguar, Bentley and Lamborghini brand vehicles.
Tesla currently makes the Model S sedan and the Model X sport utility vehicle. The company expects to deliver 50,000 cars in the second half of the year, reaching about 79,000 for 2016.