UK to get right-hand-drive Model S

Tesla will expand European outlets

UK to get right-hand-drive Model S

The Model S (shown) will be offered through leasing and financing programs.
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LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors., which plans to build the world's largest battery factory, said it will open more than 30 new service centers and stores in Europe as it anticipates a jump in sales in that region and Asia.

Tesla expects combined sales in Europe and Asia of almost twice those in North America by the end of the year, according to a statement released by the carmaker.

The electric-car maker said it will introduce right-hand-drive versions of its Model S sedan in the UK and offer leasing and financing programs in Europe.

"Growing international sales is a crucial part of the plan for the Tesla, but it won't be easy," said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis for consultant AutoPacific in California. "Both in China and Europe, many potential customers may not have access to charging infrastructure that's as good as here in North America."

The automaker, led by Elon Musk, has forecast a more than 55 percent jump in global sales this year and announced plans to spend as much as $5 billion to build a what it calls a "gigafactory" in the United States. The facility would let Tesla create cheaper versions of its cars, potentially doubling its worldwide market share to about 1 percent, said Adam Jonas, a Morgan Stanley analyst.

Last year, Tesla delivered almost 22,500 battery-powered vehicles. The Model S starts at $71,000 in the United States.

Tesla's cars are available in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, according to the carmaker's Web site.

Musk, the company's co-founder and biggest shareholder, had previously discussed plans to enter China. He said in a January interview that he would travel there in late March to promote the brand.

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