FRANKFURT -- Tesla Motors named a new top executive in Germany where the U.S. electric carmaker is struggling to gain a foothold.
Jochen Rudat, Tesla’s current boss in Switzerland, will be the new head of German and Austrian operations, a company spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
Rudat will replace Philipp Schroeder, 31, who is returning in October to his former employer, German battery maker Sonnenbatterie, as head of sales and marketing. Schroeder joined Tesla in February 2014.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the automaker aims to sell 1,000 cars a month in Germany, but figures from the country’s KBA motor transport authority show just 828 Model S cars were registered in the first six months, a 75 percent increase compared with the same period a year earlier.
Tesla has had sales success in European countries that offer generous incentives to encourage people to buy electric cars. In Norway, the Model S was the country's top-selling car for a short time. Norway reaffirmed its electric car subsidies despite complaints that it was subsidizing wealthy buyers with the incentives.
Germany does not offer incentives to buyers of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Tesla sells mostly to private buyers in Germany and has also struggled to win sales in Germany's high-end fleet market.
Tesla currently only sells the large Model S sedan. The company will soon launch the Model X crossover next month and plans to introduce the Model 3 entry-level, midsize sedan within two years.