Currently reading: Tesla opens new Dutch factory
New factory in the Netherlands will supply European markets with the Model S electric saloon and could build the Model X SUV too

Electric car maker Tesla Motors has opened a new assembly plant in Tilburg, in the Netherlands, to supply its 12 European markets initially with the Model S, the company’s £60,000-plus all-electric saloon, and potentially with its upcoming Model X SUV. 

Tesla’s co-founder, Elon Musk, a high-profile advocate of electric cars, was on hand for the opening. He says the new facility, which is slated to assemble 90 cars per day, will utilise car components imported from Tesla’s parent factory in Fremont, California. The move should speed up deliveries of the Model S, a rival in size and function for the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, to its 69 European dealers.

Tesla claims Tilburg is the first European factory to incorporate an indoor test track for production cars. The 750-metre track consists of 400m of smooth asphalt, plus a section pock-marked with 6000 'dots' that simulate bumps in the road. Every car is driven on the track to check handling and detect squeaks and rattles. 

The company is within days of revealing the new Model X, closely related in size and price to the Model S. In addition, in 2017 it plans to launch the smaller, cheaper, BMW 3 Series-rivalling Model 3 saloon, which is likely to boost Tesla sales volume towards 200,000 cars a year. Tesla has already sold more than 80,000 examples of the Model S across the world.

Musk says the new Tilburg factory is Tesla’s latest demonstration of its commitment to European markets. It has now established more than 1000 Supercharger points stretching from Norway to Slovenia, and from the UK to Spain. It is also encouraging restaurants, hotels and shopping centres to install what it calls 'destination chargers' for Tesla vehicles.

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Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

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Deputy 29 September 2015


If they built them right in the first place with decent tolerance parts then they wouldn't need to drive each car down a road to check for squeaks...
Great company, it just needs to mature.
lambo1 29 September 2015


What planet have you fallen off?
Every single decent car company in the world test drives its cars be they Skoda to Rolls Royce as a shake down most often to iron out loose parts or trim.
Please name me a single manufacturer that doesnt.
Deputy 30 September 2015


I have worked for 3 major car companies, the ones with poor suppliers needed to test drive every production car to find rattles but Toyota builds the cars and ships them straight from the end of the line (it sample checks some on the test track but not 100%). Testing adds no value if the parts and assembly process ensure no defects..... I'm not talking about development tests here but mass production process.
scotty5 28 September 2015

Made in Dagenham

Our car factories looked like that during 70's albeit for different reasons. How many workers does Tesla employ at their Tilburg operation because it looks more like a surgical theatre than a car factory.
lambo1 28 September 2015

The Future

I hope Tesla succeed in being beyond a startup.
The other big German companies are determined to kill the upstart.
Musk and his company deserve to succeed,
I hope they will.
gigglebug 28 September 2015

They should be OK shouldn't

They should be OK shouldn't they? They've got a decent head start in the market place and I can't imagine any of the mainstream manufacturers tying to hit the types of output the Tesla's have and will be capable of so they should always have that advantage. I expect the only thing that might knobble them is the fact that if you asked most if they could have the Tesla's running gear in one of the mainstream bodies they would say yes. I don't dislike the Tesla's looks, it's quite handsome but if Mercedes were to offer one of their cars with the same running gear the Tesla just wouldn't get a look in I'm afraid. Hopefully the styling will be as daring as the technology in the years to come.