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Tesla Plants Flag in South OC, Continues Infrastructure Buildout

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Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk and team are going “at max speed.”

On service center buildouts, that is.

The founder of the Palo Alto-based electric vehicle maker (Nasdaq: TSLA) recently tweeted out the update in response to owner inquiries. As if on cue, Lake Forest now has its own Tesla service center, thereby helping broaden the company’s reach to existing Tesla owners in South County as the company continues to build out its infrastructure.

The 17,000-square-foot Lake Forest location, along Arctic Ocean Drive, joins three other showrooms and service centers locally in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Buena Park.

There are also new fast-charging stations for vehicles, which the company calls Superchargers, expected to roll out in Tustin, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Dana Point this year.

The company, whose stock is down about 30% so far this year with a recent market value of $43 billion, declined to provide an executive to further discuss the Orange County market.

Brand Fans Happy

The latest developments are welcome news for brand fans.

“For South Orange County, Costa Mesa was the only store available to owners. This just opens up a whole new area and takes a little bit of pressure off Costa Mesa. There’s just so many owners in South Orange County,” said Mark Lonier, who is the owner of two Tesla Model 3s and co-runs the Orange County Tesla Owners Club.

Lonier estimated the group, which totals over 400, is about 60% hailing from the southern part of the county.

Tesla in March backtracked on earlier plans that would have shuttered most of its stores in a bid to cut costs in favor of online sales, opting instead to keep most of the retail fleet intact and bump vehicles prices up about 3%.

The company’s retail model has been looked to as the next-generation approach to retail automotive sales that planted showrooms in less traditional places, such as malls, and touted the idea of a fair pricing model built on the idea that “what you get should never be a function of bargaining,” Musk tweeted last month.

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