BUSINESS

Tesla Hired A Burberry Exec To Rev Up Its Luxury Appeal

As if the $70,000 price tag wasn't enough.
It's got curb appeal for high rollers. 
It's got curb appeal for high rollers. 

Tesla Motors may be an electric automaker, but it is first and foremost a luxury car company. 

Its latest big-name hire -- former Burberry executive Ganesh Srivats -- makes that all the more clear.

Srivats quietly started as vice president of North American sales at the Elon Musk-led company three months ago, according to his LinkedIn profile.

At Burberry, he spent two years leading business development in a number of emerging markets before leaving for a two-year stint as chief executive of a Mumbai-based retail firm. He returned to the British luxury apparel brand in 2009 to head up strategy and then retail in the Americas.

Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson confirmed the hire to The Huffington Post on Friday. 

The move comes ahead of Tesla's planned release of its Model X SUV, the company's second addition to its stable of electric vehicles. Like the Model S, the new vehicle will start at about $70,000. On Tuesday, Musk said he predicts the Model X will double Tesla's sales to 55,000 this year. 

"It'll appeal to that upper-income crowd -- probably more so, because it's a family vehicle," Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at the automotive research firm Kelley Blue Book, told HuffPost on Friday. "It'll be the new Earth-friendly family-mobile, versus the Earth-friendly sleek performance sedan." 

Tesla eventually plans to release a suite of more affordable electric vehicles called the Model 3. The company aims to price the vehicles, which Musk hopes to unveil sometime next year, at about $35,000.

"In today's world, it's not popular to say you cater to the wealthy, but that's always who that car company has catered to," Brauer said. "But eventually they'll need to offer something less expensive." 

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