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Tesla Motors Hires Star Audi Executive to Run North American Sales

Senior Audi executive John Walker joins leading electric vehicle manufacturer to drive coast-to-coast retail expansion.

Monday, August 31, 2009

SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) Audi executive John Walker has joined Tesla Motors as vice president for North American sales, effective immediately.

Walker, 46, was a rising star at Audi, one of the few automotive companies to sustain robust sales during the recession. The German carmaker had rapidly promoted Walker through increasingly sales leadership roles in Australia, Canada and then the United States, Audi’s largest market, where he was general manager of sales operations prior to joining Tesla. Before Audi, Walker worked at General Motors and BMW.

Walker is the latest executive with deep automotive expertise to join Tesla. Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen, former director of design for Mazda North America, led styling of the all-electric Model S sedan. Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja was a senior finance executive at Ford headquarters and had previously served as CFO of Ford Southern Africa.

 “We are rethinking almost every aspect of the automobile – including the retail experience,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “It underscores the growing momentum of Tesla that someone like John Walker, whose phenomenal track in sales at Audi has contributed meaningfully to their success, would leave to join Tesla.  His track record of outstanding execution will be invaluable as we continue the rapid expansion of our North American store locations and recruitment of top talent.”

Walker will be traveling throughout the fall to Tesla’s store openings in North America. Other than the Roadster, Walker’s favorite cars are the 1960s Jaguar E-type and the 1964 Ford Mustang. His first car was a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle, which he still owns.
   
“It is really because of Tesla that the automotive industry has turned so quickly to embrace development of electric vehicles, and I feel confident that Tesla will continue to be at the forefront of innovation,” Walker said. “Joining the company now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help create something different, change the world for the better and have fun in the process.”

Tesla achieved overall corporate profitability this summer and shipped a record 109 vehicles to customers. The company – which remains the only automaker producing and selling highway capable electric vehicles – has enjoyed a surge in new Roadster purchases this summer.  The Department of Energy recently announced that Tesla will receive a $465 million loan for Model S and powertrain production. Initial fund disbursements from the loan are expected to begin in the fall.About Tesla

Tesla Motors is the only automaker in the world that is manufacturing and selling highway-capable electric vehicles. Tesla, which achieved overall corporate profitability last month, has delivered nearly 700 Roadsters to customers so far. The company's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EV technology. Tesla also sells patented power train components to other automakers.


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