Tesla opened its first retail store and service center in Dubai yesterday, expanding its presence in the Middle East.

Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, a major highway in the United Arab Emirates, visitors got to walk through the 17,000 square foot facility, check out the Model S and Model X, and place orders for the Model 3.

It’s the second Tesla store in the Middle East, following the first one opened in Amman, Jordan, in May. In February, the company announced it would be entering the Middle East market, with a store being planned at the Dubai Mall.

Potential customers had been invited to visit Tesla’s online design studio and order their vehicles.

Anas Al Halabi has ordered the Model 3, and is excited about Tesla coming to Dubai.

“It’s a fantastic [initiative] that Tesla has created. They’ve [driven] demand that should have been there for a long time. They’ve made the car into a consumer product. I don’t own one, but I’ve ordered the Model 3. I think it’s even rubbed off on my family members. They’re even excited to own one,” he said.

Pricing for the Model S starts at 281,350 dirhams ($76,599). The Model X starts at 332,500 dirhams ($90,527).

Mohammed Ahmed Bani Hashim, an advisor at Dubai’s department of economic development, had been anticipating Tesla coming to the market long before the announcement earlier this year.

“In fact, before they came here, I sent them an e-mail requesting to buy a Tesla and have them send it to me. This was sometime last year. And they said they don’t have a plan [to come to the UAE] yet. So I was waiting until they announced it,” he said.

After the announcement about entering Dubai, Bani Hashim placed an order for the Model 3. He was told the new electric car will arrive in the summer of 2018.

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Tesla had been setting up a charging network in UAR long before the first store opened. There are two Superchargers in the country, with three more planned for installation by the end of the year.

The company placed 32 Destination Charging locations in the country. There are at least 18 more of the Level 2 chargers planned for the next six months.

Tesla’s charging network will support the Tesla brand in UAR and Jordan – and there are other plans in the works.

At a Dubai press conference in February, CEO Elon Musk said that a store and service center will open in Abu Dhabi in 2018, with plans by the company to expand to Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Arabian Business