Tesla joins Chi­nese auto mar­ket

Car com­pany puts “fair and risky” $121,000 price tag on Model S sedan

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By YU WEI in San Fran­cisco yuwei12@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Tesla Mo­tors Inc, the Cal­i­for­nia-based maker of elec­tric ve­hi­cles, has an­nounced a $121,000 price tag for its Model S sedan in China as it be­gins its foray into the world’s largest auto mar­ket.

The price of the bat­tery­pow­ered Model S sedan is ap­prox­i­mately 50 per­cent above the price in the US. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the Chi­nese and US prices is due to “un­avoid­able” charges, in­clud­ing taxes, im­port du­ties and trans­porta­tion charges, the com­pany said on its web­site Thurs­day.

The price was de­scribed by Tesla – which opened its first Bei­jing show­room late last year – as both fair and risky. The com­pany chose to treat Chi­nese cus­tomers as well as it would treat cus­tomers in any other coun­try, in­stead of charg­ing twice as much, it said.

“I think the right longterm strategy is do the right things for cus­tomers,” CEO Elon Musk told China Daily in an in­ter­view. “If you treat cus­tomers well and fairly, then in the long term, I think they re­ward you with loy­alty.”

Sales in China, the world’s big­gest auto mar­ket by sales, surged 13.9 per­cent in 2013 to 21.98 mil­lion units, ac­cord­ing to the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers. How­ever, Musk said he ex­pects just 5,000 Model S de­liv­er­ies in China this year, reaf­firm­ing the com­pany’s ear­lier pro­jec­tions.

“Our pro­duc­tion is rel­a­tively limited. As for the last year, we were not limited by sale, we were limited by pro­duc­tion,” Musk said. “Our pro­duc­tion will catch up with the de­mand in a few years, but I think for this year and prob­a­bly next year, the de­mand will be higher than our pro­duc­tion. “

Musk said he would en­cour­age any­one who wants to or­der a Tesla car to do so quickly “as we will not have any pro­duc­tion left for the year.”

Tesla said it ex­pects to be­gin de­liv­er­ing the Model S in China late this spring. The Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia com­pany be­gan to ac­cept or­ders in Au­gust.

Musk said he ex­pects the com­pany “to be in six met­ro­pol­i­tan re­gions in China by the end of this year, with mul­ti­ple ser­vice cen­ters in each met­ro­pol­i­tan

CHANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

A Tesla ser­vice cen­ter in Fre­mont, Cal­i­for­nia. The elec­tric car maker an­nounced the price in China on Thurs­day.

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