Tesla has scored what could be a major sales boost in China. Shanghai’s municipal government has ruled that Model S buyers will be exempt from the $12,000 registration fee required to obtain license plates. A city official told Bloomberg (via Green Car Reports) that 400 Tesla buyers have already received the free plates.
Like many large Chinese cities, Shanghai severely restricts the number of new cars that can be registered each year to cut back on pervasive and hazardous air pollution. Exceptions are made for “new energy” vehicles. It’s interesting that the city granted the incentive to Tesla, as such goodies are usually reserved for vehicles built in China.
Also this week, Tesla began taking online orders on Alibaba’s Tmall.com, one of China’s top shopping sites. Buyers can order one of 18 pre-configured cars by placing a 50,000-yuan ($8,200) deposit. “Tmall offers us an opportunity to reach out to general customers,” said Tesla China spokeswoman Peggy Yang.
GM and VW are among foreign automakers that are already selling cars on Tmall. Chevrolet sold 245 cars there this month.
Tesla’s fortunes in China are looking auspicious. Some have speculated that the company may announce more China-related news in its third-quarter earnings call on November 5.