With a troublesome trademark issue settled, Tesla is moving full speed ahead with plans to expand its sales in China, and expects Chinese sales to contribute one third of global sales growth this year.
Veronica Wu, VP of Tesla’s China operations, told Reuters that a Chinese court had ruled against a local trademark troll who was demanding an enormous sum for the rights to the name “Te Si La” – the version of the company’s name best known among Chinese consumers. “We went to court and we won,” she said. “The court has given us the right to use the name, which is why you see the Chinese name in our store now.”
Ms Wu, who worked for Apple’s Chinese unit before joining Tesla in December, said that the company plans to open stores in 10-12 Chinese cities by the end of 2014, including a store in Beijing that opened late last year.
The 85 kWh version of the Model S will retail for 734,000 yuan ($121,300) in China, including shipping, import duty and other taxes.
Wu said Tesla has no plans to produce cars in China, at least for the moment. “The most important task right now, now that we have announced our pricing strategy, is to focus on getting the right car and making sure we have the right service network, and making sure the Chinese customer is happy,” she said. “Happy customers are the best advocate of your product, right?”