Tesla Model S Priced at $121,000 USD in China
It seems that launching an electric vehicle outside of an automaker's home turf can be rather difficult. Perhaps the best example of this is in the often-botched launch of the BMW i3 in the US.
But over in China, Tesla had some issues of its own in launching the Model S.
BMW's poor i3 launch in the US can't be excused (BMW is accustom to the US market, so we've no idea why it was handled so poorly), but Tesla ventured into uncharted waters with the introduction of the Model S in China, so we forgive Tesla for any difficulties experienced throughout the launch process.
One of the least discussed issues that Tesla encountered in China was protesters. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
"A group of disgruntled Tesla Motors customers in China is protesting delayed deliveries of their cars just as the electric-vehicle maker is making their first Chinese deliveries."
Deliveries of the Model S are now well underway in China, but prior to Tesla handing over the first set of keys, Tesla reportedly offered some rather unusual excuses for delivery delays.
Per the Wall Street Journal:
"...some once-enthused customers like Sam Long are unhappy with the reason he says Tesla is offering to explain the delivery delays. "The company told me they are still training electricians in Zhuhai," said Mr. Long, referring to the southern Chinese city where he lives. "I feel my rights have been hurt."
"Mr. Long, a 37-year-old businessman, said he ordered his Model S last year but that as of Monday (April 21) the Tesla website showed his car has yet to be manufactured. Mr. Long and 22 other consumers who booked Tesla cars have recently hired attorneys to negotiate with Tesla over the delivery..."
Tesla's vice president of communications, Simon Sproule, offered this statement:
"You would never sell any brand unless you have the tools to service it."
Those disgruntled Model S buyers are unlikely to receive their vehicles until June or later, but most believed that they were going to receive the first batch of Model S EVs sold in China.
As it turns out, the Tesla Model S is only available in select regions in China, yet it seems Tesla's website will accept order from areas in which the Model S is not yet available and/or won't be delivered to a later date.
Sproule says that Tesla is in an "ongoing dialogue" with the disgruntled customers. However, those customers want "Mr. Musk to give us an explanation," according to Mr. Long.
As we stated in the opening of this article, launching a vehicle outside of one's home turf isn't an easy task. We'll lump this one under the category of growing pains, which Tesla will continue to experience as it branches out to additional markets. No big deal here. It's common...and we're confident Tesla will sort it all out.
Source: Wall Street Journal