Tesla Motors’ China General Manager Exits as Model S Sales Are Underway

APR 4 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 12

A Tesla Model S Arrives In China To Do Some Promo Work

A Tesla Model S Arrives In China To Do Some Promo Work

Bloomberg is reporting that Tesla Motors’ general manager in China, Kingston Chang, has parted ways with the automaker.

Tesla Model S Design Studio In China

Tesla Model S Design Studio In China

According to reports, Chang resigned due to personal reasons, but Tesla vice president Veronica Wu only says that Chang is no longer with Tesla.

Change joined Tesla in March 2013.  Previous to that, he held a spot at Volkswagen Group’s Bentley division in China.

Our concern is this: Tesla’s general manager in China departed right as Tesla Model S sales are getting underway.

Add to that the statement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, which suggests that China will join the US as the top sales markets for the Model S by early 2015 and we begin to sense that perhaps there could be an issue for Tesla in China.  Hopefully, this is not the case, but the timing is certainly odd.

Tesla began taking Model S orders in China last August.  Deliveries have not yet commenced.

Source: Bloomberg

 

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12 Comments on "Tesla Motors’ China General Manager Exits as Model S Sales Are Underway"

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I wonder what the guy screwed up.

Norway proves, that successful expansion abroad is possible, but hiccups in China and Europe might show that Tesla has to think harder on its roll out strategy.

I think you’re reading too much into this. Elon says there appears to be huge demand, and then later one guy quits for personal reasons and the conclusion is that Tesla has some major underlying problem there?

The general manager of the largest automobile market in the world quits on the eve of Tesla launch and it does not sound like a major problem to you?

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There are rumors that Chang and Tesla had different opinions on the China market strategy. Better to let him leave and find the right fit for Tesla’s vision.

Many western companies approached Chinese market with their “visions” and later realized that they need to be modified to fit the Chinese market…

Time will tell if the Tesla vision works for China.

There have been many high-profile exits at Tesla over the years and ALL have ended up being for the benefit of Tesla. It is likely that this guy just wasn’t up to the task of executing the launch well.

I’m not worried about the demand for the Model S itself, since, judging by the cars I’ve seen driving around Beijing, it’s going to fit right in. Just as here, once someone drives it for the first time, they’re hooked. I’m much more interested in charging issues. I suspect supercharging is going to have to be a combination of intercity, Beijing-Shanghai or Shanghai-Changsha-Chengdu, like the US network, and local, fine-grained charging. That local-scale charging might look like centrally located garages from which the cars would be dropped off and picked up and taken to an apartment high-rise by a hired driver. My sister-in-law has a car and driver pick her up every morning, and this service is part of a sort of web of “connections” and favors that they do for her and she does for them. Car charging is going to have to become part of this interpersonal web of relationships that a Model S driver would likely have, and that takes time and lots of hands-on work by either Tesla, the owner, or both to put in place. Hopefully, Tesla’s stellar level of customer service in the US can be applied in China. For lots of Chinese Model… Read more »

Zài zhōngguó de yèwù wǎngwǎng shì chōngmǎn ‘suprises’ de…

May be not so much surprises in the business world but in the fact that the Chinese rich als live in condos with nowhere to charge.

Or, the Chang did not manage to certify Tesla for the environmental rebates in some cities.

Or he just was lazy.

Model S is sometimes scoffed as a high-tech gadget for the rich. Sounds like a winning formula for the Chinese market to me.

It is typical true if those rich people can charge it…

I think for a fair share of the sort of people who can afford a Model S in China home charging is an option.