Video: Details on the Launch of the Tesla Model S in China


Yes, Tesla Motors has fired up its Chinese website and is taking reservations for the Model S and Model X there, but what does any of that tell us of the automaker’s progress in China?

Chinese Dealer Association Official Discusses Tesla's Outlook in China

Chinese Dealer Association Official Discusses Tesla’s Outlook in China

Nothing really.

As it turns out, there are some people who know what’s going on with Tesla in China and one of those is a man named Luo Lei, vice secretary-general of China’s Automobile Dealers Association.

As Lei explains, Tesla has a lot it must accomplish in China before sales get underway in earnest there.  For starters, Tesla still needs a registered name.  Secondly, Tesla needs to see if its recently announced pricing structure will work in China.

You’ll learn more on Tesla’s China challenge in the video above.  Tesla is venturing where few startup automakers have dared, so it’ll certainly be interesting to see what comes of it.

Screencap of Tuosule (Tesla's China Website) Homepage

Screencap of Tuosule (Tesla’s China Website) Homepage

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13 Comments on "Video: Details on the Launch of the Tesla Model S in China"

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Tesla had better get some Chinese car dealers on board fast or they may get shut out of the market.
We have no intention of losing out to the internet the way US car dealers have.

It would be sad to see the Chinese population in dense cities continue to suffer of pollution because of greed.


Electricity production in China is way more coal heavy and dirty than in the States.
Electric cars may help air pollution in the city centres, but again unlike the States where arguments that EVs don’t help are weak, in China the overall benefits either in CO2 or pollution are much more dubious.

While China uses huge amounts of coal energy, it doesn’t all go into making electricity. The biggest users are in smelting steel (and other metals) and legacy factories using coal. Low grades of gasoline and a vechicke population that has doulble in last few years to eclise USA are large contributers to the now chronic smog problem.

It is worth noting that China is a world leader in renewable energy production (wind, solar, and hydro). In 2013 China generated more electricity from wind than any other country; 75 GW! Plans are to increase wind power to over 200 GW by 2020.

Chinese customers may resent buying cars at American price plus transportation and taxes, and may insist on being gouged just like every other auto maker does to the Chinese customer?

It should noted that TeslaMotors, unlike other foreign automanufactures is not entering into a join partnership with a Chinese company. This allows other manufactures to have much higher local profit (as any used vehicle import prices are artificially high).

For a Model S this means double the taxes … import terifs in addition to VAT (Value Added Tax) … vs. partnered manufactures. For Chinese customers it means owning the same world Model S and not a locally rebranded (& manufactured) clone of an import model.

It is an interesting strategy Tesla has chosen, as it will likely play well to perceived quality and value of the Model S: … Secondary effect, if demand proves strong, is imports of slightly used Model S’s to China (as there’ll be no price differential).

Dealers? Not likely. Tesla will sell directly to Chinese customers.


Politics in China are just as important as in the US, and so is financial and political sway.
How can anyone possibly predict what the outcome will be, or what Tesla ‘will’ be allowed to do?
It is certain that Chinese dealers will fight it just as hard as American, with the added advantage there that Tesla are a foreign import, where being made in America is not going to help.

Would Tesla start selling the vehicles online if they could not deliver the cars?

Bribes or “contributions” to negotiate a settlement that allows Tesla and only Tesla to sell cars directly seems more plausible in China than in the USA.

Tesla only competes against imports right now. And Tesla plans to build in China in the future, importing Gen III cars in large numbers is not viable when it cost $3600 to ship cars across the Pacific.

Tesla is doing what any reasonable person or company would do, giving it a go and seeing how it works out, just as they did in the States and got pulled over in some states but not in others.

China is not federal union. It is a centralized unitary state.

Tesla has done its homework, not entering China haphazardly to see how it goes. They have gotten the necessary licenses and permits.

Tesla knew it would encounter some resistance to its selling model in the US but did it anyway because global demand would exceed their production capability at least initially.

I think you are placing too much reliance on the nominal constitutional arrangements.
There are areas in China which have a population approaching that of the US, not to mention cities with populations bigger than most US states.
Really centralised control is impossible in such a vast and populous polity, and in practise the centre often barely knows what is going on in many of the regions, let alone controlling it.

I am sure Tesla is not naive enough to imagine that getting a central stamp of approval is all it needs.
There are a thousand regulations which they can be pulled up on if the local regional or urban authority wishes, just as there are in the States or Europe, where if you step on the wrong toes their are a large numbers of agencies under the control of the local authorities who can make your life very hard indeed.

Tesla still needs a registered name?
I don’t understand that. Is that like saying they need a license to sell or a Chinese version of the word Tesla like a picture of an electric dragon?
What is the registered name for Mercedes, BMW, Porsche and Ferrari in China?