By Norihiko Shirouzu
BEIJING Jan 24 U.S. electric carmaker Tesla
Motors Inc expects China to contribute one-third of its
global sales growth this year, a senior executive said on
Friday, adding that a trademark issue stalling full-entry into
China has now been resolved.
Veronica Wu, vice president of Tesla's China operations,
told Reuters the Palo Alto, California-based company planned to
open stores in 10 to 12 Chinese cities by the end of 2014. Its
flagship Beijing store opened late last year.
Tesla China had a "very aggressive growth objective" and was
aiming to contribute "30 to 35 percent" of Tesla Motors' global
sales growth targeted for 2014, said Wu, who joined the carmaker
from Apple's China last year.
"I have my work cut out for me," she said in an interview,
at the company's store in an upmarket Beijing shopping mall.
"But I am pretty confident."
Last year, Tesla Motors' total car sales were around 22,500.
The company said earlier this month, it had delivered almost
6,900 Model S sedans in the fourth quarter, 20 percent above its
Tesla said on Thursday a version of its Model S all-electric
battery car which sells for $81,070 in the United States, would
retail for 734,000 yuan ($121,300) in China after shipping costs
and import duty and other taxes.
Wu, who said Beijing supported the development of electric
and plug-in electric hybrid cars, said Tesla had no plans to
start local production of its cars in China for the time being.
She said Tesla had resolved a trademark issue that had long
prevented it from using "Te Si La", its preferred version of its
name in Chinese.
The name had been registered by a local businessman who had
refused to give up the trademark. The U.S. company had started
offering its popular Model S sedans in China, but with no
Chinese language name.
"We went to court and we won," she said. "The court has
given use right to use the name, which is why you see the
Chinese name in our store now."