Tesla& s Musk sees Model S& China sales rivaling U S levels SFGate

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Tesla Model S

Tesla’s Musk sees S’ China sales U.S. levels

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Motors’ Elon Musk sales of electric Model S in China should match levels as early as next with demand from the largest auto market requiring a local plant.

The maker said last the Model S will be priced at in China when deliveries Musk, Tesla’s billionaire and chief executive officer, travel to China next to inaugurate the company’s entry he said in a phone interview.

For it could be as big as the U.S. market, bigger. I don’t want to get about it, Musk said. without building there it’s always going to be the market after the U.S.

After a rocky start up Model S assembly in 2012, Alto-based Tesla surprised and investors this month it said fourth-quarter deliveries 20 percent above its target. 42, has pinned his goal of selling of thousands of electric autos to a global strategy in which Europe, Japan and other bolster its U.S. business.

If all well, Model S shipments to can match U.S. sales by Musk said. It’s not my prediction — it’s like a low-fidelity guess.

The named for electrical engineer and Nikola Tesla, more quadrupled in value in 2013.

The price of Tesla’s flagship S in China, a version equipped a premium 85-kilowatt-hour battery puts it in the same bracket as Volkswagen ‘s Audi S5 and BMW ‘s 5-series GT sedan, to Autohome, a car-pricing website. also 50 percent more than in the U.S. where the model sells for $81,070, to Tesla.

Competing models

In the Audi’s S5 is priced at $64,117 and 5-series GT costs $70,429, to Edmunds.com, an auto pricing and company.

While more than the U.S. version, the S price in China appears below expectations, said Lovallo. an equity analyst for of America who rates Tesla

Since the Model S is imported to from California, a duty of as as 25 percent is added to the price Musk said. The company must cover shipping and taxes. Tesla could charged more than had it followed standard industry

Answering critics

They’re calling us huge idiots for not off customers in China, Musk I don’t think ripping off is a good long-term strategy.

a good price, John managing director of researcher LMC said of Tesla’s Model S. should attract premium to try this product, especially in big

Tesla’s entry is also closely watched by other that have been to convince local consumers electric vehicles are worth the China is lagging behind its to have 5 million alternative-energy-powered by 2020 because of a lack of stations and high costs, amid mounting concerns worsening air pollution.

Gaining approval to sell the Model S was the toughest the company has faced to Musk said.

They the most rigorous of any in the world, he

Beyond safety issues, officials even inspected the used in Model S seats, said. They seemed to be concerned about quality.

plant

To eliminate tariffs and qualify for Chinese incentives for autos, Tesla must there, he said.

Long-term, there’s no question have a factory in China, he There is an argument for having be our first major factory the U.S.

At Tesla’s flagship in a Beijing mall populated by boutiques such as Van Cleef and Mulberry. hotelier Kevin says he’s interested in the Model S to bump up his green

I heard about the car from my overseas, and we are very interested in one, said Chen, 28. in China is getting so bad that we do whatever we can to help.


Alan Ohnsman is a Bloomberg E-mail: aohnsman@bloomberg.net

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