Tesla Powers Past China Obstacles for Proper Launch
There isn’t much an automaker can do with neither a brand name nor a price for its flagship vehicle. Such was the predicament of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) in China, courtesy of a trademark dispute and the wait for a final reckoning of import fees by goverment officials. The electric vehicle maker checked both items off its to-do list recently ahead of unveiling its ambitious goals in the world’s largest auto market. Now Tesla can begin selling its cars with a competitive price in what it expects to be a major growth market.
Though Tesla opened its first showroom in Beijing in November, the automaker could not use the name “Te Si La” on any of its branded materials due to a trademark dispute with a local businessman. Veronica Wu, who is vice president of the electric automaker in China, told Reuters that Tesla “went to court and…won” the right to use its proper name in a market expected to provide one-third of the company’s sales growth in 2014.
T0 give itself a proper shot at this amibitious goal, Tesla needed to put to bed all trademark issues and set a price for the Model S so it can properly launch as many as a dozen more showrooms. The automaker revealed the Model S price in a blog post on January 22. Despite predictions the base (60 kWh) Model S would bear an MSRP over $140,000, Tesla surprised the industry by announcing the premium 85 kWh Model S would in fact be priced starting around $121,000 (734,000 yuan). It’s safe to say the automaker is being genuine when it says its “pricing structure is something of a risk.”