Last month, we reported on Tesla being reportedly in talks with TK, South Korea’s second-biggest telecom company, to provide Tesla’s future fleet in the country with telematic services. When Tesla is looking for broadband for its vehicles in a new market, it’s a good indicator that it is about to enter said market.
Now we learn that Tesla is indeed setting up to debut in South Korea after Bloomberg reported that the automaker started its search for employees and offices in Seoul.
“The maker of Model S sedans listed on its website four new positions for sales and engineering in South Korea and one recruiter for the country, who’ll be based in Japan. Tesla has registered its corporation and plans to set up an office in Seoul, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions, declining to provide details of its plans.”
While the report doesn’t update the timeline for the introduction of Tesla’s vehicles in the country, when we reported on talks with TK, the Korea Herald claimed that the Model S and X will arrive in South Korea as soon as early 2017, and the Model 3 in 2018.
South Korea is the world’s 11th largest car market and could become an important country in Tesla’s expansion plan. It largely favors domestic brands like Hyundai and Kia, but aside from the Soul EV and the upcoming Hyundai Electric, the country’s electric vehicle options are limited.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and Tesla CTO, JB Straubel were in Korea last year for a forum on energy and Straubel gave some insights on how Tesla approaches expansions in new markets:
“Korea is a market we plan to expand into but I can’t give you a specific date just quite yet. We will do it as soon as we realistically can for our growth plan. We are still a relatively small company and we need to be careful. As we expand into each new country and each new region, customers have very positive experience. We don’t want to damage the brand by growing too quickly and not having enough infrastructure, service and support.”
Tesla is currently planning several expansions in new markets in Asia, the Middle East and in South America.