China is going to be big for Tesla according to CEO Elon Musk, who comes off a win in a Chinese court against a squatter who was trying to extort the automaker for its name.
Tesla had resolved a trademark issue that had long prevented the company from using “Te Si La” – the Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers, which Tesla wanted to use in China. “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.” 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.
Tesla’s billionaire co-founder and chief executive officer, will travel to China in late March to inaugurate the company’s entry there, he said in a phone interview.
For Tesla, “it could be as big as the U.S. market, maybe bigger. I don’t want to get overexcited about it,” Musk said yesterday. “Even without building there locally, it’s always going to be the second-biggest market after the U.S.”
After a rocky start ramping up Model S assembly in 2012, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla surprised analysts and investors this month when it said fourth-quarter deliveries were 20 percent above its target. Musk, 42, has pinned his goal of selling hundreds of thousands of electric autos annually to a global strategy in which China, Europe, Japan and other markets bolster its U.S. business.
If all goes well, Model S shipments to China can match U.S. sales by 2015, Musk said. “It’s not my firm prediction — it’s more like a low-fidelity guess.”
Expectations are high and Musk is certainly