Business / Auto China

Tesla faces bumpy ride in China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-02-24 09:35

Tesla faces bumpy ride in China

A Tesla S electric car and a charging station are displayed during the press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 14, 2014. [Photo/Agencies] 

BEIJING - Like Steve Jobs, the founder of Tesla Motors Elon Musk is called a genius and is highly skilled in hype.

With its high-profile debut, the Tesla seems to harbor ambitions to refuel China's struggling new energy vehicle market. The company has engineered publicity stunts and stimulated stocks on the country's sluggish A share market.

China, with its abundant local policy hurdles, is proving a hard nut to crack for the US upstart.

Tesla faces bumpy ride in China

As part of Tesla's marketing strategy, the model S, the carmaker's pride and joy, was priced at 734,000 yuan ($121,300), half the price of an equivalent imported gasoline sedan, but still too high to intrigue China's price-savvy buyers. The model S is nearly three times the price of China's own electric sedan, which will certainly put a damper on Tesla's sales.

Besides, Chinese consumers appeared to be uninterested in expensive environmentally friendly cars, Jia Xinguang, a seasoned auto analysts said.

Jia noted that buyers were more inclined toward gasoline vehicles that provide a better driving experience at the same or lower price.

The disinterest was directly reflected in sluggish sales of pure electric and hybrid vehicles last year, accounting for less than 0.1 percent of the market and contrasting sharply with total vehicle transactions.

In 2013, 22 million new cars rolled onto Chinese roads, China's fifth straight year as the world's biggest auto market. Tesla is out of step with China's automobile boom, despite the expected explosion in new energy cars, top-down government aid, stronger environmental awareness and a threatened energy crisis.

Tesla faces bumpy ride in China

Tesla, electric, hybrid cars at Frankfurt 2013 Motor Show 

Tesla faces bumpy ride in China

Experts eye Tesla to spur China's electric car market


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