Veronica Wu, vice president of Tesla’s China operations, said the US electric carmaker expects its China sales to contribute one third of global sales growth this year.
Wu says the company plans to open stores in 10-12 Chinese cities by the end of 2014, including its flagship store in Beijing that opened late last year. Wu, the 43-year-old executive who jumped ship to Tesla from Apple’s China unit at the end of last year, said Tesla China had a “very aggressive growth objective”. She said the unit was aiming to contribute “30 to 35 %” of Tesla’s overall global sales growth targeted for 2014.
“The most important task right now, now that we have announced our pricing strategy, is to focus on getting the right car and making sure we have the right service network, and making sure the Chinese customer is happy,” she said. “Happy customers are the best advocate of your product, right?”
Wu said the company aimed to double overall total sales this year. She put global sales at 23,000 to 24,000 last year. The Beijing-born executive, who worked for Apple’s China unit in Beijing from 2006 until she joined Tesla in December, said that given the Tesla car’s “quality,” the Model S offered “great value”. Wu also applauded Beijing’s support for electric and plug-in electric hybrid cars.
She said Tesla had also 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. Wu said Tesla had no plans to start local production of its cars in China, at least for the time being.