Following its usual incentive of doing business differently, California based electric automaker Tesla has announced it started selling cars online in China, through Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Tmall.com service.
This time around Elon Musk’s company is not the first automaker to use the online shopping mall, with GM and VW AG already using it to take online orders for their cars. According to Tesla China spokeswoman Peggy Yang, “Tmall offers an opportunity to reach out to general customers,” and buyers of the luxury electric sedan can bring a 50,000-yuan ($8,200) deposit for the electric car using the online service.
Billionaire entrepreneur, CEO and co-founder Elon Musk brought Tesla Motors to the largest auto market in the world back in April and now wants to speed up the delivery increase – seeing China as a contender for US in terms of sales in the near future. The sales process is now greatly sped up, because the automaker doesn’t need to rely on building up an expensive and slow network of dealerships across the country.
Klaus Paur, London-based global head of automotive at researcher Ipsos, says the move is a normal one, as any carmaker has a huge challenge reaching the Chinese mainland, instead concentrating on the sprawling coastal cities. But in time, these true megalopolis have become too crowded and the sales growth is fading away.
According to Yang, Tesla has decided to offer 18 pre-configured cars through the marketplace, denying customers the possibility to choose the trim and other features.