Although the U.S. premium electric carmaker has yet to give its brand a Chinese name due to a long-running trademark dispute, Tesla has started offering its poplar Model S sedans in China.
Tesla recently opened its first flagship store in downtown Beijing and this week launched a Chinese-language website to take orders from Chinese car buyers. That has caused a buzz online with enthusiasts avidly guessing how Tesla will be named locally and even offering advice.
What’s absent from the website, which has similar look and feel to its American counterpart, is Tesla’s Chinese language name, a rare omission for global brands entering China. That’s because “Te Si La”, the Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers, has been registered by a local businessman who has been refusing to give up the trademark.
Zhan Baosheng, the businessman who registered “Te Si La” in 2006, has no intention at the moment to sell the Chinese-language trademark despite numerous requests from potential buyers. Tesla’s Beijing-based salesman Ma Li admitted Tesla has no Chinese name yet, adding he doesn’t know when or whether there will be one.