Tesla to Open Dealership in China Where EV Sales Are Still Weak image

Tesla continues to invest in China, despite analysts’ predictions that the electric-vehicle market here remains sluggish.

In January, Tesla announced at the Detroit Auto Show that it will open this spring its first Chinese dealership, in Beijing. Tesla’s vice-president of worldwide sales George Blankenship said that the timing is ‘perfect’ to move into the “incredibly important” market,’ but didn’t offer more details.

Tesla, which also has dealerships in Europe, Japan, Australia and the US, refused to offer information about the Beijing plan, saying only that construction of the outlet is under way. Analysts doubt that Tesla’s plan would be a successful one, taking into consideration the fact that demand for EVs continues to be weak.

But, the harmful smog which covered Beijing and other cities in China, have forced government to reconsider the necessity of low-emission vehicles, for the country’s and its people health. The State Council has set a new target of achieving production and sales of 500,000 plug-in hybrid and pure-electric vehicles by 2015 and 5,000,000 by the end of the next decade.

“The government’s been trying to promote them [electric vehicles], but it’s not an easy sell,” said Tim Dunne, director of Asia-Pacific market intelligence at consumer-research firm JD Power and Associates. “While everyone [who does business with China] would like China to reduce their dependence on oil and reduce emissions. EV sales are anemic in most markets around the world.”