Big seller or Franken-vehicle? Analysts are pondering this question as Tesla Motors prepares to open its first mainland China showroom in Beijing later this year (a Hong Kong service center was opened in 2011) and start sales in the world's largest automotive market, the San Jose Mercury News says. LMC Automotive's Mike Omotoso and Brannan Auto Engineering's Charlie Paglee forecast big numbers for Tesla because of two factors: more Chinese looking to buy status symbols for their increasing wealth and the willingness for some citizens to show concern for China's growing environmental issues buy owning an electric vehicle.

Not everyone agrees. Litchfield Hills Research's Theodore O'Neill called Tesla's entry in China a big risk because of the possibility of Chinese automakers reverse-engineering the Model S by taking one apart and rebuilding a similar version under a Chinese car badge. Tesla chief Elon Musk himself has called China a "wild card" of sorts, and the company hasn't put out any forecasts for the country. Tesla did tap former Bentley China executive Kingston Chang to be the company's general manager in China. Tesla will open its first Beijing showroom in Parkview Green Mall, China's first mixed-use development to get LEED-Platinum certified for its environmentally friendly design, so it's off to a green start.


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  • 48 Comments
      walkingwolf
      • 1 Year Ago
      OR you could sue the Chinese for 4 million dollars for.....lets see..oh that was someone from China sueing us...sorry...
      walkingwolf
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they come from China will they be painted with lead???
      normkr
      • 1 Year Ago
      O'Neill's concern is misplaced. The only advantage of owning a knockoff is to save money. Status is not about saving money.
      • 1 Year Ago
      WAITING FOR A CONVERTIBLE TO BE AVAILKABLE IN RED
      chambo622
      • 1 Year Ago
      If it was that easy to buy a Tesla, take it apart, and reverse engineer it, everyone else would have done it already. Stupidest thing I've read today.
        GR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chambo622
        Regulations in China are a lot more lax so they would have more of an incentive to try to do it. For my money I would say reach out to the rest of the world first and only start selling to China once the Model X is in production.
          GR
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GR
          ps - and by "regulations" I mean laws keeping other companies from stealing your intellectual property.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chambo622
        More to the point: if someone in particular wants to take apart a Model S in China, then they will buy a Model S and take it to China. Or take it apart and ship the parts to China. Or just document the process outside of China. I don't see how selling cars in China is going to dramatically change this risk.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla has already sold cars to people in China. Elon's statement about it being a wild card had nothing to do with stealing the tech. Elon was saying that Tesla has a big question mark about how many they are going to sell there. Having a showroom is also a question mark when there hasn't been a mad rush for the car like there was in Europe. The last reservation count for China/Hong Kong was only 200 cars and that was back in January. Only Tesla knows how many more reservations they have taken. It has to be enough to risk a showroom but that the only indicator. We and Tesla shall see...
      Pandabear
      • 1 Year Ago
      They can easily buy it in the US and take it apart in China. The problem actually, is that they are not techno geek like the Americans and prefer old school European brands, so they will not pay a premium for them like the Americans. Also with their recent BYD battery and charger explosions, they have a phobia of EV in China.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      As far as I am aware, Tesla hasn't made a shipment to China yet. They just got around to sending the first shipment to Europe. That means that whatever cars are in China were bought in the US and shipped there by the customer.
      lasml
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have not seen any of them anywhere around my city. With a base price of almost $70,000, I would say that it is no wonder that they are in trouble.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lasml
        They are selling them faster than they can make them. Tesla just shipped the first shipment to Europe which will cause a pause in US shipments. Production has remained solid. The quarterly numbers come out next week, Aug 7th, and their specific sales and deliveries for last quarter will be posted. I expect to see some sort of positive surprise to come out of those numbers. We shall see.
        ElectricXebra5
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lasml
        You have no idea what you are talking about! I see them everyday in L.A. and Las Vegas...
          comment814
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ElectricXebra5
          had one pass me on the highway a few weeks ago...
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ElectricXebra5
          Well yeah . . . there are wealthy people in LA and Vegas. At $70K ($62K after tax-credit), it will be hard for Tesla to grow beyond the top 1% market.
        hdprent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lasml
        They aren't in trouble. Their back log of orders is still growing even with their in creased production.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lasml
        Ah they can make so many a year. 20,000 of them at current production. Guess what they are on backorder due to demand and Tesla is expanding production.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Litchfield Hills Research's Theodore O'Neill called Tesla's entry in China a big risk because of the possibility of Chinese automakers reverse-engineering the Model S by taking one apart and rebuilding a similar version under a Chinese car badge." They'll do this whether or not Tesla opens a showroom and sells them there. They can buy one in the US or anywhere they are sold and send it over in a shipping container. They could even take it apart where they buy it. You can't stop Chinese theft of intellectual property. We just need to figure out some way to diplomatically penalize or otherwise discourage it. I have no ideas, but maybe someone smarter than me does. The status quo is to pretend that it either doesn't exist or isn't a problem. That needs to change.
        AddLightness
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        I agree completely. And the only way to beat their attempts to copy the design is to make a better quality product and continue to innovate ahead of them, which Tesla is fully capable of :)
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        I think that the models S is too complicated for the Chinese to copy successfully. They might be able to make a cheap knock off that has the same basic vehicle shape, but when it comes to range, performance, software and charging capability they will cut corners and produce an inferior product. It would take a Billion dollar effort and years of work to duplicate the Model S. It is more likely that they would take a Model S and try to create a battery pack that offers similar energy density and power so they can make a 300 mile EV. But GM and European car manufacturers are also hard at work trying to copy Tesla's battery. Imitation only goes so far, Tesla is already working on their next generation battery.
        Aaron
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        I would also like to add that if China can make a knock-off Tesla as good as the original, they're doing better than the rest of the world's car companies.
          throwback
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Aaron
          The rest of the world's car companies respect intellectual property.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Chinese market is far too tasty for them to ignore it seems..
      Nick
      • 1 Year Ago
      I ve seen 0 Teslas on Hong Kong roads in the past 12 months. It's a bad sign.
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