While Tesla reps declined direct comment, Tesla has been preparing for this move for a while, even changing the Model S for China. China has surpassed the US to become the world's largest automotive market. And while just 22,000 plug-ins were sold in China last year ( more than 46,000 plug-ins were sold in the US through the first eight months of the year), that number is expected to almost triple to about 60,000 units in 2014.
Tesla is looking to start building up momentum overseas after boosting its global sales rate to about 1,700 vehicles a month during the second quarter. The car will likely appeal to wealthier Chinese consumers, since the price will be higher than elsewhere due to China's import tariffs. Additionally, the company will be called "Tuosule" (a transliteration of the name Tesla) because the name Tesla was trademarked in 2006. The owner of the Tesla trademark in China is reportedly asking for about $32 million to let Tesla use the name. That's a bit steep, even for Musk's pockets.