Plans by Tesla Motors Inc. to penetrate into China, considered as the largest vehicle market in the world, has derailed after a businessman in the country claimed trademark rights to the name, people privy to the carmaker have told Reuters. Tesla has originally intended to open a flagship showroom in Beijing at the start of the year, but has had to suspend the plan due in part to the trademark issue in the country.
The country already has its first shop-front in China, located at the Parkview Green Fangcaodi mall in Beijing. The shop still bears no Tesla sign, but is already donning billboards of the premium Model S, the $70,000 electric car.
Likewise, Tesla has yet to complete product registration with Chinese authorities allowing the sale of the Model S. One of the sources told Reuters that Tesla was almost done with the registration process.
Atsuko Doi, a Tokyo-based Tesla spokeswoman, disclosed that the US carmaker had this commenced taking "reservations" for the battery-powered Model S in China this week. Tesla opened its first Asian showroom in Tokyo, Japan in 2010.
Doi told Reuters in an e-mail that Tesla is planning to open a Beijing store this year. Zhan Baosheng, a businessman in Guangdong, China, is claiming that he owns the "Tesla" trademark in China.