While Tesla Motors has commenced offering its Model S sedans in China, it still cannot use its Chinese brand name due to an ongoing trademark row in the country. "Te Si La," the brand’s Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers has been registered by Zhan Baosheng, a local businessman.
He registered “Te Si La” in 2006, and has since refused to sell the Chinese-language trademark despite requests from potential buyers, according to his agent Jinda Trademark Co.
Tesla's Beijing salesman Ma Li remarked that he doesn’t know when Tesla will have a Chinese name. Tesla recently opened its first flagship store in downtown Beijing and has launched a Chinese-language Web site for taking orders from Chinese customers.
The Web site, however, lacks one thing -- Tesla's Chinese language name – which is considered a rare omission for global brands entering China.
Some Tesla enthusiasts in China suggested that the brand could use an alternative Chinese-language name, "Te Su Le," which means "happiness in boosting speed". A blogger said that “Te Su Le” can be more readily accepted in China and also “sounds luckier."
That suggestion was shot down by another blogger, Michael Pu, saying that “Te Su Le” doesn't sound right as it is too vulgar.