Tesla can't catch a break in China

Tesla can't catch a break in China

HONG KONG - With an estimated 250,000 electric cars that made their way to dealers' lots in 2015, China is poised to displace the US as the world's largest emission-free vehicle market. Yet, to Tesla, the California-based electric car pioneer, China is a contradiction.

"We are still doing reasonably well in mainland China, but we do face quite [a] high import duty, and we do not yet have access to local incentives," Chief Executive Elon Musk said here at an event on Monday. "The obstacle for our cars in mainland China is much greater than it would be, actually, anywhere in the world."

Musk said Tesla is still in the process of exploring options to build cars in China, adding that any updates on Chinese partners or factory locations will hopefully come by the middle of this year.

Tesla reported that it had sold 3,025 cars in China through the first nine months of 2015 -- grossly missing its target of 10,000 units, set a year ago. The frustrating results have prompted Musk to trim his China expectations: This year's indicator of success will be sales of 5,000 units.

The quarter through September was Tesla's best ever in China since it forayed into the market in 2014. The company managed to sell 1,345 sedans across the country during the period, 11 per cent of Tesla's global deliveries during the term.

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