According to a usually very reliable South-Korean source, Tesla may want to partake in the sudden South Korean import boom, while solving some of its problems next door in China. According to the source, there have been discussions with a South Korean company that expressed interest in becoming a Tesla importer. The company was offered approximately 300 new Model S that currently are sitting in Tesla’s inventory in China. The cars are said to be fully loaded, half of them are 85 kW units.
The importer was told that the Model S already has lost its novelty appeal in China. Chinese customers increasingly balk at the lack of space in the back (Chinese in that bracket typically have a driver) along with the lack of tax savings (China insists on home-grown EVs .) There also are complaints about the interior build quality, which does not measure up with the competition by Daimler, BMW and Audi. According to the source, potential upscale South Korean customers also criticize the fit and finish, and the deal may not be struck.
The prospective importer is said to be experienced and successful in high-end retailing in South Korea, China, and elsewhere in Asia. Should the deal come together, it would be a departure from Tesla’s usual insistence on selling directly to the end-user.
Currently, only seven Model S are said to be in South Korea, five of them owned as research vehicles by LG, Samsung, and large OEMs. The remaining two are owned by the head of the presumptive importer, the source says.
We’ve got mail from Ricardo Reyes @teslamotors.com
“Comment: Your post about Model S being dumped in S. Korea is nonsense. Your “source” is wrong. Please remove the entire post. There is no truth to it.”