According to public records, approximately 14,000 electric vehicles were purchased by motorists in China; this reflects a 30-percent gain from the previous year. Like most countries, China has ambitious goals to populate its highways with alternative energy vehicles and hopes to have 5 million environmentally friendly vehicles on the road in the next six years. Tesla is seeking to be a part of this growth curve.
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Tesla is not an inexpensive car to be sure. The company is charging over US $120,000 for its model S vehicle, which reflects the cost of the car as well as shipping costs and import taxes. The affluent in China who are early adopters are the target market for Tesla's new initiative and Elon Musk believes that the country could very well become the largest purchaser of their products within the next several years. Still, he is quoted as saying that he does not want to be overly enthusiastic until results start to come in. The company has a modest goal of selling 5,000 cars in China this year.
Helping Tesla greatly will be one important attribute: Tesla is an American brand and, in China, that matters. One only needs to see the massive Cadillac dealership in Shanghai to realize that there is a thirst for American luxury brands. And Tesla is considered by the Chinese to be a brand that rivals other automakers like BMW and Mercedes. While the affluent are more careful with how they spend money as the Chinese economy slows, there is still massive wealth ready to spend on luxury goods. Tesla fits that bill perfectly.