Tesla to scale back in China due to poor sales

While the star effect of Elon Musk is fading away in China, Tesla is struggling with its disappointing sales performance, and the CEO doesn’t seem to have that much patience.

While the star effect of Elon Musk is fading away in China, Tesla is struggling with its disappointing sales performance, and the CEO doesn’t seem to have that much patience.


It hasn’t even been one year since Elon Musk visited China last year yet Tesla is about to fire 30% of its 600-employee local team, disclosed the Chinese newspaper the Economic Observer on 6 March. Except for the technical support, all the major departments of sales, marketing, public relations and administration are affected and up to 50% of sales staff could be dismissed. Meanwhile, all the current recruitment in China is suspended. The spokesperson of Tesla confirmed the job cutting but declined to comment on the concrete number.

This dismissal follows Musk’s publicly expressed disappointment towards China’s sales performance in January 2015. According to the CICA, Tesla imported 4,800 vehicles in 2014, whereas only 2,499 of them were registered with the license plate, which is far from the company’s previous expectation of 10,000.

Since Tesla entered into the Chinese market in 2013, it has encountered various problems: trademark dispute, delivery delay, frequent change of high-level management, lack of a reliable charging network… Whether the American innovator will conquer this market remains a big question mark.

Read more business insight in our next International Report of Innovation and Technology. Publication in April 2015.

J. Y.

Photo: Elon Musk, Tesla Chairman, through windshield of first production Tesla. ©Robert Scoble

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