Thousands of Tesla Model S electric cars are being imported into China, but only a small number of them are making it onto China’s roads.
According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 2,800 Teslas have been imported to China, but only 432 have received government license plates, which are necessary to drive vehicles around China.
There are several possible reasons for the discrepancy.
Junheng Li, the head of research at equity firm JLWarren, says there is a possibility that buyers are purchasing the cars at the normal retail price of $120,000 and then looking to flip them at a much higher price.
Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule said, “There have been some scalpers—people have tried to buy up large consignments of vehicles. But that’s not been a significant factor in China.”
Tesla has observed two alternative reasons for the discrepancy.
First, Shanghai resolved its registration rules for Tesla models just two weeks ago, which means Tesla had to wait until then to ship the vehicles to Shanghai buyers.
Second, many Chinese buyers have already paid the $2,500 deposit, but are waiting until the government adds Tesla to the list of electric vehicles that are exempt from the 8 to 10 percent sales tax to claim possession of the new cars.
Undeterred by the delays, Tesla has built many supercharger stations throughout China as well as several hundred charging stations, mostly in Beijing. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk predicts that the company may begin building its luxury electric vehicles in China within three to four years.
image credit: teslamotors.com