Tesla is gearing up to launch its much-awaited Model X SUV in the U.S. market in the third quarter this year. However, the vehicle won’t arrive in China until the first half of 2016, Tesla’s Beijing-based spokesman Gary Tao told Bloomberg. The electric vehicle maker is opening 5-6 new showrooms in China this year, taking the total to 15 in the country. The new showrooms will be located in the center of major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.
Model X may boost Tesla’s China sales
Tesla has struggled to grow in the world’s largest automobile market. Even though demand for automobiles is cooling amid China’s slowing economy, experts believe Model X may help boost Tesla’s sales figures in China. The EV maker’s founder and CEO Elon Musk has blamed concerns about the ease of charging for massive order cancellations in the country.
Elon Musk said last week that he was expecting Model X to double the company’s total sales. The company delivered 21,552 Model S units in the first half of this year. And now Tesla is counting on Model X to reach its 2015 sales target of 55,000 units. The Palo Alto-based EV maker has already received more than 20,000 pre-orders for its upcoming SUV.
Tesla expanding charging infrastructure in China
Tesla is rapidly adding to its Supercharger network as well as destination charger setups in China. It has joined hands with local real estate developers and retailers to expand its charging facilities. Gary Tao said the company now has 1,400 destination charging spots in China. To ramp up production, Tesla has dedicated 3-4 times more robots to the Model X line than Model S, said Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brad Erickson after visiting its Fremont facility.
Even after facing a setback in China, Tesla says the country remains one of the most important markets for the company. Meanwhile, Tesla is also looking to expand to South Korea. Earlier this month the company posted a job for VP of Sales, Japan and Korea.
Tesla shares rose 0.44% to $264.30 in early trading Thursday.