Tesla Faces Obstacles in China, Opens Plant in Europe

Trademark issues could delay Tesla’s plans in China, but expansion in Europe is going smoothly.

American electric car company Tesla is finding obstacles in its attempt to expand internationally, as a businessman in China has already claimed trademark rights to the Tesla name, according to a report from Reuters.

Although few details are known about the trademark, Zhan Baosheng registered the Tesla name in 2006 in English and Chinese. Zhan operates a Tesla website expressing intentions to “build China’s best electric car” which shows a similar logo to American Tesla. Tesla was reportedly planning on opening a showroom in Beijing at the beginning of next year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously expressed intentions of entering the Chinese market due to the expansion of the luxury market there. However, this legal issue, along with the fact that Tesla has not yet completed project registration in China for the Model S, may delay Tesla’s appearance in China unless Tesla is able to buy out Zhan’s trademark.

Tesla has already made its debut in other countries, including Japan, Australia, and many European countries. Tesla expansion in Europe has been progressing quickly, with the first Model S cars being delivered to customers in Norway in early August. Tesla also opened a new plant in Tilburg, Netherlands this week which will handle final assembly of Model S sedans for Dutch, Belgian, French, and German customers after the cars are shipped from Tesla’s California plant. Tesla plans to install its Supercharger network across Europe as well, which allows for free, quick charging for Model S owners at designated Supercharger locations.

Tesla’s growth has been impressive so far, and the company will be rolling out new models in the near future. The Model X crossover is next up after the concept debuted at the 2013 Detroit auto show, and Tesla has also reportedly filed a trademark application for the name “Model E,” according to Automotive News. This could be a less expensive, smaller entry-level sedan to slot in below the Model S, which starts at $71,070 before any tax deductions.

Source: Reuters, Automotive News, Tesla