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Tesla Kicks Off China Sales This Month With Musk Helming

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the electric-car maker, starts delivering its luxury sedans in China this month and said the company’s co-founder, billionaire Elon Musk, will be there to kick off the effort.

“We’re going to be doing our first customer deliveries later this month. Elon is going to be doing that personally,” Simon Sproule, Tesla’s vice president of marketing and communications, said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. “It’s got huge potential.”

China may become Tesla’s biggest market, with sales in the nation matching the company’s U.S. volume as early as next year, Musk, 42, said earlier this year. The Palo Alto, California-based carmaker’s push into the world’s most populous country is part of a strategy to boost production of the Model S sedan by 56 percent this year, as Tesla also expands in Europe.

Tesla hasn’t set an exact date for the first deliveries in China, said Sproule, who was hired this month from the Renault SA-Nissan Motor Co. alliance.

The company’s China entry is being watched closely by other carmakers that have tried to convince local consumers to buy electric cars. The nation lags behind its target to have 5 million alternative energy-powered vehicles by 2020, due to a lack of charging stations and high costs, even as public concerns over worsening air pollution are mounting.
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

A Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric vehicle is displayed at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 in Tokyo.

Tesla fell 5.9 percent to $204.19 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 36 percent this year.
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