Buyers can place a 50,000-yuan ($8,200) deposit for the electric car through Alibaba’s Tmall.com, according to Tesla China spokeswoman Peggy Yang. “Tmall offers us an opportunity to reach out to general customers,” she said by telephone.
[The full price of this limited-edition Model S is about 1 million yuan ($170,000), Tesla says. A customer pays the balance at a physical Tesla location in China. In the United States, the Tesla Model S starts at $69,900. The price in China includes transportation and import duties.—Internet Retailer]
Tesla, led by billionaire Elon Musk, began deliveries of the Model S to the world’s largest auto market in April. The automaker is seeking to cut down the time required to ramp up its sales by selling directly through the web rather than set up a network of dealerships across the country.
“We know that it’s a big, big challenge for all car manufacturers to penetrate into the huge mainland,” Klaus Paur, London-based global head of automotive at researcher Ipsos, said by phone. “This plays perfectly into their strategy. Tesla came into the market doing things differently.”
A total of 18 pre-configured cars are being offered through the marketplace, meaning consumers can’t choose their trim and other features, Yang said.
Besides Tesla, Buick, Chevrolet, Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Shanghai Volkswagen also have official sites on Tmall.com. Chevrolet sold 245 cars through the online mall this month, according to its web site on the marketplace.