SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Korea Bizwire) – Tesla Motors Inc., a U.S. electric vehicle producer, is set to open its first dealership in South Korea and possibly begin offering its globally famous electric car models to local customers before the end of the year, sources said Thursday.
The U.S. automaker has agreed to open a shop in a new shopping mall in Hanam, just southeast of Seoul, which will open next month, according to officials from Shinsegae, a major retailer and owner of the new mall.
Tesla and the South Korean retailer “have finalized” an agreement to open a shop, with the two sides currently in discussions only to confirm the remaining details of the agreement, a company official said, asking not to be identified.
The official, however, said the Tesla shop may not be launched until later in the year.
“It will likely be opened in late November. Whether they will also be able to begin selling their cars as soon as the shop opens depends on how soon the government authentication process is completed,” he added.
Still, the Tesla shop will open when it is ready to at least serve as a showroom, the official said, noting that simply displaying Tesla vehicles could attract visitors to the new shopping mall.
Tesla currently has only two luxury electric vehicle models — the Model S and the Model X — with its latest and more affordable model, the Model 3, set to be launched late next year. The Model 3 is said to have gathered some 370,000 preorders globally.
Ahead of its imminent launch in South Korea, the U.S. automaker completed the registration of its South Korean unit, Tesla Korea Ltd., with the local government late last year.