Tesla Motors, Inc. Delivers First Cars to Hong Kong. Is Japan Next?

Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) international rollout of Model S deliveries and Superchargers continues. The electric-car maker's latest move in Asia is in Hong Kong. While the company had a few models of its luxury Model S sedan there earlier this month, the first deliveries to customers didn't occur until last Wednesday. That was Tesla's third right-hand-drive market, and the company has only one such market left that it said it would enter this summer: Japan.

Right-hand drive Model S at the Hong Kong celebration of the first deliveries in the region. Image source: Tesla.

The Hong Kong rollout
"We could not be here without you," Jerome Guillen, Tesla's vice president of global sales, told the crowd in Hong Kong on Wednesday. "It is really meaningful, and we appreciate your commitment to helping us with our goal, which is to accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation."

In a blog post detailing the delivery event, Tesla said hundreds of enthusiasts and customers gathered at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. On Twitter, Tesla said it handed the keys to eight owners in Hong Kong. The company also announced the opening of the first two Supercharger stations in the region.

The delivery of vehicles to Hong Kong suggests Tesla is on schedule with its international rollout. In the company's first-quarter letter to shareholders, Tesla said it planned to deliver vehicles to the U.K., Hong Kong, and Japan all by "later this summer."

Why Japan matters
The expansion to right-hand-drive markets so far bodes well for the company's execution this year on its goal to grow its addressable market and boost annual deliveries by about 50% from 2014. But now the focus will shift to Japan, an expansion that will probably be more closely watched.

Japan is an important market for Tesla. During Tesla's second-quarter 2013 earnings call, Japan received special attention in reference to the company's international markets that it plans to expand to. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it is taking the Japan market "very seriously."

"I know that lot of car companies don't take the Japan market really seriously, but I think we are going to do that," Musk explained on the call. [People in Japan are] very discerning and actually I would consider it a great honor if the Japanese were to actually buy our car."

Special attention to the market is probably a good idea, especially in light of the country's recent push for hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Not only are Japanese vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota making big bets on the new technology, but the government is also investing in hydrogen filling stations and is offering substantial subsidies for purchases of fuel-cell vehicles. Japan's government has committed to provide about $20,000 per car for subsidies toward Toyota's new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which has a starting price of about $70,000 -- putting it neck and neck with Model S pricing.

Toyota fuel-cell vehicle. Image source: Toyota.

Hong Kong is Tesla's 16th market. And Japan could very well be Tesla's 17th. When Tesla reports earnings this Thursday, look for comments regarding Tesla's plans to expand to Japan. Also, we will hopefully get an update on how Tesla feels about the market and whether its international expansion is still on schedule.

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Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (8)

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  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2014, at 3:30 AM, docwaf wrote:

    Greetings from Japan.

    Japan already has TELSA in a small way though;) as it is possible to book a test drive and then pre order, so yes Japan will be very soon.

    I am interested in the super charger stations, as my neighbour owns a Nissan leaf, but doesn't use it on long runs, he uses his box type wagon for that.

    Anyway, yes indeed Telsa will be in Japan very soon.

    Cheers Doc.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2014, at 11:26 AM, TMFDanielSparks wrote:

    Good to know Doc!

    Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2014, at 5:00 PM, ffbj wrote:

    The good about sc in Japan and even in Europe is you don't need as many to cover the country. So while 100 is not enough to cover the us.

  • Report this Comment On August 01, 2014, at 10:40 AM, JayInJapan wrote:

    There are two small showrooms with cars to test drive. One is in Aoyama in Tokyo. The other is near Osaka/Umeda station in Osaka. I have heard of events held in other areas (Fukuoka and Hakone). I drove the first red signature Model S in Tokyo in March (the one you can see on the Japanese homepage). I'm going to Osaka to drive a right-hand model tomorrow. I'll drive their blue one. They're getting a new black one tomorrow morning. I'm very excited.

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