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Tesla's China sales to catch up with U.S. in 5-6 years

Staff writer |
In the long term, Tesla Motors will probably see equal or higher sales in China than in the United States and that may take five or six years.

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Elon Musk, CEO of electric automobile maker Tesla Motors, told that Xinhua on Friday.

Sales in China in the first three quarters of 2015 reached 3,025 cars, with 791 sold in Q1, 882 in Q2 and 1,345 in Q3, respectively, Musk said at a press conference to unveil Tesla's new Autopilot system in Beijing.

Musk said the figures are good on a percentage growth basis, and he is very optimistic about Tesla's future in China. He said he wants to emphasize that Tesla is still a small company. "We get the press of an elephant, but are the size of a mouse," he said.

The company is in talks with officials at the national and provincial levels about potential joint ventures in China, according to Musk.

In a previous interview with Xinhua, Musk said Tesla plans to localize production and engineering in China in three years. "That timetable is still approximately correct. It's my best guess," he said on Friday when asked if there had been any change of plans.

Tesla has been increasing its retail outlets and supercharging networks in China, having already installed 84 superchargers and 1,500 destination chargers after sales in the country reportedly fell below expectations last year.

Musk said Tesla is now in a "pretty good place," even as traditional car makers such as BMW and Audi unveiled their own electric vehicle concepts in China.

"We are trying to put localized production in China. In the years to come, you'll see some fairly significant partnership announcements," Musk added.

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