Tesla Motors announces Shinsegae partnership

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Tesla Motors announces Shinsegae partnership

Tesla Motors announced Thursday that it would open its first showroom in Korea by the end of this year and confirmed previous rumors that it would be housed inside Starfield Hanam, a massive shopping mall in Gyeonggi operated by local retail conglomerate Shinsegae Group.

According to Shinsegae, the showroom will occupy a 212-square-meter (2,281-square-foot) space inside Starfield Hanam, which is slated to open next Friday and is set to become the largest shopping mall in the country.

Tesla founder Elon Musk and chief technical officer JB Straubel first hinted at a move into the Korean market during the Energy Korea Forum last November, but they did not give an exact timeline.

That same month, Tesla registered a Korean unit under the name Tesla Korea Limited.

Tesla Korea launched its website last month and started receiving preorders for three of its products, the flagship Model S sedan, the SUV-type Model X and the lower-priced Model 3, which is yet to be released even in the United States.

“Our plans with Shinsegae for 2017 and 2018 are to establish more showcases as a way to gain brand power in Korea’s electric car market,” a Tesla spokesman said.

Apart from the showroom in Starfield Hanam, Shinsegae will also collaborate with the electric-carmaker to establish more infrastructure accommodating Tesla vehicles in Korea, including the installation of electric charging stations.

The retail group hopes to build 25 charging stations for Tesla drivers at its affiliates including Shinsegae Department Store, Westin Chosun Hotel and Starbucks by the first half of next year.

The first Tesla car to be introduced in Korea is its flagship Model S, the world’s best-selling plug-in electric vehicle last year.

Known for having the highest mileage among electric cars, the Model S received the top safety rating of five stars from the European New Car Assessment Programme and the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tesla Korea plans to start test-driving the Model S in the country by the end of this year.

“The partnership deal with Tesla will help us provide a new experience for our customers,” said Jang Jae-young, CEO of Shinsegae Department Store.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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