Tesla Competing with Hyundai As It Enters South Korea Market

Tesla Motors plans to expand its presence in Asia by entering the South Korea market and challenging Hyundai Motor Co. at home.

The automaker has listed on its website four new positions for sales and engineering in South Korea and one recruiter for the country, who will be based in Japan. In response to an inquiry from Automotive News, Tesla said that it has registered its corporation and will be setting up an office in Seoul. The company declined to offer details of its business plan for South Korea.

South Korea is among countries where Tesla will offer its Model 3 and thinks that market will expand its customer base, CEO Elon Musk said in April. Hyundai and Kia Motors Corp. plan to have 28 environment-friendly vehicles in their lineups by the end of the decade, including electric cars and hybrids.

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The South Korean government wants to bring air quality up to western European levels within a decade. In December, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced plans that would increase the number of traditional gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in electric hybrids (PHEV), pure electric vehicles (EV), and hydrogen fuel cell cars to 20 percent of all sales by the year 2020.

Hyundai started sales of the Ioniq compact gasoline-electric hybrid in January. The automaker has said it plans to introduce a plug-in version at the end of this year.

Tesla sees Asia as an important part of establishing its global brand. Along with a wide network of retail stores, service centers, and chargers in China, Tesla has a solid presence in Japan. Tesla entered the Japanese marketing in September 2014, bringing the same Model S versions used in the U.K., with right-hand drive configuration.

Automotive News