Shown above is the Tesla Model X. Tesla plans to set up its first own maintenance shop in South Korea as the number of Tesla customers is rising fast in the country. Photo by Jeong Byung-hyuk/UPI News Korea

US electric vehicle maker strengthening operations here

Tesla tries to make its presence felt in South Korea as the American electric vehicle manufacturer plans to set up its first own maintenance shop in the country.

A source familiar with the issue said Friday that the repair shop will be placed in Songpa-gu, southern Seoul where the head office of Tesla Korea is located.

Toward that end, Tesla Korea submitted necessary documents to Songpa-gu Office, which is scheduled to give the nod to the automaker later this month, according to the source.

Comments were not available from Tesla Korea, but Songpa-gu Office confirmed it.

Prices of Tesla vehicles are pretty high, and their number is not so many. Hence, few service stations were ready to take care of Tesla models. Tesla Korea would have no choice but to establish its own service station,” a Songpa-gu official told UPI News Korea.

Tesla has sold around 8,000 units of its vehicles in South Korea since it tapped into the Korean market in early 2017. And more than half of them were sold this year.

There are a few Tesla-approved maintenance shops here, but experts have pointed out that they are not enough.

Late last month, the Korea Smart Grid Association recognized Tesla as an operator of the electric vehicle charging business. As a result, the company will be able to charge fees for its superchargers.

Over the past three years, Tesla has built more than 30 superchargers across the country. It takes an hour to fully charge a Tesla vehicle. Thus far, the service was offered free of charge.

Tesla Korea also applied as a telecom business operator last month to offer a connected-car service last month, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Tesla seemingly attempts to complete its infrastructure to compete with other brands in a full-fledged manner,” Prof. Kim Pil-soo of Daelim University told UPI News Korea.

As Tesla vehicles gain popularity, the brand may threat the dominance of Mercedes-Benz, the perennial champion among foreign brands in Korea,” he said.


UPI News Korea provides this article. _ ED.