Tesla has appointed a new country director in South Korea as the electric vehicle company continues to gain popularity in the country.
According to Tesla Korea, 44-year-old Kim Kyung-ho has been appointed new director of the country and will begin his term on Monday, May 18. “We look forward to new changes and the continued success of Tesla Korea thanks to our know-how and leadership,” said Tesla Korea.
Kim joins from State Street, where he worked as vice president of the bank's Korean branch. He graduated from New York University and earned a master's degree in business administration from Duke University, and also worked for Daewoo Securities, a Korean securities firm, and BlackRock, an American asset management firm, until his stay at State Street.
Photo provided by Tesla shows Kim Kyung-ho, who will serve as country director of the U.S. carmaker's South Korean operations from Monday. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)(Yonhap)
Prior to his new appointment, Yvonne Chan, Tesla's Country Director for Taiwan, was responsible for overseeing Tesla's operations in Taiwan and South Korea.
The American brand of electric vehicles entered the South Korean market in 2017, and its Model 3, Model S and Model X cars are currently available for purchase in the country. The growing popularity of Tesla cars here is due to the growing demand for electric cars, caused by an increase in an environmentally friendly consumer base and government subsidies for electric cars.
Tesla is one of the fastest growing imported car brands in South Korea. In the first quarter of 2020, Tesla reached 4,070 car sales, ranking third in the imported car market immediately after Mercedes-Benz and BMW, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
"As Korean consumers have been taking part in the innovation, Tesla took over 11 percent of the imported cars market in March," said Lim Eun-young, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
According to Tesla Korea, the Model 3 took a crucial role in the company growth as it increased 72% in March compared to the previous month. At the end of October 2019, registered Tesla vehicles in the country stood at 1,599 but the number more than quadrupled to 7,400 by the end of March.
Tesla took around half of the total EV sales, which reached 8,831 for the first quarter. This growth is significant at a time when most companies are suffering from a slowdown in production since February due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tesla’s presence in the local electric car market is expected to increase further in the coming months.
"The momentum of the EV market is expected to strengthen in the second quarter and last half of the year. The Chinese factory operations are picking up steam and the Model Y is also predicted to accelerate growth as well as prompt other carmakers to adapt their EV strategies," said Park Yeon-ju, an analyst at Mirae Asset.
The Korean government subsidies also played a role in expanding the EV market. This year 8 million won ($6,540) is provided for consumers who purchase Tesla Model 3.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has increased its EV subsidies up to a maximum 18.2 million won ($14,880) per vehicle and expanded the number of EV models that could benefit, from just four models from Hyundai and Kia to 19 models from seven manufacturers, including Tesla's Model 3 and Model S.
Tesla Korea announced that it plans to provide a differentiated experience with the launch of new models and OTA software updates in the future, as well as continue to expand service centers and a dedicated charging infrastructure.
The future of Tesla in South Korea will certainly be bright. Thanks to Giga Shanghai and generous government incentives, consumers have already begun to show great interest in automaker's cars.
Featured image: Daily Kanban