Elon Musk Hits Reset Button After Tesla Motors Botches Chinese Invasion

For all the excitement and fanfare Tesla Motors enjoyed when it entered the Chinese market more than a year ago, the electric car manufacturer is fighting weak sales now. CEO Elon Musk has returned to China to help the company improve its image there and get sales back on track.

At least part of the problem for Tesla in China has been a fear that customers have had in the United States: range anxiety, which is the worry that your car will run out of battery power before you can find an appropriate charger. While Tesla proved to Americans that they could easily charge their Tesla vehicles, that’s proven to be a tougher sell in China. Part of the problem may have been the sales people themselves.

“This sounds kind of brain-dead, but our sales team was telling people that it was difficult to charge in China, even though this is not true,” Musk told analysts, according to Bloomberg Business

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The last three months have seen some improvement in sales, thanks to clearing up misconceptions with the sales staff and changes to the rear seat of the Tesla. Many high-end car buyers in China are chauffeured, so Tesla has introduced a $2,000 executive rear seat option that features zone heating, smartphone-based climate control, and leather.

The Tesla’s navigation software has also been a source of complaints in China, but the company plans to roll out some software changes that it will be able to load to existing cars. And the company is supplementing its Supercharger stations with destination charging stations at various hotels and retailers.