[THE INVESTOR] Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin visited Korea’s first Tesla showroom on the opening day March 15, showcasing his penchant for the iconic US EV maker.
Chung arrived at the Tesla store located inside the Starfield Hanam Mall, Shinsegae Group’s latest shopping complex, on the outskirts of Seoul around 9 a.m., an hour before the store’s official launch.
“I came to congratulate as we have waited a long time for Tesla’s opening,” Chung told reporters as he walked inside the showroom. Upon entering, Chung looked around the store while Nicolas Villeger, Tesla vice president of North Asia and Southeast Asia, explained details of the cars that were on display. “I’ve known Villeger for a long time when he headed the Korean operation of the Coach brand,” he said.
He got inside the white Model S 90D to try out the vehicle, turning the steering wheel and touching the display screen.
At the store, he reportedly preordered Model X SUV -- which hasn’t yet received government certification to officially launch in Korea.
Chung’s affection for Tesla began before the US automaker officially launched in the country. He made headlines in 2014 when he became the first Korean to own a Tesla car. He bought Tesla Model S85 in the US and brought it back to the country.
“As a business partner, I hope Tesla sells many cars to achieve solid revenue,” he said. “Shinsegae will do everything to help (Tesla) install its chargers.”
At Hanam Starfield Mall, Tesla completed deploying seven chargers, known as Destination Charger, three days before the store opening.
Tesla said it is teaming up with Shinsegae to install six to seven supercharger stations across the country by end of this year, along with 25 lower-speed Destination Chargers at its retail locations, including E-mart and Shinsegae Department Store.
With the opening of the first store in Hanam, Tesla officially made its debut in the country after several months of delay.
Currently, only the Model S 90D -- the first and only Tesla model to receive government certification -- is available for sale here. The customers can order the vehicle online and expect to receive the cars starting June.
The automaker said it plans to expand its lineup of other models, including other trim levels for the model S by this year, as well as Model X SUV and more economic Model 3 in the future.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)