Why Did Tesla's China President Bail So Soon?

Dec 12, 2014 04:30 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Tesla's president in China is stepping down for undisclosed reasons after about a year with the company.

President Veronica Wu has resigned, and her duties will be taken over by Tom Zhu, who has been leading Tesla's charging infrastructure development in China, Bloomberg News reported.

Wu came from Apple to join Tesla last December, and she took over as head of Tesla's China operations in April, which is when the electric carmaker began delivering to the world's biggest auto market.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla hasn't specified why Wu is suddenly departing after less than nine months in China.

"Tesla counts on China as one of their main drivers of growth after California, and it might have been more difficult than they thought," Jochen Siebert, a managing director at JSC Automotive Consulting, told Bloomberg. "They need to succeed in China, as it's one of the markets that's open to electric vehicles."

Tesla, which has nine stores and service centers in six Chinese cities, has both encouragement and obstacles for growth in the country. Especially in light of its growing smog problem in major cities, China is receptive to electric car technology and has encouraged residents to purchase green vehicles through various measures.

On the other hand, Tesla has had issues getting clearance to put units for recharging its Model S in residential compounds, keeping it from reaching many Chinese consumers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In its home country, the electric automaker continues to do battle in several states that have effectively banned Tesla's direct-sales model.

The company has opened a new showroom in Paramus, N.J., that allows potential customers to test-drive the Model S and pick out their favorite features, but wannabe buyers still won't be driving a Tesla home. For now, New Jersey customers can only purchase the Model S online.  

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