Tesla names new country director in South Korea

The new appointment reflects the rising popularity of the electric car brand in South Korea.

Tesla has appointed a new country director for South Korea as the electric vehicle company continues to rise popularity in the country. 

The 44-year old Kim Kyung-ho was named the new country director and began his term on Monday, Tesla Korea said. 

Kim joins from State Street, where he worked as vice president of the bank's Korean branch. Kim graduated from New York University and received an MBA from Duke University, and worked at Korean securities firm Daewoo Securities and US asset management firm BlackRock prior to his tenure at State Street.

Before the new appointment, Yvonne Chan, Tesla's country director for Taiwan, had been responsible for overseeing Tesla's operations in both Taiwan and South Korea.

Tesla is one of the fastest-growing imported car brands in South Korea. It was the third most popular foreign car brand in the first quarter of 2020, selling 4,070 units, behind Mercedes-Benz's 15,400 and BMW's 11,331, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

By comparison, Tesla had sold only 230 units during the first quarter of 2019.

The US electric car brand 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.

Tesla is currently embroiled in a battle to restart production at its factory in Fremont, California, having reopened the factory on Monday despite not being granted permission by the local county to do so. CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the decision to reopen was in defiance of the order to remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The electric vehicle company is also currently engaged in a lawsuit against Alameda Country for the closure of the factory, with Musk threatening over the weekend to move the factory's operations to Texas or Nevada due to order to remain shut down.

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