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Tesla prepares for South Korea debut in challenge to Hyundai

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Tesla Motor Inc is preparing for its debut in South Korea as the US electric-car maker looks to challenge Hyundai Motor Co at home.

[SEOUL] Tesla Motor Inc is preparing for its debut in South Korea as the US electric-car maker looks to challenge Hyundai Motor Co at home.

The maker of Model S sedans listed on its website four new positions for sales and engineering in South Korea and one recruiter for the country, who'll be based in Japan. Tesla has registered its corporation and plans to set up an office in Seoul, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions, declining to provide details of its plans.

South Korea is among countries where Tesla will offer its Model 3, the car the company is counting on to expand its customer base, chief executive officer Elon Musk said in April. While electric autos comprise less than 1 per cent of 21 million vehicles in South Korea, market leaders Hyundai and Kia Motors Corp plan to have 28 environment-friendly vehicles in their lineups by the end of the decade, including electric cars and hybrids.

Hyundai started sales of the Ioniq compact, its most fuel efficient gasoline-electric hybrid, in January. The automaker has said it plans to introduce a plug-in version at the end of this year.

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