Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric vehicles stand on display at the company’s showroom in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

Even With No Musk, Tesla Steals Show at Beijing Car Exhibition

(Bloomberg) -- No media conference, no new product launches, no appearance by Elon Musk -- yet Tesla Inc. was one of the biggest draws as China’s biggest car show kicked off.

Local media and attendees swarmed around a blue Model X, a red Model 3 and a white Model S, with the Tesla stand gathering the largest crowds early on at the Beijing auto show even as Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler AG were holding their media events elsewhere at the exhibition. Tesla is participating in the Beijing show for the first time.

Even With No Musk, Tesla Steals Show at Beijing Car Exhibition

The event is a testing ground for Tesla as Musk’s company works toward a push to expand in the world’s largest electric-car market. Tesla will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of China’s decision to begin permitting foreign carmakers to take full ownership of their local ventures, while reducing import tariffs.

The new rules are welcome for Tesla as so far, Musk hasn’t been able to secure a deal to open an assembly plant in China even after negotiating with Shanghai’s government for more than a year. The sides disagreed on the ownership structure, people with knowledge of the situation said in February.

At the Beijing show, executives from local and global rivals were among those checking out Tesla’s stand early on in Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the company said. Tesla’s expanded push in China would impact rivals from Daimler, Volkswagen AG and BMW AG to local contenders such as BYD Co.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.