Tesla to roll into South America with first steps in Chile

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc. electric vehicle facility in California

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Electric vehicle maker Tesla is looking to make inroads in South America by hiring personnel for a new operation in Chile and registering its name, according to public documents.

Tesla Chile was registered and published in the Official Gazette on Sept. 28 and includes "the import, export, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of vehicles, especially electric vehicles."

The registration also included other commercial activities like the generation and supply of energy and electricity.

Although Tesla Chile was registered with headquarters in Santiago, the registration leaves the option for "branches or agencies that may be established in other cities in the country or abroad."

This would be Tesla's first direct commercial operation in South America.

Tesla, which is owned by Elon Musk, also began recruiting days ago for positions such as general manager, sales advisers and service technicians, according to posts on LinkedIn.

The posting for a general manager in Chile said the company was looking for someone who "will play a fundamental role in shaping our corporate image while accelerating the transition to sustainable energy."

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chile has one of the world's largest lithium reserves and announced a plan earlier this year to take state control of the country's lithium supply.

China's BYD, one of the largest electric car producers, announced it was opening a $290 million battery component plant in Chile earlier this year.

(Report by Fabián Andrés Cambero; Writing by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Bill Berkrot)