Sat, Jun 01, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Tesla opens orders for China-made cars


A man sits in a Tesla Model 3 at the Auto China motor show in Beijing on April 25 last year.

Photo: Reuters

Tesla Inc yesterday started taking orders for Model 3 cars to be made in China, lowering prices for the vehicle as it seeks to double down on a market it expects to drive growth and revenue.

The Palo Alto, California-based company set the base price at 328,000 yuan (US$47,523), including value added taxes, it said in a statement.

The sedans, to be built at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai, are to have a range of 460km per charge and will probably be delivered in six to 10 months. The car is 49,000 yuan cheaper than the imported version.

“The price drop makes Tesla more accessible,” the company said in a Chinese-language statement.

Tesla would introduce V3 Superchargers in China by the end of this year, it said.

The new technology cuts charging times to about 15 minutes, Tesla said in a blog post in March.

Tesla currently ships all its vehicles from the US, making them ineligible for Chinese government subsidies and subjecting them to import tariffs. The company is counting on its Shanghai factory, which is slated to begin production this year, to bolster competitiveness in a country crowded with hundreds of electric-vehicle rivals.

The need for Tesla to expand beyond the US was highlighted by its latest quarterly results, which missed analysts’ projections. The halving of a US federal tax incentive for Tesla purchases starting in January dragged on US demand in the quarter and Tesla struggled to offset that drop by starting deliveries of the Model 3 in Europe and China.

Local production in China, the world’s largest auto market, would not only allow Tesla to avoid import duties amid trade tensions, but also speed up deliveries, a priority flagged by Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk.

A 31 percent quarter-on-quarter drop in deliveries in the first three months contributed to a 43 percent plunge in Tesla shares this year.

Separately, Tesla tweeted that the Model 3 can now also be ordered in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Ireland and Macau.

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