Tesla delivers its first ‘Made in China’ cars
Tesla has delivered its first cars made in China, marking a major milestone for the electric vehicle maker.
Fifteen Model 3 sedans were handed over at the company’s so-called “Gigafactory” near Shanghai.
It comes as Elon Musk’s company aims to secure a significant slice of the world’s biggest car market.
Tesla’s move into the country comes as the trade war has forced other American companies to shift production out of China.
US technology giants Apple, Google, HP, and Dell have all reportedly started the process of moving production from China to other Asian countries.
Tesla had previously imported all of the cars it sold in China, which meant they were hit with tariffs.
The Chinese plant is part of the Silicon Valley-based car maker’s plans to increase its presence in China and ease the negative impact of the trade war.
The company isn’t just expanding its manufacturing into China. In November, it revealed plans to build a huge European production facility on the outskirts of Berlin in Germany.
During a ceremony at the company’s multi-billion dollar plant, 15 of its employees received cars they had purchased.
The event means deliveries of cars have started a little over a year after construction of the factory got underway.
Tesla said that it wanted to start handing over vehicles before the Lunar New Year beginning on 25 January, and now plans to scale up deliveries from the start of 2020.
The Chinese-made Model 3, priced at $50,000 (£38,000) before subsidies, will compete with local electric car makers, including NIO and Xpeng Motors, as well as global brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.