China Approves New Tesla Plant in Shanghai

11 July, 2018, 02:25 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Elon Musk speaks at Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air Los Angeles

Tesla has been in protracted negotiations to open its own factory in China to help bolster its position in the country's fast-growing market for electric cars and to avoid high import tariffs. Tesla cars are displayed at a showroom in the Meatpacking district in Manhattan on June 6, 2018 in New York City.

A year ago, Tesla said it was working with the Shanghai government to explore local manufacturing.

Tesla sold 14,779 vehicles in China past year, according to data from LMC Automotive.

Tesla Chef Executive Elon Musk signed the agreement at an event in Shanghai, which will be home to the plant.

Tesla did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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The Shanghai city government announced the news on its WeChat channel, and said that the factory aims to produce as many as 500,000 vehicles per year once it is fully up and running.

But Tesla and producers including GM and Nissan Motor Co. had been reluctant to transfer manufacturing to the country due to the requirement to share technology with Chinese partners that might become rivals.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares tumbled below $300 in early trading Thursday, July 5, to bring their three-day loss to almost 17%, as several Wall Street firms remain skeptical about the quality of the carmaker's Model 3 cars and its ability to meet weekly production targets profitably.

Tesla plans to produce the first cars about two years after construction begins on its Shanghai factory, ramping up to as many as 500,000 vehicles a year about two to three years later, the company said.

The youngest publicly held USA automaker is looking to expand its capacity and more efficiently reach global markets. Shanghai officials describe it as the largest foreign-funded manufacturing project in Shanghai history.

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"Tesla is deeply committed to the Chinese market, and we look forward to building even more cars for our customers here", the company said in its emailed statement.

Tesla is among companies hit by additional 25 percent import duties imposed by Beijing in retaliation for a tariff hike by U.S. President Trump in a dispute over technology policy. That would be more than double the current USA market, where new light vehicle sales run at about 17 million vehicles a year. Musk mentioned in an earnings call that a China factory would be the only way for Tesla to compete with the prices of China's local electric vehicle makers.

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BMW exported about 81,000 cars from a plant in SC to China previous year, generating about $2.4 billion in sales.

BMW also announced plans to increase production in China, but it said that was because of increased demand for vehicles there.

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China has emerged in recent years as the world's largest market for electric vehicles.

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