Tesla to deliver its first China-built cars on Monday

The first 15 units of sedans assembled at automaker's Shanghai plant - it’s first outside the US - will be delivered to company employees

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, file photograph, a sign bearing the company logo stands outside a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. Federal investigators have found that a 2018 crash and fire in Florida that killed the teenage driver of a Tesla Model S and a passenger was due to the car traveling at over 100 miles per hour on a curve. The National Transportation Safety Board says in a report released Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 that the battery-powered car erupted in flames after colliding with a wall. The two 18-year-olds were trapped in the car. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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Tesla will start delivering China-built cars on Monday, a major milestone for Elon Musk’s company as it mounts a push to expand in the world’s largest electric-vehicle market.

The first 15 units of Model 3 sedans assembled at Tesla’s new multi-billion-dollar Shanghai plant - it’s first outside the US - will be delivered to company employees on December 30, an external representative for Tesla said by phone on Friday.

Chief executive Mr Musk is counting on Tesla’s new China plant to help build on recent momentum for the company in the world’s largest market both for electric vehicles and autos in general.

The Model 3 will compete with electric cars from local contenders such as NIO and Xpeng Motors, as well as global manufacturers including BMW and Daimler.

Earlier today, the Model 3 was included on a list of models qualifying for an exemption from a 10 per cent purchase tax in the country.

Tesla said in October the locally built Model 3 will be priced from about $50,000 (Dh183,500). Further helping Tesla, the China-built model this month qualified for a government subsidy of as much as about 25,000 Chinese yuan (Dh13,212) per vehicle.

The company may lower the price of the locally assembled sedans by 20 per cent or more next year as it starts using more local components and reduces costs, people familiar with the matter have said.

Tesla has also entered into agreements with lenders in China for a secured term loan facility of up to 9 billion yuan, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are the lenders, according to the filing.

Besides construction and production at the Shanghai factory, the loan may also be used to repay the 3.5bn yuan debt due to be repaid on March 4 next year.

(with inputs from Reuters)