US electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc will begin delivering Model 3 vehicles built at its Shanghai factory from December 30, a company representative told Reuters. Construction of its first plant outside the United States began in January and production started in October. It aims to produce 250,000 vehicles a year after the production of the Model Y is added in the initial phase. The first 15 customers to get the cars on Dec 30 are Tesla employees, the company representative added.
The delivery date of December 30 means that the plant will start delivering cars to customers just 357 days after the factory's construction started, which will mark a new record for global automakers in China. The China-made cars are priced at 355,800 yuan ($50,000) before subsidies and Tesla has said it wants to start deliveries before Chinese new year beginning on January 25.
The Shanghai plant is part of the Silicon Valley automaker's plans to bolster its presence in the world's biggest auto market and minimise the impact of the US-China trade war. The carmaker already treats China, the world's biggest electric vehicle market where 1.3 million new-energy vehicles were sold last year, differently than elsewhere, with offerings such as racing events and showroom parties.
It is also building service centres and charging stations across China to assure customers of standardised after-sales service, Reuters reported last month. The Chinese government has also been supportive of the factory, which is China's first wholly foreign-owned car plant and a reflection of the government's broader shift to open up its car market.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Friday said it had added Tesla's China-made Model 3 to a list of new energy vehicles exempt from purchase tax. The ministry had said in August it had exempted all of Tesla's models from purchase tax.