Tesla Inc. delivered its first China-made sedan to the public Tuesday as the US electric-car maker officially kicked off production at its China plant in a key step to tap the world's largest auto market.
"We are holding today a ceremony to mark the start of the China-made Model Y programme", senior Shanghai government official Zhu Zhisong said at the ceremony, also attended by billionaire Chief Executive Elon Musk, Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and other senior government officials.
The public rollout of the plant's Model 3 electric cars came one year after Tesla broke ground on its multibillion-dollar Gigafactory near Shanghai - the first outside the United States.
Tesla broke ground on January 7, 2019 on its first overseas factory in Lingang Area, a high-end manufacturing park in the southeast harbor of Shanghai.
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"Tesla has all the features of premium brands, and its products including battery performance have been proven". It was the flawless way to start off the year as many were skeptical that the factory would be able to produce cars within a year of starting construction.
While China's new-car sales are forecast to decline this year for a third straight year due in part to the economic slowdown, luxury vehicles continue to enjoy solid demand.
This month Tesla's stock prices reached a new high of close to $500 per share, which is more than twice the level it was around three months ago.
Tesla's Chinese website estimates the starting price for Model Y vehicles at 444,000 yuan ($ 93,000). After comparing many petrol-powered vehicles and new energy vehicles, he opted for a domestically made Tesla Model 3.
Analysts believe China is a key market for Tesla, as the company faces a number of challenges such as slowing vehicle sales and increasing competition from major auto manufacturers. The price tag of the Shanghai-made sedans, however, starts at 299,050 yuan after subsidies. The foreign-made NEV cars will compete on equal footing with Chinese automakers, as China is scheduled to eliminate government subsidies for NEVs this year.