Musk to break ground on Tesla China plant in uncertain times

Musk to break ground on Tesla China plant in uncertain times

Musk to break ground on Tesla China plant in uncertain times

Tesla unveiled plans in July for what is Musk's biggest overseas move yet, saying the factory's eventual annual production of 500,000 vehicles would dramatically increase its output and allow more direct access to the world's biggest electric-vehicle market.

Tesla Inc will break ground on its Shanghai Gigafactory on Monday, Chief Executive Elon Musk said in a tweet, formally starting construction of the US electric vehicle (EV) maker's first Chinese plant as its ramps up its presence in the market.

Electric carmaker Tesla's first plant outside the USA, the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, is about to begin construction. The challenging environment also includes competition from several startups that all want to be like Tesla.

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Officers fired tear gas to prevent hundreds of demonstrators crossing the river and reaching the National Assembly on Saturday. Several journalists have been assaulted since the protests called by the grass-roots movement started in November.

Automotive News reported that Tesla has yet to obtain approval from authorities in Europe to begin selling the Model 3 in the region, though this is not expected to impede the automaker from starting deliveries next month, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Elon Musk's lawyers are fighting efforts by lawyers for investors suing Tesla to bring his girlfriend into the case. The two sides have called a truce in their trade fight and are engaged in talks to cool tensions, with China temporarily scrapping a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on USA -made cars starting January 1.

A local Chinese plant may be crucial for Tesla, which is struggling to stave off a potential dip in demand at home, its biggest market, after reductions in federal tax credits for EVs. In November, it clocked 393.

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Passenger auto sales in the world's second-largest economy declined for six consecutive months through November, putting them on track for the annual decline.

Tesla signed a preliminary agreement with the Shanghai government previous year to build the 500,000-unit factory in the Chinese city.

Musk said the Shanghai plant would supply the "Greater China region" with "affordable versions" of the Tesla Model 3 - the carmaker's first mid-price, mass-market vehicle - and its planned Model Y.

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The Shanghai government said in a statement its mayor Ying Yong urged the firm to "accelerate" work on the factory and said production would start to some degree in the second half of 2019 during a land visit in December past year.

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