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Tesla prizes China-made Model 3 at 328,000 yuan as China’s plan accelerates

BEIJING (Reuters) – the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla Inc said on Friday it would price its China-made Model 3 vehicles of 328,000 yuan ($47,529), as it pushes the production and sales in the world’s largest new-energy vehicle market.

FILE PHOTO: The Tesla Model 3 is displayed during a media preview of the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

The carmaker is building a plant in China since January, where it will begin the production of Model 3 cars. Pre-orders for the cars will also start on Friday, the company said on its website.

The standard range plus Model 3 is 49,000 yuan cheaper than China’s current cheapest version, the standard range plus, although it remains unclear whether the automaker will receive China’s subsidies for new energy vehicles.

The prices for five different versions of China-made Model 3s range of 328,000 to 522,000 yuan. Customers can expect the car in 6-10 months, the company said.

The high-end version of the Model 3 will still be imported from the United States.

Investors are focused on the question whether the gross profit margin on the Model 3 will remain around 20 percent in China.

CRUCIAL PRODUCTION

Doubts about the Model 3 production and sales performance to hit Tesla’s stock in recent months.

The production of cars locally is likely to help Tesla minimise the impact of the US-China trade war, which has forced the EV maker to adjust prices of the AMERICAN cars in China.

Keeping the prices in check will also help Tesla to fend off competition from a part of the domestic EV startups such as Nio Inc, Weltmeister and XPeng Engines, as well as established car manufacturers such as Volkswagen and General Motors.

Tesla’s so-called Gigafactory is China’s first wholly foreign-owned car plant, and is seen as a reflection of the country’s wider shift to open up the car market.

Photos of the Shanghai plant is placed on Tesla’s social-media account showed the construction of the main section was almost done. The company also held a recruitment event this week for the car industry and logistics employees.

Tesla forecast completion in 2019 would reach 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles and said that it can produce as many as 500,000 vehicles as the factory of China, achieved the volume of production in the fourth quarter.

Reporting Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates

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