(Yicai Global) Jan. 3 -- Tesla's Shanghai assembly line, its first outside of the US, will begin delivering China-made Model 3 sedans on a large scale from Jan. 7, the electric carmaker confirmed to Yicai Global today. Tesla also said it would reduce the price of the vehicles.
The Gigafactory in Lin-gang Special Area makes 1,000 Model 3s a week and is expected soon to turn out 3,000 a week. Tesla's plant in Fremont, California, has been producing 5,000 a week since the middle of last year as the line's automation rate reached more than 95 percent. Its China factory may not have such a high rate, Tesla said.
The company will cut the starting price of China-made Model 3s by 9 percent to CNY323,800 (USD46,440) from CNY355,800. But buyers will actually pay CNY299,000 because each car is exempt from Chinese purchase tax and receives a new energy vehicle subsidy of CNY24,750 (USD3,550). Similar motors made by Chinese rivals Nio and Xpeng Motors sell for CNY358,000 and CNY240,000, respectively.
Tesla started construction of its Shanghai Gigafactory last January. It is slated to reach annual output of 500,000 vehicles in the next four to five years. According to Tesla founder Elon Musk the plant will become the blueprint for the firm's future global factories and serve as a benchmark for its worldwide production strategy.
Editor: Peter Thomas