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Tesla has begun selling Model 3 cars made in China, complete with its Autopilot system, Reuters reports, adding the price tag for the vehicle will be a little over $50,300.
This makes the China-Made Model 3 the cheapest Tesla car on sale in China after the company discontinued online sales of a cheaper version that did not have the Autopilot.
At the presentation of its third-quarter financial results, which featured a surprising profit, Tesla said its gigafactory in China had started operations ahead of schedule and was already making whole cars, “from body to paint to general assembly," chief executive Elon Musk said.
CNN reported that if Tesla’s Chinese plans turn out the way the company wants them, the company could triple its current production of all models. This would solve a persistent problem that Tesla has been having with deliveries.
However, analysts are skeptical. Tesla has obtained a license to manufacture cars in China but there are uncertainties around the workforce and suppliers that could delay mass production, they say.
Also, Tesla has yet to obtain a license for selling China-made cars on the Chinese market, and it remains unclear when Beijing will grant it.
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Tesla aims to achieve an annualized production rate of half a million cars before this year’s end. In the meantime, it reported that during the third quarter that it shipped 97,000 cars and produced 96,000.
While its Chinese operations may be going well, sales at home are falling because of a cut in subsidies. Tesla’s registrations in the U.S. fell by 38 percent year on year in August and by 18.7 percent on the year in September, according to data from automotive intelligence provider Dominion Cross-Sell. The drop was caused by the halving of federal tax incentives for EV buyers, which entered into effect in July for Tesla, after it reached the maximum number of cars eligible for the higher credit.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.