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Elon Musk to visit Shanghai after US-China trade war upsets Tesla plan

Elon Musk’s Tesla has been working on setting up a production facility in China for more than a year.

business Updated: Jul 10, 2018 11:25 IST
Bloomberg News
Elon Musk,Tesla,trade war
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, speaks during the International Space Station Research and Development Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington.(AFP)

Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk is due to be in Shanghai at an event with the government on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the plans, as the US-China trade war upends the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.

The chief executive officer also plans to visit Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. While details of the trip weren’t immediately available, Tesla has been working on setting up a production facility in China for more than a year.

That effort is getting renewed urgency because the US and China have increased tariffs on vehicles. Tesla has raised prices of Model S sedans and Model X crossovers in China by as much as $30,000 after Beijing imposed additional duties on American-built autos, putting its vehicles beyond the reach of more consumers in its No. 2 market globally.

A Tesla China spokeswoman didn’t return an email and calls seeking comment. The Palo Alto, California-based company’s shares rose 3.1 percent to $318.51 at the close of trading in New York Monday.

Tesla said in June 2017 that it was working with the Shanghai government to explore local manufacturing. The company’s only car-assembly plant is in Fremont, California, and it also has a battery factory in Nevada.

In November, Musk said Tesla was about three years away from starting production in the world’s biggest auto market. The factory will make a couple hundred thousand vehicles a year for buyers in China and potentially other parts of Asia, he said at the time.

Tesla probably will make the Model 3 and upcoming Model Y crossover in China and won’t build the bigger and pricier Model S or Model X there, Musk said then. In June, he told shareholders that the company may announce more details as soon as this month about plans to build a car, battery-pack and powertrain plant in Shanghai.

First Published: Jul 10, 2018 11:10 IST