Date
10 January 2020
Elon Musk dances onstage during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars in Shanghai on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
Elon Musk dances onstage during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars in Shanghai on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Musk launches Tesla Model Y SUV program in China

Tesla on Tuesday launched the?Model Y electric sports utility vehicle program at the firm’s new Shanghai factory, as it delivered its first cars built outside the United States to the public.

CEO Elon Musk caused a flutter as he danced on stage at the event, stripping off his jacket and flinging it aside to reveal a T-shirt with a cartoon of the factory, Reuters reports.

In a tweet, Musk labeled the video “NSFW” – not safe for work.?

Tesla’s US$2 billion Shanghai factory started delivering cars in just 357 days, a record for global automakers in China.

The first 10 customers from the public received their China-made Model 3 sedans on Tuesday.

Musk?predicted that “ultimately Tesla Model Y will have more demand than probably all the other cars of Tesla combined”, while talking about the progress of the Shanghai factory.

The ceremony was attended by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and other senior government officials.

Construction of Tesla’s first plant outside the United States began in January 2019 and production started in October.

The factory started with a production capacity of 150,000 Model 3 sedans and Tesla aims to push that to 250,000 vehicles a year, including Model Y, in the plant’s first phase.

Tesla unveiled its Model Y in March 2019 and said in October that production of the electric compact SUV at its Fremont facility in California was running ahead of schedule, adding at the time that it expects to launch the model by summer 2020.

It has said that margin expectations are higher for Model Y than Model 3, while production costs are roughly the same.

Tesla’s China website estimates the starting price for Model Y vehicles at 444,000 yuan (US$63,912). It will announce the retail price later.

The China-made Model 3 sedans are priced at 355,800 yuan before subsidies.

Shanghai Vice Mayor Wu Qing said he hopes to see Tesla extend its cooperation with the city and for the car maker to manufacture more models at its Chinese plant.

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