Tesla is now taking model 3 orders from customers in China, according to its website.
Reuters was the first to report that Tesla is taking orders in China.
Tesla will not confirm or comment on the information published on its own China-oriented website. Elon Musk said on Twitter Thursday that some deliveries to customers in China are likely to start in March. But ” April is more confident.”
Probably some deliveries in March, but April is more certain
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2018
According to the materials of the Chinese website Tesla, customers must make a Deposit of 8,000 yuan or about 1153 us dollars to start booking. They are eventually invited to customize the car to your liking (elements such as paint color and other features). After filling in the contract of sale of the car, the remaining amount is paid.
It seems based on the FAQ section that Tesla will make most of the options (including the performance option) available in the US available to Chinese customers. It’s unclear whether a cheaper mid-range version of model 3 will sell in China.
Tesla had mixed success in China, home of the world’s largest EV market. When Tesla first started supplying model S cars to China in 2014, the company assembled a staff of 600 people. Tesla opened stores and service centers and built fast-charging stations known as superchargers.
Tesla sold about 3,500 cars in 2014, below its sales target and behind the electric and plug-in hybrid cars produced by Chinese competitors BYD and BAIC. These sales continued to lag behind in early 2015. Tesla took a turn in China by 2016, tripling its sales from the previous year and extending profits in 2017.
Pressure of the Tariffs
Now, it faces new challenges thanks to the pressure of new tariffs.
Last month, Tesla announced plans to accelerate the construction of a plant in Shanghai. As tariffs, shipping costs, and missed incentives continue to drive up the company’s electric car prices and reduce demand.
Trade tensions between the US and China have led to 40 percent tariffs on Tesla cars compared to 15 percent duties on imported cars from other countries. Tariffs, combined with the cost of shipping their vehicles through an ocean carrier and the lack of access to cash incentives that are available for locally produced electric vehicles, put the company at a disadvantage, the company warned at the time.
As a result, Tesla said it now works with a 55 percent to 60 percent cost shortcoming compared to the same car that is produced in China.