Tesla to open plant in Shanghai with annual capacity of 500,000 cars

Thai Cave Boys Rescue

The move by the electric auto maker follows China's decision to slap new tariffs on American vehicles in retaliation forUS measures against $34 billion of Chinese exports.

China's fast-growing market for new-energy vehicles presents a massive growth opportunity for Tesla.

Tesla has reached a preliminary agreement with the Shanghai government to build a factory that'll rival production from its lone US assembly plant, as Elon Musk takes his biggest step yet to expand overseas.

"Last year, we announced that we were working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a factory in the region to serve the Chinese market", Tesla said in a press statement. China has long pushed to capture more of the talent and capital invested by global automakers in advanced electric vehicle technology.

The signing ceremony was attended by Tesla chairman Elon Musk, Mayor Ying Yong and other Chinese officials, according to the city government.

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The memorandum of understanding is a major development in a more-than-yearlong effort by Tesla to open China's first production facility to be wholly owned by a foreign carmaker.

Tesla did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

That would make Tesla's Shanghai plant large by auto industry standards, where most factories are tooled to build 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles a year, and roughly equivalent to the planned annual production at Tesla's plant in Fremont, California.

But Tesla and producers including GM and Nissan Motor Co. had been reluctant to transfer manufacturing to the country due to the requirement to share technology with Chinese partners that might become rivals. Just recently, however, reports have emerged that Tesla had started offering test drives for the Model 3.

"Shanghai will be the location for the first Gigafactory outside the United States", Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a statement.

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Interested in solar? Get a solar cost estimate and find out how much a solar system would cost for your home or business. "Tesla is deeply committed to the Chinese market, and we look forward to building even more cars for our customers here".

But the latest retaliatory tariffs mean importers will have to fork out a total 40 percent duty on all US -made cars they sell in China.

CNET reports that the tensions between the USA and China caused the electric auto maker to raise the prices on its Model S and Model X vehicles.

In the meantime, Tesla has reportedly hiked its prices for imported vehicles in China to offset costs of increasing tariffs. That gave it about 3 per cent of the nation's battery-powered electric-vehicle market, placing it as the No. 10 brand in that segment. That would be more than double the current US market, where new light vehicle sales run at about 17 million vehicles a year.

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