Tesla is starting to export made-in-China Model 3 vehicles to Europe — something the automaker originally said it didn’t plan to do.
When Tesla started building its Gigafactory in Shanghai, in an attempt to reassure people that the automaker wasn’t just shifting production capacity to China, CEO Elon Musk was adamant that it would supply local demand in China and not export to other markets.
The optics were very important since the factory was announced amid the trade war between the US and China.
Last month, reports coming out of China indicated that Tesla changed its mind and was now planning to start exporting made-in-China Model 3 vehicles to other markets.
With the changes that were made to the Model 3 this week, Tesla pushed the delivery timeline of the Model 3 Standard Range Plus in European markets.
Now it looks like we have an explanation for the longer delivery delay as new Model 3 Standard Range Plus buyers in Europe are being told that their cars are coming from China.
Here’s a bill from a new Tesla Model 3 buyer in France that shows the Model 3 is made in China (via Green Drive):
In France, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus is listed €46,600, including €8,267 in taxes.
Tesla recently updated its Model 3 Standard Range Plus in China with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from Chinese battery maker CATL.
It resulted in a price drop and a range increase earlier this month for Chinese customers.
This is quite an important move.
If I may venture into some speculation, I think that with Fremont focusing on Model Y production and Tesla ramping up capacity at Gigafactory Shanghai, it may make more sense for Tesla to send Model 3 vehicles from China to Europe until they have local production at Gigafactory Berlin.
Tesla is certainly not alone in doing this.
BMW and Polestar are now both producing electric vehicles in China that they are selling in Europe.
How do you feel about this move? Are you OK with getting made-in-China Tesla vehicles instead of made-in-California? Even with LFP batteries? Let us know in the comment section below.
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