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Tesla fast-tracks China program with plans to start delivery in March

After making a noticeable impact on the American passenger vehicle market last year, Tesla (TSLA) seems to be taking forward its ambitious China initiative as planned. Though the sales numbers for the fourth quarter fell short of expectations, they clearly show the company is giving a tough competition to the other carmakers.

On the heels of slashing the prices of its top models in the US, both to reflect benefits of the federal tax cut and to adjust prices in the overseas markets, the company has confirmed it is on track to start delivering the Model 3 sedan to buyers in China by March, in line with CEO Elon Musk’s earlier announcement on the matter. In China, Model 3 will reportedly be priced at $72,000 initially, even as the company battles headwinds from the US-China trade war.

After starting 2019 on a dismal note, Tesla shares closed the previous trading session down 3.15% after the latest delivery statistics disappointed investors. However, the stock made strong gains in the early trading hours Friday reflecting the positive market sentiment that followed the reports about the company’s overseas initiatives, including regulatory nod to start shipments to Europe.

The company has confirmed it is on track to start delivering the Model 3 sedan to buyers in China by March

However, market watchers in general view Musk’s recent claims that Tesla has reached the top position as too optimistic, though the company is definitely posing a threat to market leaders General Motors (GM) and Ford (F), as well as their German counterparts Daimler and BMW.

In the fourth quarter, the Silicon Valley-based electric car maker produced 86,555 units, up 8% from the preceding quarter. A total of 90,700 vehicles were delivered during the three-month period, compared to 83,500 in the third quarter.

Tesla reports Q4 production and deliveries, reduces price in US

The dominance of the Tesla brand in the electric vehicle segment and the recent progress it has made with regard to setting up the Gigafactory in China could help the company neutralize the impact of the tariffs imposed on US imports. Once the China plant becomes fully operational, Tesla will be able to reinforce its presence in the world’s largest car market.

Nevertheless, the China push will not be a cakewalk for Tesla, because Musk and team will have to devise effective strategies to tackle competition and outsmart the local players while wooing customers.  The Tesla management has also revealed that multiple variants of Model 3, including a right-hand drive version, will hit more international markets later this year.

 

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