Tesla is finally starting to unveil some of its Chinese-built vehicles as the company prepares to start sales of domestically made vehicles in the world's largest auto market.
Vehicles that have been assembled in Tesla's new Gigafactory are now starting to roll off the line, painted blue and emblazoned with Tesla's brand name in Chinese characters, according to Bloomberg.
Local media was invited last week to test drive the vehicles, with Tesla's factory marking the first plant wholly owned by a foreign carmaker. It is Tesla's first plant outside of the U.S.
The plant is producing vehicles in "small quantities" as part of preparations and working with local authorities to obtain manufacturing certification. It hopes to get it by the end of the year, Board Chairwoman Robyn Denholm says.
Of course, this is also the woman who said Elon Musk uses Twitter "wisely".
We noted recently that vehicle sales in China fell 6% last month, with the once heralded "silver lining" of growing EV numbers no longer looking as promising as it once did.
China's Passenger Car Association said last Friday that NEV deliveries fell for a fourth straight month, down 45% in October as a result of subsidy cuts occurring while the global consumer remains under pressure.
China is considering cutting back on subsidies for electric vehicles, which have been the sole silver lining (if you can even call it that) over the last 12-18 months for the industry. The country has accounted for about half of the world's sales of EVs and the last time the government cut subsidies, it triggered the first drop in EV sales on record.
Meanwhile, nobody, including us, can figure out why President Trump, who has been adamant about American companies keeping their production facilities in the U.S., has not weighed in on Musk's ambitions for manufacturing outside of the country. The topic was recently touched upon in a podcast with short seller Mark Spiegel of Stanphyl Capital, who commented:
"The big elephant in the room is that this guy is doing all this military work and yet he's clearly in bed, and indebted to, the Communist Party of China."
"Its a great mystery why Trump tweets about any stupid obscure factory moving to Mexico, and yet Musk is bragging about all this stuff in China and Trump is just dead silent."