The first Tesla Model 3 for the Chinese market arrived at the port of Tianjin. Two more ships are allegedly already on their way. The hurry is to catch the reduction on import duty that is only certain for the 1st quarter.
Tesla did not actually want to start deliveries in China until March. But now Bloomberg, among others, have reported that the Californian carmaker is currently loading as many Model 3 vehicles as possible onto ships to be delivered to the People’s Republic before 1 March. This is about the time the temporary agreement ends that is supposed to ease the trade conflict between China and the USA. The Chinese import duty on U.S. vehicles will thus be reduced from 40 to 15 per cent for a long time. It remains to be seen what happens next.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk apparently fears that the two countries could raise customs duties again, which would hurt Tesla in particular because, unlike large car manufacturers who can produce locally through joint ventures, the company currently only sells imported vehicles in China. This is a major cost disadvantage compared to locally producing competitors. In addition, there are high logistics and wage costs and the fact that China does not grant tax credits. The fact is that Model 3 is expensive in China. An import duty of 15 instead of 40 per cent makes a big difference.
Model 3 is currently available in China from 433,000 yuan (just under 57,000 euros). Some of the best-selling electric cars on the market cost less than one-sixth of that price, as Bloomberg points out. The EC-Series from BJEV or the eQ from Chery Automobile Co., for example, are available on the market after subsidies for just 65,800 yuan (around 8,500 euros).
The fleet needs two weeks by ship from San Francisco to China. The ship Glovis Symphony docked in the port of Tianjin at the beginning of this week and was expected in Shanghai on Wednesday, wrote Bloomberg news agency in its report. Two other shipping companies, Morning Cindy and Emerald Ace, are at sea and are due to arrive on 19 and 24 February.
But back to Europe. As far as overseas exports go, German customers can now happily drive off in their Model 3 from Frankfurt where they just arrived. In Germany, Tesla customers get the variant with long-distance battery and all-wheel drive from 55,400 euros and the sportier performance version from 66,100 euros. A cheaper basic model with a smaller battery will be available in the second half of the year.
Globally, Tesla is rolling out two new functions for its vehicles. The ‘Sentry Mode’, which is designed to protect vehicles from burglary and theft, and the ‘Dog Mode’, which not only keeps the interior at a comfortable temperature but also displays this temperature on the display. The following video demonstrates the new feature.
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