Tesla to Unveil China Plant Location as Early as Third Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. plans to announce the location of a plant in China as early as in the third quarter as the company moves to produce batteries and cars like the Model Y in the world’s biggest electric-vehicle market.

“Maybe next quarter, but not later than fourth quarter for Model Y,” Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on an earnings conference call Wednesday. “We also expect to announce the location of a Tesla gigafactory in China soon.”

Tesla is forging ahead with plans to build a manufacturing plant in China following the government’s announcement last month that it will allow foreign new-energy vehicle makers to fully own auto factories as soon as this year. The company’s next factories will produce batteries and assemble vehicles, Musk said. In the U.S., it currently has an assembly plant in California and a battery factory in neighboring Nevada.

Musk also said Robin Ren, who had been vice president for Asia Pacific, has taken over from Jon McNeil, who was president of sales and service until he left for Lyft Inc. earlier this year.

“Robin is managing worldwide sales for Tesla right now,” the CEO said. “He was born and raised in China.”

Musk previously said Tesla will probably make the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover in China and won’t build the pricier Model S or Model X there. He said in November that Tesla was about three years away from starting production in China.

Tesla sold 14,883 vehicles in China last year, accounting for 3 percent of the nation’s battery-powered electric-vehicle sales and placing it as the No. 10 brand in that segment. China accounted for 17 percent of Tesla’s revenue for 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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