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Tesla starts selling Chinese model 3 with autopilot function



FILE PHOTO: Tesla Model 3 Car Shown During Media Preview at Auto China 2018 Auto Show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. Reuters / Jason Lee

BEIJING / SHANGHAI (Reuters) ̵

1; American Electric Vehicle manufacturer Tesla ( TSLA.O ) on Friday began selling its Chinese model 3 with autopilot functionality at a price of 355,800 yuan ($ 50,330), making it the cheapest model for sale in country, the official site shown.

It stopped selling a website on a less expensive version of the same model without lacking autopilot functionality, previously offered at $ 328,000 ($ 46,389).

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment by email.

The company surprised investors with a quarterly profit, which sent its shares to jump this week, but has not yet proven that it can be consistently profitable while managing production start-up at the Shanghai plant.

Billionaire leader Elon Musk is launching a test start at its new $ 2 billion Chinese factory ahead of schedule, said on Wednesday, as it competes to reach an ambitious goal of an annual production rate of 500,000 cars by the end of 2019 [19659003] The company has received the certification it needs to produce in the country, but analysts say that uncertainty around labor and suppliers will make it challenging to start mass production.

Tesla is also in the process of obtaining a key certificate needed to sell cars made in China, he told local media, although it is unclear when the government will grant him a sales permit.

The US-made Model 3 so far performs well in China, the largest car market in the world. Sales likely jumped more than three times to 10,542 cars in the quarter ended September 30, according to research firm LMC Automotive.

Report from Yilei Sun in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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