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Tesla is reportedly considering a factory location in Suzhou, China


Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the automaker plans on securing a location and a local partner for a manufacturing facility in China by the middle of the 2016. A foreign company needs a local partner in order to establish a manufacturing capacity in China.

Now we learn through a recent report from Chinese media that the California-based automaker is reportedly considering a factory location in Suzhou near Shanghai (see map above).

According to the report, the Suzhou government held a meeting on March 13 to discuss a project related to Tesla and executives from the company visited the region during the following week.

A Tesla China spokesman declined to comment to local media.

Tesla needs local manufacturing capacity in China in order to avoid high import duties and have access to more EV incentives, which are often limited to domestic cars. Tesla’s less expensive vehicle, the Model S 70, starts at 673,000 yuan ($103,709) versus $70,000 in the US.

Any manufacturing capacity in China would likely exist to satisfy local demand in Asia and not for European and/or American export. Tesla’s Fremont Factory has a total expected capacity of 500,000 vehicles per year and Tesla aims to only utilize about 20% of that capacity in 2016.

If Tesla can manufacture its vehicles in China, it should be able to compete more effectively with other vehicles in its segment and it will be particularly important when the automaker will introduce its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3, which is a more price sensitive product than Tesla’s current offering.

A factory in China would be a significant addition to Tesla’s manufacturing capacity, which is currently mainly located in Fremont, California, but the automaker also operates a tool and die plant in Michigan and a final assembly factory in Tilburg, Netherlands. Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada is also producing battery packs for stationary energy storage and it is expected to start producing battery cells later this year.


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  1. MorinMoss - 7 years ago

    “in order to establish a manufacture in China” – that seems like somewhat awkward phrasing to me.

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      You are right. that’s my french. In french “manufacture” can refer to a factory or the process of manufacturing.

  2. elanelan - 7 years ago

    Maybe a Chinese factory could be tooled to produce a special Chinese Model S – one with the stretched wheelbase and ultra-luxurious passenger accommodations wealthy Chinese customers expect.

  3. QC - 7 years ago

    Does the Tilburg assembly factory version count as local factory in China? There’s a huge risk in loosing the accumulated manufacturing R&D if they set up a full shop in Suzhou with a local partner

  4. anthony - 7 years ago

    I would hope that it is a finishing center like in Tilburg. Boeing is doing something like that in China now for their 737s – they will build the plane in the Renton, WA, USA facility and then fly it to China where local workers will install the interiors (seats, bins, IFEC, etc.) and paint the plane. Whether that is enough to get around China’s tariffs is another question.

  5. Antonio - 7 years ago

    It’s kandi technologies inc


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