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Tesla to set up design facility in China | Updated: 2021-07-08 15:12
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Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai, Jan 7, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Tesla Inc said on Thursday it is planning to set up a design studio in China to develop vehicles for local customers in one of its largest markets worldwide.

"We look forward to soon seeing China-designed and China-made Tesla models sold in the world," said the electric car maker in a statement to China Daily on Thursday, without giving further details.

"China has the globally advanced new energy vehicle market...Tesla will continue scaling up investment in China," said the carmaker in the statement.

Tesla made the statement when it announced to take orders for a new variant of the China-made Model Y SUV. The new addition has a driving range of 525 kilometers and can finish the zero to 100 km/hour sprint in 5.6 seconds.

The electric carmaker is manufacturing the Model Y and the Model 3 vehicles at its Shanghai gigafactory, its first vehicle manufacturing facility outside of the United States. It is also producing its latest charging pillars in China.

Tesla is one of the most popular electric carmakers in China, the world's largest market for new energy vehicles, despite a backlash caused by its appropriate handling of a customer complaining about brake failures earlier this year.

Its sales in the first five months this year totaled nearly 130,000 units, according to statistics from the China Passenger Car Association.

Tesla is also scaling up exports of its China-made vehicles. In May, 11,527 vehicles made at its Shanghai gigafactory were shipped overseas, following exports of over 14,000 vehicles in April.

The China Passenger Car Association expects Tesla's exports from China to exceed 100,000 units this year.

Another US carmaker, General Motors, is scaling up its investment in China as well to better meet the demands of local customers.

It has recently doubled the capacity of a design center to study local consumers' mobility needs and develop electric and autonomous vehicles for them.

"With facilities like the new GM China Advanced Design Center and its growing team of professionals, we have the right organizations and people to bring the most desirable products to China's consumers in the new era of electrification and connectivity," said Julian Blissett, GM's executive vice-president and president of GM China.

GM said the center will gradually expand its local design team, nurture even more local automotive design talent and provide insights on trends in the automotive and fashion sectors.

The carmaker said the design facility will focus on the Chinese market while staying abreast of the latest developments across the industry by working with GM's design teams in the US and South Korea as well as GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center joint venture in China.

"This studio will continue to study the Chinese consumers' mobility needs, and the behaviors and trends in automotive and other areas of fashion and design – and will share this knowledge with the GM global design family, influencing programs for local and global markets," said Ken Parkinson, GM China's vice-president of design.

China is GM's largest market globally. The US carmaker and its two joint ventures delivered more than 780,000 vehicles in the country in the first quarter of 2021, up 69 percent from the same period last year, which was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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