Azealia Banks Calls Out Elon Musk After He Files Lawsuit

Ivan Schwartz
January 7, 2019

Automotive News reported that Tesla has yet to obtain approval from authorities in Europe to begin selling the Model 3 in the region, though this is not expected to impede the automaker from starting deliveries next month, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Electric carmaker Tesla's first plant outside the United States, the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, is about to begin construction.

The billionaire-entrepreneur is facing a auto market that probably shrank past year for the first time since at least the 1990s as uncertainties surrounding the trade war between the world's two biggest economies, signs of weakening domestic demand in China and a stock slump take a toll on consumers.

Musk has said previously he would attend the event in Shanghai.

A local Chinese plant may be crucial for Tesla, which is struggling to stave off a potential dip in demand in the US, its biggest market, after reductions in federal tax credits for EVs. Musk wrote in a post on Twitter. The deadline of reduced tariff would end on March 2nd, and after that, the tariff on U.S. made autos on China would revert back to 40 percent, instead current 15 percent.

"Affordable cars must be made on same continent as customers", Musk said in another tweet.

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The new Gigafactory will produce Tesla Model 3 and the produce will be used to cater to Greater China region demands. "All Model S/X & higher cost versions of Model 3/Y will still be built in USA for WW market, incl China", he later added, referring to the worldwide market including China.

Analysts have said production in China would allow Tesla to avoid such tariffs, which already have caused a spike in the price of the cars that Tesla now imports to the Chinese market.

"With the construction of the Shanghai factory, the faster the better (for Tesla)", Kang said.

The so-called Gigafactory would also be China's first wholly foreign-owned vehicle plant, a reflection of China's broader shift to open up its auto market even amid the whipsawing trade war.

"Ms. Boucher and Ms. Banks were in close contact with Mr. Musk before and after the tweet at issue and are believed to be in possession of relevant evidence concerning Mr. Musk's motives", said Eduard Korsinsky of Levi & Korsinsky, the firm representing the plaintiffs, in a statement to CNBC.

The facility is expected to churn out about 250,000 vehicles annually at first - the Model 3 and the planned Model Y - and that capacity will double over time.

Other reports by GizPress

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