Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently stated during an event in Shanghai, China, that the electric car manufacturer plans to design its next vehicle in China for the global market, an idea Musk called “super cool.” Musk also drew attention at the event by showcasing his bizarre dance moves.
CNBC reports that during an event in Shanghai, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that the electric car manufacturer would soon open a design and engineering center in China where it would design and produce a vehicle for the global market. Musk also stated that Tesla will soon start work on a production program for the embattled Model Y vehicle in its Shanghai factory.
Musk seems to be in an increasingly cozy relationship with China at a time when many American companies are shifting business away from the communist country. Musk’s businesses have received billions in American taxpayer money, including at least $4.9 billion for Tesla and its solar subsidiary. The State of New York has taken a $900 million write-down on more than $1 billion it invested in bringing Tesla’s solar unit to Buffalo, which has not produced the economic activity the state had hoped for.
The announcements were made by Musk as he delivered the first Model 3 vehicle out of the Shanghai factory to the public. Musk told the audience in Shanghai: “We intend to continue making a significant investment and increasing the investment in China, making the Model 3 and the Model Y and future models also in China.”
“Something that would be super cool … So we’re going to do it … is to try to create a China design and engineering center to actually design an original car in China for worldwide consumption. I think this will be very exciting,” he added.
Musk also took his time on stage to perform a dance for the crowd, which Bloomberg correspondent Selina Wang mused might be part of a “charm offensive” aimed at officials of China’s communist government:
Biggest surprise at the Tesla gigafactory ceremony to mark first Model 3 deliveries? @elonmusk dancing on stage (part of his charm offensive in Shanghai in front of employees and government officials?) pic.twitter.com/fXnMdgkxuN
— Selina Wang (@selinawangtv) January 7, 2020
Analysts believe that China is a critical market for Tesla as the company faces a number of challenges such as slowing vehicle sales and increasing competition from major auto manufacturers. Tesla did, however, report a profitable third quarter of 2019 and company share prices hit a record high of $454 last week.