Tesla Inc. rolled out the first Model 3 unit from the assembly line, and it’s for chief executive Elon Musk, who tweeted pictures of the US$35,000 sedan.
Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis was the first to put down a US$1,000 deposit on the car and presented it as a gift to Musk for his 46th birthday, Reuters reports, citing Musk’s tweet.
Model 3 is aimed at the mass market, and the rollout is expected to help the company deliver five times its current annual sales volume, the news agency said.
Tesla’s shares have taken a beating in the last few weeks, as investors have become increasingly concerned that demand for the company’s existing Model S sedan is weakening.
Musk said in May that some “confused” Tesla buyers considered the new Model 3 as an upgrade to the Model S, hurting orders for the older car.
Registrations for Tesla’s vehicles in California, its largest market, fell 24 percent in April from a year ago, according to data from research firm IHS Markit.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that new registrations of Tesla cars fell to zero in Hong Kong after authorities slashed a tax break for electric vehicles in April.
Musk has said production of Model 3 would increase exponentially – from 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 in September to 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in December.
Tesla has already accepted roughly US$500 million in deposits for Model 3, at US$1,000 apiece, Bloomberg said.
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