Tesla Inc has started delivering Model 3 cars in China slightly ahead of schedule, as it looks to revive its sales that have been hit hard by Sino-U.S. trade tensions.
The California-based firm has already adjusted prices and added a cheaper Model 3 variant to its line-up to make its U.S.-made cars more affordable in China amid high import tariffs.
The U.S. luxury electric vehicle said in a statement that it held a delivery event in Beijing on Friday which “marked a significant milestone for the market”.
It had initially projected a March start for Model 3 deliveries in China – the world’s biggest auto market where overall car sales contracted in 2018 for the first time in more than two decades.
The initial deliveries will go to customers who placed their orders before the end of 2018, Tesla said. Buyers that ordered this year will start receiving their cars from end-March.
“I see its earlier-than-expected delivery as an effort to try and seize the market as quickly as possible” amid mounting competition, said Alan Kang, an analyst at LMC Automotive.