January 16, 2020 / 7:56 AM / 7 months ago

Tesla says plans to open China design and research centre

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - U.S. electric car maker Tesla plans to open a design and research centre in China to make “Chinese-style” vehicles, the company said in a recruitment notice on its official WeChat account.

Wednesday’s notice sought to recruit designers and other staff to help fulfil the goal, and called for applications by Feb. 1, but did not identify the centre’s location.

“In order to achieve a shift of ‘Made in China’ to ‘Designed in China’, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has proposed a very cool thing - set up a design and research centre in China,” it read.

It was not immediately clear when the centre might begin operations, however.

Tesla’s first factory outside the United States is in the eastern city of Shanghai, and it started delivering China-made Model 3 vehicles this month.

Last week, Musk launched a Model Y electric sports utility vehicle programme at the $2 billion factory, with an on-stage dance that raised an online storm.

That was also the week that Tesla’s stock market value hit nearly $89 billion, eclipsing the sum of General Motors’ (GM.N) and Ford’s (F.N) values for the first time.

The stock move was fuelled by a surprise third-quarter profit, progress at the new China factory and better-than-expected fourth quarter deliveries.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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