Tesla aims to build 500,000 vehicles per year near Berlin

A China-made Tesla Model 3 vehicle at the Shanghai Gigafactory of the US electric car maker in Shanghai. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 05 January 2020

Tesla aims to build 500,000 vehicles per year near Berlin

  • US automaker wants to construct Model 3 and Model Y vehicles

BERLIN: Tesla plans to build half a million electric vehicles a year at its future factory outside Berlin. Planning documents posted online reveal that the US automaker wants to construct Model 3 and Model Y vehicles at the site in Gruenheide, as well as “future models.”
The so-called Gigafactory — Tesla’s fourth — will include facilities to assemble entire electric vehicles, including the production of batteries.
The plans will have to undergo an environmental impact review and public consultation.
Tesla aims to start operating the plant in July 2021, an optimistic time frame by German standards. Construction of a nearby airport for Berlin began in 2006 and the opening has been delayed for eight years.
On Friday Tesla posted a jump in car deliveries in the final three months of 2019.
The firm founded by controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk delivered 112,000 vehicles in the quarter ending Dec. 31, a nearly 23 percent from the same three-month period of 2018.
The positive results contrasted with those of conventional auto giants like General Motors and Fiat Chrysler that reported middling sales which pressured their share prices.

FASTFACT

Tesla delivered 112,000 vehicles in the quarter ending Dec. 31.

But Tesla shares rallied further on the news, the latest in a run of better performance reflected in strong third-quarter earnings in October, a splashy launch of a new SUV design in November and the successful ramp-up of a Chinese car factory earlier this week.
Things have improved considerably from the early part of 2019 when US securities regulators sought to sanction Musk for violating a settlement over his August 2018 statements on Twitter tied to a quickly-aborted effort to take the company private.
In April, Musk and the Securities Exchange Commission settled the matter, imposing clearer guidelines on topics Musk should avoid on social media, including statements about acquisitions, mergers, new products and production numbers.


Japan’s ‘Suganomics’ will target quick wins, not grand visions

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, center, with cabinet ministers this week. Suga’s plans for structural reforms will focus more on spurring competition, rather than deeper social change. (AP)
Updated 19 September 2020

Japan’s ‘Suganomics’ will target quick wins, not grand visions

  • New prime minister to build political capital in lead-up to introducing tougher reforms, officials say

TOKYO: Japan’s new prime minister will pursue economic structural reforms through a mixed bag of policies that target specific industries, rather than a grand strategy to reshape society and boost long-term growth.

Armed with a strong grip on Japan’s bureaucracy, Yoshihide Suga knows which levers to pull to get results, say government and ruling party officials who know him or have worked with him.
But an initial need to consolidate popular support means he will first target quick policy wins that will later give him the political capital to pursue tougher reforms, they said.
“He isn’t after visions. He’s someone who wants to accomplish small goals one by one,” said political analyst Atsuo Ito, a former ruling party staffer. “He’ll initially focus on pragmatic goals that directly affect people’s livelihood.”
Suga has said he will continue his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s pro-growth “Abenomics” strategy aimed at pulling Japan out of deflation with heavy monetary and fiscal stimulus coupled with structural reforms.
But unlike Abe, Suga’s plans for structural reforms will focus more on spurring competition, rather than deeper social change.
For Suga, economic reform will be a political priority in its own right, unlike Abe, whose reforms were wrapped up in a broader political agenda that included the thorny challenge of revising Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Suga must act quickly as his current term lasts for only for a year unless he calls a snap election to win the public’s mandate to run a full, three-year term.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Reform mix of ideas rather than grand strategy.

• Suga armed with strong grip on bureaucracy.

• Targets “quick-hit” reforms appealing to voters.

• Plans include consolidating small firms, lenders.

That means he will first seek “quick-hit” achievements that directly channel money to households. Among the sweeteners would be to slash cellphone charges by about 40 per cent, raise the minimum wage and increase payouts to cushion the blow from the pandemic.
“At this moment, he has to focus on very short-term issues like how to stimulate economy,” said Heizo Takenaka, who served in the cabinet of reformist former premier Junichiro Koizumi.
Removing protections in industry will be one such objective, even if that riles some parts of corporate Japan.
“Introducing competition among mobile phone carriers could be a very symbolic policy for Suga because he loves competition,” said Takenaka, who retains close contact with Suga. “He hates people with vested interests.”
If successful, Suga could pursue bolder reforms such as liberalising the heavily protected medical sector, consolidating weak regional banks and breaking barriers that hamper competition among small- and mid-sized firms.
Having served as Abe’s top spokesman, Suga already knows his way around Japan’s massive bureaucracy.
Suga relaxed visa requirements to boost inbound tourism, overcoming push-back from the justice ministry. He also cut through bureaucratic opposition and expanded a scheme that gave tax breaks for donations to Japan’s regional areas.
“Suga may not be charismatic, but he gets things done,” said Taimei Yamaguchi, a ruling party lawmaker close to Suga. “Some of the best advice I got from him was to make the most of the expertise the bureaucrats have.”
Some government officials say Suga’s focus on deregulation makes his policies closer to those of Koizumi, who consolidated big banks and deregulated the labor market in the early 2000s.
Suga’s slogan urging the public to “look after yourself before seeking government help” reflects his background as a self-made politician who made his way up from a son of a strawberry farmer to Japan’s leader, people who know him say.