Musk dance moves launch Tesla SUV program at new China factory

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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at a delivery ceremony for the first Tesla Model 3 cars made at Tesla's Shanghai factory in Shanghai, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. ( AP)
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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reacts at a delivery ceremony for the first Tesla Model 3 cars made at Tesla's Shanghai factory in Shanghai, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP)
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at a delivery ceremony for the first Tesla Model 3 cars made at Tesla's Shanghai factory in Shanghai, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (Chinatopix via AP)
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Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks next to a screen showing an image of Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, center, poses with Tesla owners at a delivery ceremony for the first Tesla Model 3 cars made at Tesla's Shanghai factory in Shanghai, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 07 January 2020

Musk dance moves launch Tesla SUV program at new China factory

  • Announcement marks new milestone for Shanghai factory
  • Tesla also begins delivering Model 3 vehicles to the public

SHANGHAI: Elon Musk showed off his dance moves at the launch of Tesla’s Model Y electric sports utility vehicle program at its new Shanghai factory on Tuesday, where the company delivered its first cars built outside the United States to the public.
The $2 billion Tesla Inc. factory started delivering cars in just 357 days, a record for global automakers in China. The first 10 customers from the public received their China-made Model 3 sedans on Tuesday.
Billionaire CEO Musk danced enthusiastically on stage at the event, then stripped off his jacket and flung it aside to reveal a T-shirt with a cartoon of the factory. In a tweet, he labelled the video “NSFW” — not safe for work.

He predicted that “ultimately Tesla Model Y will have more demand than probably all the other cars of Tesla combined,” with his voice cracking with emotion at times while talking about the progress of the Shanghai factory.
The ceremony was attended by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and other senior government officials.
Tesla executives, however, did not provide further details on the progress of the China-made Model Y project. A Tesla representative declined to comment further.
Tesla’s shares are trading close to their record high after it beat Wall Street estimates for vehicle deliveries in its fourth quarter. News of production ramp-up in its China factory and upbeat early deposits for its recently launched pickup truck have also supported its share price.
Construction of Tesla’s first plant outside the United States began in January and production started in October.
The factory started with a production capacity of 150,000 Model 3 sedans and Tesla aims to push that to 250,000 vehicles a year, including Model Y, in the plant’s first phase.
Tesla unveiled its Model Y in March 2019 and said in October that production of the electric compact SUV at its Fremont facility was running ahead of schedule, adding at the time that it expects to launch the model by summer 2020.
It has said that margin expectations are higher for Model Y than Model 3, while production costs are roughly the same.
Tesla’s China website estimates the starting price for Model Y vehicles at 444,000 yuan ($63,911.56). It will announce the retail price later, the website says. The China-made Model 3 sedans are priced at 355,800 yuan before subsidies.
Shanghai Vice Mayor Wu Qing said he hoped to see Tesla extend its cooperation with the city and for the car maker to manufacture more models at its Chinese plant. ($1 = 6.9471 Chinese yuan)


Greece readies revival of coronavirus-hit economy

Updated 04 June 2020

Greece readies revival of coronavirus-hit economy

  • Tourism accounts for around 20 percent of Greek gross domestic product
  • Greece desperately needs to attract visitors this year

ATHENS: Greece geared up Thursday to revive its tourism-dependent economy, which shrank in the first quarter owing to measures against the coronavirus, the Elstat data agency said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to headline an event later in the day to unveil a national tourism campaign for the virus-shortened season.
He has already warned the country that the economy would fall into a “deep recession” this year before rebounding in 2021.
Tourism accounts for around 20 percent of Greek gross domestic product (GDP), so it is crucial that visitors be attracted back to the nation’s beaches and iconic island villages.
Toward that end, Greece has announced a ‘bridge phase’ between June 15 and 30, during which airports in Athens and Thessaloniki will receive regular passenger flights.
Other regional and island airports are to open on July 1.
Greece plans to impose a seven- to 14-day quarantine only on travelers from only the hardest-hit areas as identified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Sample tests will also be carried out at entry points for epidemiological purposes however.
Provisional data released by Elstat showed how important it is to get the tourism sector back on its feet.
GDP fell by 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the previous three months, and by 0.9 percent year-on-year, the data showed.
But data for March alone showed that month was not as bad as expected, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told a press conference.
Now, “Greece is opening its gates to the world under safe conditions for tourism workers, for residents of tourism destinations and of course, for our visitors,” he said.
With fewer than 180 coronavirus deaths among 11 million residents, Greece seeks to market itself as a healthy holiday destination.
On Tuesday, Athens said it was suspending flights to and from Qatar until June 15 after 12 people on a flight from Doha tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier Thursday, Greek media reported that a first batch of nearly 190 tests among residents of the Cycladic islands, one of Greece’s most popular destinations, had turned up negative.
The country desperately needs to attract visitors this year.
The latest finance ministry estimate suggests that for 2020 as a whole, business activity could drop by up to 13 percent from the level in 2019.
Between 2009 and 2018, Greece suffered its worst economic crisis in modern times, and had begun to slowly regain some of the lost ground before it was hit by the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
The country was shut down for six weeks, and the International Monetary Fund forecast in May that GDP would decline by 10 percent this year before growing by 5.5 percent in 2021.