Tesla plans to give an early glimpse of its revamped Model 3 sedan as part of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s first visit to the carmaker’s Shanghai factory in years, according to people familiar with the matter.
The first cars coming off the line Thursday are prototypes, the people said, asking not to be identified because the company’s plans are private. The updated Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market sedan, is slightly longer and sportier than the earlier version and has a sleeker interior design, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
Tesla is facing pressure to refresh its product line in China, the company’s largest sales market after the US. The carmaker has made minimal changes to the Model 3 since production started in 2017, and increasingly competitive local manufacturers, led by BYD Co. have been seizing market share. Tesla has answered with substantial discounts that have kicked off a price war and squeezed profitability across the industry.
Musk’s visit to China, which began in Beijing, is his first in three years. Musk met with Jin Zhuanglong, China’s minister for industry and information technology, in the country’s capital on Wednesday before traveling to the Shanghai plant.