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Jan 3, 2019

Tesla is close to Model 3 approval for Europe sales: Sources

Tesla Model 3 electric cars.

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Tesla Inc. has yet to obtain approval from authorities in Europe to begin selling the Model 3 in the region, though this isn’t expected to impede the carmaker from starting deliveries next month, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company has been working in close collaboration with authorities and expects to receive certification after some personnel return from the holidays next week, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren’t public. This timing is in line with what Tesla has been targeting for months, the person said.

Starting Model 3 deliveries in Europe is a key priority for Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. He’s pointed to the sedan starting sales in Europe and China early this year as a key reason he isn’t concerned about any potential setback caused by the U.S. federal tax credit toward Tesla purchases halving to US$3,750 as of Jan. 1.

Tesla has previously obtained approval for safety, noise, environmental and production requirements through the Dutch regulator known as RDW. Under European Union rules, once an automaker’s new vehicle has been certified by one national authority, the approval is applicable across the trade bloc.

The company has received systems-type approval for components of the vehicle, and is awaiting whole-vehicle type approval, which is expected to be imminent, the person said. Thérèse de Vroomen, a spokeswoman for RDW, said the vehicle authority doesn’t provide information about its type approval process.

Concerns about the shrinking U.S. tax credit and Tesla’s decision to cut prices by US$2,000 to partially offset the lower incentive has sent the carmaker’s shares plunging about 9.4 per cent during the first two trading days of the year. The company also reported fourth-quarter deliveries Wednesday that fell just short of analysts’ estimates.