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Tesla Shares Slip on Berlin Gigafactory Delay, China Scrutiny Reports

Reports of beefed-up scrutiny from Beijing, as well as a potential delay in the launch of its gigafactory in Berlin, have Tesla shares trading lower Monday.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report shares edged lower Monday amid reports of a delay in launching production at its gigafactory in Berlin and tougher scrutiny from regulators in China.

Reuters reported Monday that Tesla is ramping-up its engagement with Berlin amid a broader crackdown on technology companies and the collection of customer data. Bloomberg reported last month that officials in China banned Tesla vehicles from military bases and housing compounds amid concerns concerns that potentially sensitive data from its onboard cameras could be collected and stored on Tesla servers.

A weekend report from the Germany weekly Automobilwoche said Tesla has given staff at its Berlin gigafactory six more months to get production rolling following a series of delays linked to permitting and approvals from local and federal government officials.  

Tesla shares were marked 2.5% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $692.20 each, a move that would nudge the stocks into negative territory for the year. 

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Last week, Tesla said its new gigafactories -- one in Berlin and the other in Austin, Texas --  will likely come online later this year, but provided few details as to when -- and at what rate -- production would begin, apart from Elon Musk telling investors that 2021 output would be "limited".

The update followed a stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings report that included revenues of 10.39 billion and Street-beating earnings of 79 cents per share.

The carmaker's bottom line, however, was flattered by the sale of regulatory credits and bitcoin, which earned the group a bit more than $100 million. 

In terms of vehicle sales, Tesla said it delivered 184,800 new cars over the three months ended in March, a record total that included the production of 180,338 Model 3s and Model Ys.

China accounted for around 37.5% of that total, with the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) showing the first-quarter tally of 69,280 units sold in the world's largest car market following the launch of its Shanghai gigafactory in 2019.