LG Chem to produce Tesla batteries in South Korea this year as demand grows: source

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk dances onstage during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd plans to start producing batteries for Tesla Inc vehicles at a domestic factory this year after the U.S. electric carmaker raised orders to cope with demand, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

“Tesla is asking not only LG Chem but other suppliers to increase supplies, as its cars are selling well,” the person told Reuters.

A second person with knowledge of the situation also said LG Chem is converting some of its production in South Korea to produce batteries for Tesla. An LG Chem factory in Nanjing, China, already makes batteries for Tesla.

Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidentiality of the matter.

An LG Chem spokesman declined to comment. Tesla was not immediately available for comment outside its U.S. business hours.

Tesla on Thursday announced forecast-beating global vehicle deliveries for the April to June period, shrugging off a U.S. production suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Analysts also expect the period to return strong China sales.

The U.S. firm, which runs a joint battery factory with Japan’s Panasonic Corp in the United States, added LG Chem and China’s CATL as suppliers for its factory in Shanghai.

LG Chem shares rose 2.6% on Friday, tracking an overnight rally in Tesla stock. LG Chem shares have jumped nearly 60% so far this year, far beating the wider market’s 2% fall.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell