A regulator has given Tesla Inc. the green light to sell its Model 3 cars in Europe, opening up an important new market following recent layoffs to cut costs.

On Monday, the Netherlands Vehicles Authority, which has regulatory authority on behalf of the EU, said the Model 3 met requirements for European roads. Tesla had expected the approval, and opened online orders for some European countries earlier this month.

According to the blog Electrek, Europe’s first Model 3 deliveries are expected to arrive in early February. It reported a cargo ship carrying more than 1,000 Model 3’s left San Francisco, possibly bound for Europe, a little more than a week ago.

On Monday, Tesla tweeted a photo of “European Model 3s off the production line.”

Tesla is banking on its least-expensive car to be a hit in Europe, where electric-car sales surged last year. Tesla shares tumbled Friday on news that 7% of its workforce would be laid off as part of a cost-cutting effort, and reports of weaker fourth-quarter profit.

Europe is an important region in Tesla’s future plans, and CEO Elon Musk has said Germany is the leading site to build a European gigafactory to produce lithium-ion batteries for Tesla cars.

Tesla shares

TSLA, -12.97%

  are down 9% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s

SPX, +1.32%

  6.5% gain. Over the past year, Tesla is down 13.6%, while the S&P has declined about 5%.

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2019-01-21