The narrative surrounding Tesla appears to have shifted for the better in China, with Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China, recently posting a glowing analysis of the EV maker’s effect on the country’s auto sector. According to the media outlet, Tesla’s arrival has done a lot for China, as it helped break the old, negative stereotypes that have long been associated with the “Made in China” brand.
China-made vehicles have long suffered from the reputation of being “low price, low quality, and low value.” In a way, such labels were quite fair considering that China had focused its exports in the past on low-quality vehicles that were sold dirt-cheap in developing countries. Tesla, however, changed this, since, from the get-go, the American EV maker was open about its intent to develop Gigafactory Shanghai into a facility that could truly be considered one of the best in the world.
Tesla did not need any secret formulas to accomplish this goal. It simply ensured that the vehicles produced in Gigafactory Shanghai were on par, if not better, than the cars that it was producing in the Fremont Factory. And for all intents and purposes, Giga Shanghai was successful in this endeavor. Tesla China’s vehicles have been largely praised for their stellar quality — so much so that both the Model 3 and the Model Y have been exported to foreign territories.
Some EV enthusiasts have even started preferring Tesla’s Made-in-China cars compared to the company’s American-made vehicles due to the former’s consistent build quality. The capabilities of Made-in-China Teslas in deep floodwaters have also become compelling trends in social media, with users fondly dubbing the electric cars as “Boat Mode” EVs.
In an interview with Xinhua, Feng Qingfeng, CEO of Lotus Group, noted that the new energy vehicle market in China had been mostly tepid before Tesla’s arrival. Veteran automakers didn’t put much effort into making compelling green cars, and some companies ended up relying more on subsidies to get by. This led to weak technological innovation, low product capabilities, and a rather bleak market response. Tesla proved to be a completely different animal, however.
“The arrival of Tesla has reshaped market perception, not only driving the rise of new forces, but also forcing traditional car companies to increase their transformation efforts, catalyzing the full-scale outbreak of the new energy market in recent years,” Feng remarked.
Tesla’s bet in China appears to have largely paid off. Today, Giga Shanghai stands as the company’s primary vehicle export hub, both for the Model 3 and Model Y. This has allowed Tesla to optimize its operations in the Fremont Factory, while accelerating the start of vehicle production in other sites like Gigafactory Texas. Quite interestingly, Tesla has become a model of sorts for other EV makers in China, as it proved that a company with a compelling product could break the country’s long-established negative stereotype. One just has to work extremely hard to make a difference.
“The emergence of Tesla has expanded the export sales area of Chinese cars to developed markets such as Europe and the United States, breaking the prejudice of ‘low price, low quality, and low value’ made in China, and sending ‘high quality, high value’ Chinese made cars,” Xinhua wrote.
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