Tesla has hit a home run with its Model 3 in many markets, including China, where the company’s first international Gigafactory is located. However, China is thirsty for EVs, especially as it is the largest car market in the world, and the country’s government is trying to convince drivers to switch to more sustainable transportation. Tesla may have met its match in the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV, a vehicle from General Motors that captured the silver medal in the 2020 Chinese EV sales figures. Despite a strong showing from the Model 3 in 2020 as it captured the gold medal and beat out the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV by nearly 21,000 units for the year, Tesla’s mass-market sedan will have its work cut out for it, as the GM-built electric vehicle put on a strong performance in January 2021.
New figures from the EV Sales Blog indicate that the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV sold a whopping 36,762 cars in the country in the first month of the new year, beating out the second-place Model 3 by nearly 23,000 units. Tesla sold the Model 3 13,843 times in China. Still, that number wouldn’t necessarily line up with Tesla’s Giga Shanghai production figures, which estimate nearly 250,000 all-electric sedans are manufactured at the facility every year. This would equate to around 5,000 per week or roughly 20,800 cars per month.
Based on Tesla usually not holding much inventory of its vehicles, this would indicate that close to 7,000 vehicles are unaccounted for, and they are being exported to other markets. This is a move Tesla has been making for several months to deal with growing demand in Europe as the Giga Berlin project, a new factory in Brandenberg, Germany, rallies on. Tesla expects the German facility to be operational later this year, with estimates most commonly referring to Summer 2021 as the most accurate timeline.
While the Model 3 dominated several months last year and ultimately was the highest-selling EV in China in 2020, the Wuling Honguang Mini EV was undoubtedly its best competition. The GM-made car stole December from the Model 3 by selling around 9,600 more units. The slow months from the Model 3 aren’t expected to continue, the EV Sales Blog says. The website expects the Model 3 to “continue cruising at around 15k-20k units per month,” based on past months where manufacturing wasn’t interrupted or slowed.
The widely-robust car market in China is highly competitive. As Tesla continues to develop its products in the country, there is plenty of room for growth, especially as Giga Berlin will begin operation in the coming months. China’s sales figures have been strong for Tesla. The competitive nature of the ever-growing EV market in the country bodes well for Tesla and others in the sector.