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Tesla Giga Shanghai posted record numbers despite weak Chinese auto market

(Credit: Tesla China)

Tesla Giga Shanghai posted record delivery numbers during an overall weak month for auto sales in China, revealing its strong hold in the local market. 

Tesla China set a new record in November 2022, selling 100,291 Giga Shanghai-produced vehicles during the month. Shortly after the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) released details of Giga Shanghai’s record sales, reports continued to claim that Tesla China would cut production in December by a notable degree. 

Tesla’s rumored production cuts appear unlikely, or at least not as grave as reports would suggest. First, Tesla China officially dubbed the reports as “untrue.” Second, Giga Shanghai just hit its highest record sales last month, so why would Tesla China substantially cut back its output?

Piper Sandler Sheds Light on Tesla China

Multiple publications claimed that rising competition with Chinese EV manufacturers may lead to Tesla Giga Shanghai’s presumed production cut in December. Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Potter said Giga Shanghai would not cut production because of rising competition in the Chinese EV market.

CPCA details on Tesla China’s sales support Potter’s statement. Tesla China sold a total of 69,098 Model Y units and 31,193 Model 3 sedans in China last month. It exported precisely 37,798 vehicles from Giga Shanghai to foreign territories. This made Tesla the country’s top exporter of New Energy Vehicles (NEV) in China.

China Auto Market Status

A more recent note from Piper Sandler provided some context regarding Tesla China’s record-breaking sales last month. The CPCA released data from last month, revealing that auto retail sales dropped by 9.2% compared to 2021. Retail sales decreased by 10.5% compared to October 2022. Constraints related to COVID-19 contributed to the drop in retail sales. 

“Therefore, the closure and control had an impact on both the supply and purchase of automobile stores in the automobile market. This autumn and winter saw abnormal retail sales. The downward trend continues,” stated the CPCA.

Potter pointed out that China’s car market declined in October and November–both months that usually yield solid retail sales. The Piper Sandler analyst also noted that October and November typically combine to make up 18.7% of full-year sales. Given the CPCA’s recent data, Tesla China’s performance in November appears even more impressive.

However, with the current state of the Chinese auto market, Tesla may be facing more challenges ahead. 

“December is typically the strongest month of the year, historically accounting for 10.9% of full-year sales [in China], so if recent downward momentum isn’t addressed through loosening COVID restrictions, then widespread production cut may be necessary. In this context, it’s easier to understand recent murmurs re: lower production at Shanghai Gigafactory,” noted Alexander Potter.

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Tesla Giga Shanghai posted record numbers despite weak Chinese auto market
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