Elon Musk believes China will be Tesla’s biggest advantage in the long term, and new data from a Chinese automotive organization that tracks vehicle registrations proves the CEO is right.
New data released by the China Automotive Information Net (CAIN) shows that registrations for Tesla surged to 34,635 in March, a new single-month record that virtually propelled the electric automaker into one of the most surprising quarters in company history. The 34,635 cars that Tesla successfully registered to Chinese customers was a near doubling compared to the 18,155 February registrations the automaker recorded just one month prior. Bloomberg also reported that the March 2021 numbers had nearly tripled compared to March 2020 figures when sales were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic that halted production at Tesla’s Giga Shanghai production plant for several weeks. The EV Sales Blog shows around 11,280 units sold in China in March 2020.
The record 34,635 cars that were registered in China contributed greatly to Tesla’s overall Q1 delivery and production numbers. Tesla announced on April 2nd that it had produced 180,338 cars and delivered 184,800 of them. This was a strong showing based on Wall Street estimates that pegged the automaker would deliver around 162,000 cars in Q1 2021. This was obviously a low estimate as Tesla managed to outperform the relatively bearish estimates by a considerable margin.
In the big picture, the delivery figures indicate CEO Elon Musk’s predictions regarding China are correct. In a recent interview, Musk claimed that the Chinese market would be one of the most important areas of focus that could contribute to Tesla’s growth. On a global scale, China has already proven to give Tesla plenty of demand while only manufacturing two of the company’s four vehicles in Shanghai. Still, the March figures show that China is more than ready to assist in the automaker’s global surge for dominance in a quickly growing Chinese automotive sector.
“China in the long term will be our biggest market, both where we make the most number of vehicles and where we have the most number of customers,” Musk said. “I’d like to strike an optimistic note, and I’m very confident that the future of China is going to be great and that China is headed towards being the biggest economy in the world and a lot of prosperity in the future.”
Musk’s predictions about China were expected. The automaker’s presence in the country has been electrifying since Tesla started delivering cars to owners in early 2020. Since then, growth has been the word to describe the company’s performance, and the Model 3 and Model Y have been the driving factors. The two vehicles have catered to the typical Chinese car buyer because of their affordability, and the several variants that both models offer match any driving style. The Model 3 has stood the test of time, managing to maintain a Top 3 position in Chinese sales charts since its introduction to the market in January 2020. The only car to dethrone the Model 3 from the top position is the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV, a $4,500 car with a low range and unfavorable performance ratings.
Musk is right, and the numbers prove it. China will undoubtedly drive Tesla into the stratosphere by continuing to contribute to the company’s substantial growth. Although the pandemic slowed 2020’s figures, 2021 is proving to be one of Tesla’s most productive and momentous years to date. The financial figures for Q1 will be revealed during the Q1 2021 Earnings Call that Tesla will hold on April 26th.