Recent figures from the Chinese Passenger Car Association (CPCA) have revealed that Tesla has sold 12,143 Made-in-China Model 3 in October. This translates to a month-over-month growth of 7.18% compared to September, when Tesla sold 11,329 units of the all-electric sedan in the country.
With its domestic sales of the Model 3 in October, Tesla was able to maintain its place as one of China’s top electric vehicle leaders. The Wuling Mini EV was the country’s best-selling electric car in the month, followed by vehicles from BYD and SAIC. Tesla ranked fourth among China’s electric car makers.
While this growth might seem a bit conservative considering the recent price adjustments that were rolled out in October, and while TSLA critics would argue that sales in China are now flat, it is important to note that these figures are only part of the picture that forms the electric car maker’s ramp in the country. Tesla China, after all, took a bigger role in the electric car maker’s operations last month.
In October, Tesla started exporting Model 3s produced in Gigafactory Shanghai to the European region. The first batch of these vehicles, which started their journey to the port of Zeebrugge at the end of October, was comprised of 7,000 Made-in-China Model 3s. With this in mind, it would appear that Tesla China’s relatively “flat” domestic sales in October were likely not the result of a lack of demand, but rather, a lack of supply.
It would not be surprising if the next few months would see the same results for Tesla China, as Gigafactory Shanghai takes a bigger role in the company’s Model 3 exports. This was hinted at in recent reports from local Chinese media agencies. Citing industry insiders, the reports noted that Tesla China is aiming to produce 550,000 vehicles in 2021, 300,000 of which will be Model 3s. And among this number, 100,000 will be exported.
Considering Tesla’s ambitious 2021 production targets, the company will likely see less than 17,000 Model 3s being sold domestically per month in China next year. And that’s with an insane production ramp that would likely see Gigafactory Shanghai catching up to the Fremont Factory’s 2020 production levels just two years into its operations. With this in mind, Tesla China’s Model 3 sales last month are to be expected, and well in line with the company’s targets this year.