Tesla posted 6,643 new vehicle registrations in China last December, helping push the company’s 2019 total to 42,715. This corresponds to a 161% increase compared to 2018, when the Palo Alto, California-based car manufacturer hit the 16,360 mark in China.
According to the data from China Automotive Information data reported by Bloomberg, the new vehicle registrations in December includes 30 Made-in-China Model 3s, as well as a slight increase from November’s 5,597 vehicles. The state-backed agency based its data on purchases of car insurance.
Seeing the rise in new Tesla vehicle registrations in the biggest automotive market in the world is quite an achievement for Elon Musk’s car brand as China has been experiencing a car market slump in the past two years.
Research firm Piper Sandler recognized the big upside of Tesla in China and it declared recently that the market has been underestimating the potential growth of Tesla in the country.
“If Tesla’s Model 3 market share in the United States can be replicated in China – and if this logic extends also to Model Y – then Tesla’s annual volume in China alone would eventually exceed 650k units,” director and senior analyst Alexander Potter said.
Tesla delivered the first batch of its MIC Model 3 units to its employees in December and made the first public deliveries on Jan. 7, exactly a year after its Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai broke ground. The company has also formally launched its Model Y program in the country.
Likewise, Musk announced during the recent Gigafactory 3 event that Tesla will create a design and R&D center in China where Chinese-style Teslas will be created. The vehicles from the said center will not only be distributed locally but to the rest of the world as well.
Tesla also slashed the price of the MIC Model 3 that resulted in a surge in demand. China-based Chuancai Securities sees the huge potential of the Model 3 as a cash cow for Tesla as it estimates the gross margin of the company for the mass-produced electric sedan to increase to as high as 40%. According to the equity firm, it can achieve this once Tesla improves localization of its parts that will push down the expenses of raw materials to about 10 to 20%.
The Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai has hit a run-rate of 3,000 vehicles per week and will try to hit that goal as it adds more workers to the production line.