Investor's Corner

Tesla Model 3 deliveries in China are starting earlier than expected

Tesla recently held a Model 3 delivery ceremony in Beijing, officially setting in motion the electric sedan’s foray into China. With the handover event, Tesla accomplished something very rare — it managed to start deliveries of the electric sedan earlier than the estimated timeline posted by its CEO, the characteristically optimistic Elon Musk.

Tesla’s VP of worldwide sales Robin Ren was present in the delivery event, giving a speech and a presentation about the company and its vehicles. In a statement to Reuters, Tesla noted that the earlier-than-expected deliveries “marked a significant milestone for the market,” particularly as the company has been rather conservative about its timeframes for the Model 3’s push into China.

In January, Tesla noted that Model 3 handovers in China would begin around March. This timeline echoed an estimate posted by Elon Musk on Twitter last November, when he noted that some Model 3 deliveries for China could start in March. The usually bold Musk was even more conservative then, stating that “April is more certain” for China’s Model 3 handovers. 

Ultimately, Tesla deserves credit for expediting China’s Model 3’s deliveries, especially considering that Elon Musk and the company have both struggled with meeting ambitious deadlines in the past. This became evident in Tesla’s struggles with the Model 3 ramp — an experience that Elon Musk describes as one of the most difficult points of his career. Musk has since pledged to be better with his estimates to avoid over-promising and under-delivering. The earlier-than-expected Model 3 deliveries in China indicates that little by little, Tesla appears to be learning the art of under-promising and over-delivering.

Apart from the recently-held delivery ceremony, reports from local Chinese media have indicated that Morning Cindy, a cargo ship loaded with Tesla’s electric cars, has arrived at the port of Shanghai on Friday. The vessel is reportedly loaded with more than 1,800 Teslas, over 1,600 of which are Model 3. The recently docked ship arrived in the country not long after another cargo vessel, the Glovis Symphony, reached the port of Tianjin. Emerald Ace, a solar-hybrid car carrier also loaded with Model 3s, is expected to arrive within the next weeks.

The early start of deliveries in China for the Model 3 bodes well for Tesla, particularly as the electric car appears to be capturing the interest of potential buyers in the country. Just recently, Chinese social media users noted that some Tesla stores ended up having system issues due to the influx of orders they were getting for the Model 3. A Weibo user who booked a test drive for the electric sedan described her observations in one of Tesla’s stores. “During the chat with the Tesla specialist, I observed that his cellphone popped three times with new Model 3 orders in about 20-30 mins. In other words, about 6-10 minutes, there is a Model 3 sold in that location,” 老徐是我呀, the Weibo user, wrote.

While the level of interest for the Model 3 among Chinese car buyers appears to be high, Tesla is still pushing a number of initiatives aimed at making the vehicle an even more attractive purchase. Earlier this month, for example, Tesla made Enhanced Autopilot, which previously cost 46,300 yuan (around $6,800) for buyers, standard for all Model 3 purchases in China. 

Tesla Model 3 deliveries in China are starting earlier than expected
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