Tesla Model Y still China’s top premium SUV in March despite Covid headwinds

(Credit: Tesla Greater China)

Despite Covid headwinds, the Tesla Model Y is still performing very well in China’s domestic auto market. As per data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), the Tesla Model Y was the country’s top-selling premium SUV in March, selling 39,730 units during the month. This was enough to place the Model Y far ahead of its rivals in the premium SUV sector. 

The Mercedes-Benz GLC, for example, is China’s second-best-selling premium SUV, but it only sold 12,748 units in March. The third-best-selling premium SUV, the BMW X3, saw 11,231 sales in the same month. This meant that the Model Y outsold both the No.2 and No.3 SUVs in China three times over in March — a month when Tesla was already experiencing the country’s renewed Covid restrictions. 

With such results, it was no surprise that the Model Y was also China’s best-selling premium SUV for the first quarter. As per CPCA data, a total of 74,681 Model Ys were sold in Q1 2022, putting it far ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, which sold 45,037 in the same period. The BMW X3 was in third place once more, with a total of 39,592 units sold in Q1 2022. 

The Model Y would not be able to achieve its feats in China if it was not supported by a dedicated electric vehicle production facility that was ramping its numbers to a notable degree. It should be noted that the 39,730 Model Ys that were sold in China in March represents a 291.4% increase from the 10,151 that were sold in March 2021. The 74,681 Model Ys that were sold in the first quarter also represented a 354.8% increase from the 16,422 units that were sold in Q1 2021. 

The Model Y’s increasing sales hint at the improving output of Gigafactory Shanghai, which is still being optimized today. Giga Shanghai is key to Tesla’s worldwide expansion, as the facility is currently playing the role of the company’s primary vehicle export hub. Unfortunately, Giga Shanghai has remained closed since the end of March due to Shanghai’s stringent Covid restrictions. 

It’s not only the Model Y that is performing well in China. Its sibling, the Model 3, has also shown some resilience in the country’s domestic auto market. Tesla Model 3 sales in March were listed at 26,024 units, placing the all-electric premium sedan behind much cheaper rivals such as the SAIC-GM-Wuling’s Hongguang Mini EV, which sold 41,980 units, and the Nissan Sylphy, which sold 30,240. The Model 3 ultimately sold 33,619 units in the first quarter of 2022, which is quite understandable considering Tesla’s focus on the Model Y. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been very optimistic about the Model Y, noting last year that he believes that the all-electric crossover could be on track to become the world’s best-selling car. “I’d say more likely than not that in 2022 Model Y is the best-selling car or truck of any kind in the world,” Musk said, noting that the Model Y might accomplish this sometime in 2022. This timeframe could be adjusted, however, considering the Covid headwinds currently affecting China and Gigafactory Shanghai. 

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Tesla Model Y still China’s top premium SUV in March despite Covid headwinds
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