Tesla will wait to expand Giga Shanghai as the United States’ relationship with China intensifies, with tensions reaching peak levels.
According to people familiar with the matter, Tesla has reportedly decided not to purchase a plot of land located next to its Chinese production facility Giga Shanghai. The root cause of Tesla’s decision not to move forward with the land purchase appears to be related to 25% tariffs on imported Chinese electric cars that are imposed in conjunction with already existing tariffs that former President Donald Trump set in place. Two people told Reuters that Tesla intends to limit the proportion of the Chinese output in its global production and that Giga Shanghai will become “a global export hub.”
Tesla had originally planned for Giga Shanghai to produce vehicles for the Chinese markets with no plans to begin exporting the factory’s models to other countries. This changed earlier this year when Tesla agreed to begin shipping China-made Model 3 builds to Europe as demand for the company’s electric vehicles grew. Tesla plans to attack the demand in Europe with a factory in Brandenburg, Germany, known as Giga Berlin, that plans to begin production in late-Summer or early-Fall.
According to Tesla’s most recent Update Letter that was released just hours before its Q1 2021 Earnings Call, Giga Shanghai can produce 450,000 vehicles a year between the Model 3 and Model Y vehicles that it builds at the Chinese facility. “We expect that our Shanghai factory will continue to increase quarterly production output through the year,” Tesla wrote in the Update Letter.
The planned expansion of production figures was set to begin earlier this year when it was revealed that Tesla had plans to purchase a 113.9-acre site next to Giga Shanghai. The land rights’ transfer announcement that was posted on the Shanghai Land Market website in March did not list Tesla by name, but it did list the proposed use of the land as a site intended for “new energy vehicle manufacturing.” Tesla still has plans to introduce a $25,000 vehicle to the Chinese market in several years. Still, it could have used the facility for other developmental projects, like the Tesla Semi, as well.
Tesla ultimately never declared that it was purchasing the land, but new developments indicate that it will not purchase the property. Instead, the company told Reuters that the Shanghai factory is “developing as planned.” There is still land available that is made for manufacturing, but it is currently being utilized for employee parking. The land acquisition may not be over for Tesla in Shanghai, either, as one source revealed that there might be plans to acquire more land for more vehicle production lines at a later date.
Tesla continues to be one of the most popular manufacturers of electric powertrains in China. As a manufacturer, it was the largest exporter of new energy passenger vehicles in March, shipping over 14,170 units to other countries worldwide. Additionally, the Model 3 has dueled with the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV for the top seller spot for over six months.