If you order a Model Y in Germany, you will have to wait at least four, if not six months, according to Tesla. This is not only annoying, buyers could thereby escape the long-set state subsidy for electric vehicles. It is only available this year, the date of delivery counts.
The situation in China is very different at the moment. The electric car manufacturer has now reduced the waiting time for the Model Y by half. Chinese customers should have the vehicle at the door in four weeks at the earliest, and in eight weeks at the latest.
The reason for the rapid delivery is the expansion of the factory in Shanghai, which was completed in July. There are 22,000 Model Y and 3 rolling off the assembly line every week. The German factory in Grünheide currently only manages about 1000.
After Tesla struggled with quality and service problems in the important market last year, the group is going on the offensive in China. Company CEO Elon Musk landed a coup: he was the first foreigner to publish an article in a pro-government magazine.
On three pages, Musk describes his visions of the future of sustainable energy, electric cars or Mars colonization and introduces three of his companies: Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink. “A PR triumph,” writes the pro-government newspaper South China Morning Post, quoting a blogger who credits Musk with a “pro-communist mindset”.
In the USA, the article is correspondingly not met with much love. The essay was published in China Cyberspace. The magazine is published by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the People’s Republic’s top censorship agency for the Internet. In the meantime, Musk is calling for more freedom of expression in the US, for example through fewer content rules for the short message service Twitter.
A delicate maneuver, which can lead to consequences at a time of growing tensions between the US and China. “If Musk doesn’t sit in front of a US Congressional investigative committee in a year’s time and be questioned about his relations with China, then I will fall from all clouds,” Kendra Schaefer, an expert at Trivium China, told Bloomberg financial service.
Musk’s charm offensive makes sense from an economic point of view. China is the world’s largest sales market, according to expert estimates, six million electric cars will be sold there this year. Last year, Tesla generated more than a quarter of its total sales in the People’s Republic with $ 13.8 billion. in 2019, this share was only 2.8 billion dollars and a little more than eleven percent.
China is becoming even more important for Tesla
The importance of good relations with Beijing is evident these days. For example, Tesla, together with the Chinese manufacturer Saic, is asking for more electricity for its suppliers, who are experiencing problems at their plants in Sichuan in southwestern China. A similar situation had already occurred a year ago, when suppliers such as Eson Precision Engineering or Pegatron had to stop production due to scarce coal stocks and power cuts.
Such failures hit Tesla hard. After the expansion, the Shanghai plant will be able to produce more than one million vehicles a year, far outshining the previous factory in Fremont, California, which has 650,000 vehicles. Even Grünheide or Austin will only be able to produce 500,000 electric cars in the previously planned plan.
In addition, time is running out, it’s about market share. Tesla can hardly save itself from orders, especially with the Model Y. But competitors such as VW or Stellantis are pushing into the market. In addition, there are numerous new brands such as Nio, Xpeng or BYD in China.