Düsseldorf According to Tesla, anyone who orders a Model Y in Germany has to wait at least four, if not six, months. This is not only annoying, buyers could miss out on the long-established state subsidy for electric vehicles. They are only available this year at this level, the date of delivery counts.
Things are very different in China at the moment. There, the electric car manufacturer has now cut the waiting time for the Model Y in half. Chinese customers should have the vehicle at their doorstep in four weeks at the earliest and eight weeks at the latest.
The reason for the rapid delivery is the expansion of the factory in Shanghai, which was completed in July. 22,000 Model Y and 3 roll off the assembly line there every week. The German factory in Grünheide currently only manages about 1000.
After Tesla had to struggle with quality and service problems in the important market last year, the group went on the offensive in China. Company boss Elon Musk landed a coup: He was the first foreigner to publish an article in a government-affiliated magazine.
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On three pages, Musk describes his future visions of sustainable energy, electric cars or Mars colonization and presents three of his companies: Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink. “A PR triumph,” writes the South China Morning Post newspaper, citing a blogger who attests to Musk’s “pro-communist mindset.”
Accordingly, the article met with little love in the USA. The essay appeared in China Cyberspace. The magazine is published by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the People’s Republic’s top Internet censorship agency. Meanwhile, Musk is calling for more freedom of expression in the United States, for example through fewer content rules for the short message service Twitter.
A delicate maneuver, which in times of growing tensions between the USA and China can lead to consequences. “If Musk doesn’t sit before a US Congressional inquiry and be questioned about his ties with China in a year, I’ll be blown away,” Kendra Schaefer, an expert at the Trivium China consultancy, told Bloomberg.
Musk’s charm offensive makes sense from an economic perspective. China is the world’s largest sales market. Experts estimate that six million electric cars will be sold there this year. Last year, Tesla achieved more than a quarter of its total sales in the People’s Republic with 13.8 billion dollars. In 2019, this share was just under three billion dollars and just over eleven percent.
China is becoming even more important for Tesla
The importance of good relations with Beijing is evident these days. For example, Tesla, along with Chinese manufacturer Saic, is asking for more electricity for their suppliers who are struggling at their factories in Sichuan, southwest China. A similar situation occurred a year ago when suppliers like Eson Precision Engineering or Pegatron had to shut down production due to coal shortages and power outages.
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Such failures hit Tesla hard. After the expansion, the Shanghai plant will be able to produce more than a million vehicles a year, far dwarfing the previous plant in Fremont, California, which produced 650,000 vehicles. Grünheide and Austin will also only be able to produce 500,000 electric cars in the previously planned plan.
In addition, time is of the essence, market share is at stake. Tesla can hardly save itself from orders, especially with the Model Y. But competitors like VW or Stellantis are pushing into the market. There are also numerous new brands such as Nio, Xpeng and BYD in China.
More: New Tesla plants in Grünheide and Texas “burn billions of dollars”