Tesla is officially producing its first Model Y crossovers at the Giga Shanghai production plant in China, and CEO Elon Musk is hoping to get in on the action with a trip to the facility next month.
The CEO has made several visits to China over the past several years as Tesla has established a presence in the Asian country, which is recognized as the world’s largest automotive market. After travel arrangements became more difficult to solidify due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Musk is preparing to return to China sometime after the turn of the new year. The reason could be to oversee the first production run of the Model Y crossover as the company begins to build the vehicle in China.
Musk was provoked for details about his upcoming China trip by @Tesla__Mania on Twitter, who asked if the Tesla frontman would be returning to show off some more of his dance moves in reference to an infamous routine he performed after Giga Shanghai started delivering Model 3s in January 2020.
The Tesla Model Y will join the Model 3 as the only China-produced vehicles from the California-based company. Tesla started producing and delivering China-built Model 3s late last year, but these cars were only given to employees who purchased them. Model 3s made for the general public didn’t start deliveries until January 7th, an event which Musk was present for.
Giga Shanghai’s preparations for the Model Y began as the company’s construction crews started building the facility’s Phase 2 portion. This structure houses the production equipment that manufactures the Model Y, and Tesla has worked diligently to bring the crossover to the Chinese and Asian markets.
The Model Y is expected to be Tesla’s biggest seller, overtaking the widely-popular Model 3 that continues to dominate EV sales figures in China and across the world. However, the Model Y is beginning to pick up some momentum and broke into the Global Top 3 in October, trailing only the Model 3 and the GM-produced Wuling HongGuang Mini EV, respectively.
Musk has been a frequent visitor to Tesla’s production facilities, and Giga Shanghai is certainly no exception. While the CEO has been confined to the United States for most of 2020 due to travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, he has still managed to make a few visits to Europe to work with local politicians in Brandenburg and engineers at Giga Berlin in Germany. However, China’s market appears to be a big piece of Tesla’s puzzle that could solidify its domination of the ever-growing market.
“I really think China is the future,” he said in 2019.
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