Tesla China is about to focus on domestic orders, but there’s still lots of cars to export

The first quarter is past its halfway point, so expectations are high that Gigafactory Shanghai will now be prioritizing domestic vehicle orders for the remaining weeks of Q1. As Tesla China focuses on the local Chinese market, however, the company still needs to finish exporting some of the vehicles that it produced for international markets. 

Recent aerial footage from the Shanghai port reveals that Tesla still has to export a large number of its cars this quarter. As noted by longtime Tesla China watcher Wu Wa, it is expected that several more ships would be needed to clear out the electric vehicles that are currently gathered at the port. 

With this in mind, it would not be surprising if Tesla’s fleet of export vehicles is still sighted in the location in the days to come. After this, expectations are high that Tesla China would be focusing its resources on meeting the demand for its vehicles in the domestic market. The EV maker, after all, typically allots its resources to exports in the first half of a quarter before focusing on the local Chinese market in the second half. 

This quarter, however, seems poised to be quite different for Tesla China. Recent reports have suggested that Tesla China would be halting some production at Gigafactory Shanghai until the end of February. The shutdown is reportedly due to upgrades that would be rolled out to the facility’s Model 3 line. The upgrades appear to be quite secret too, with some Giga Shanghai employees reportedly not being allowed on production lines as soon as Sunday. 

A potential upgrade for the Tesla Model 3 in China is quite exciting, especially considering the company’s efforts with “Project Highland” in the United States. “Project Highland” Model 3 units are expected to introduce a number of improvements to the all-electric sedan, such as a revamped infotainment system and updates to the exterior and powertrain performance. More importantly, “Project Highland” is expected to make the Model 3 easier to build, likely due to the use of components such as megacasts, which are used in the Model Y today. 

Tesla’s “Project Highland” updates are expected to be put into production in Q3 2023. 

Watch a video of Tesla China’s export push this quarter in the video below. 

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