Data from China Merchants Bank International (CMBI) has revealed something remarkable about Tesla’s operations in China. According to the firm, Tesla China was able to produce a record 87,706 vehicles in October, effectively pushing Giga Shanghai’s annual run rate to over 1.05 million vehicles.
This suggested that Tesla China was able to add to its electric vehicle inventory in China at its fastest pace ever, despite automakers and investors in China bracing for a downturn in the country’s automotive market.
As per CMBI data, Tesla produced 87,706 Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers in Giga Shanghai in October. And since the electric vehicle maker only delivered 71,704 vehicles last month, this left a gap of 16,002 Made-in-China Teslas in inventory. As noted in a Reuters report, this represents the biggest gap between production and sales since the Giga Shanghai started operations in late 2019.
Tesla China, for its part, has not issued a comment about the matter.
CMBI, which is based in Hong Kong, has been relatively bearish with regard to its outlook for China’s overall automotive segment. In a note last month, the firm noted that it expects a slowdown in retail demand in 2023. The firm cited a growing inventory of unsold cars as one of its concerns.
Tesla, however, operates quite differently compared to traditional automakers. The electric vehicle maker sells its cars through its own stores rather than through dealers. Thus, the company is left to hold and finance any inventory that has not yet been delivered to customers. Tesla also typically produces more cars at the start of a quarter before concentrating on deliveries in a quarter’s last weeks. Musk has claimed that the company is working to break this pattern by timing its vehicle deliveries better.
China seems determined to ramp up its retail sales in China this fourth quarter. Over the past weeks, the company has rolled out price cuts for the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover, relaunched a referral program, and offered discounts for inventory vehicles, among others. Gigafactory Shanghai has also remained a hub of activity, with the company exporting large numbers of vehicles to foreign markets.