AFP: Tesla exported only 60 China-made cars in March, a trade body said Monday, with the domestic market absorbing most of its production while virus curbs in areas like Shanghai and Jilin hurt deliveries in the auto industry.
Shanghai is home to Tesla’s multibillion-dollar “giga-factory,” which the company calls its main export hub and has the capacity to produce hundreds of thousands of vehicles per year.
But the factory — like much of the country’s auto industry — has been hit by pandemic-related disruptions.
While Tesla China delivered 65,814 cars at its factory last month, only 60 were exported, the China Passenger Car Association said Monday, without giving further details.
In comparison, the company had exported 33,315 vehicles in February.
Tesla’s slump is part of a wider trend across China, which saw car sales fall 10.5 percent from a year ago to 1.6 million vehicles on the back of strict measures to curb renewed virus flare-ups that have hit logistics and retail sales.
However, the new-energy sector appears to be the rare bright spot, with deliveries of the vehicles jumping 137.6 percent, compared to March 2021, and reaching 445,000 units, the CPCA said.
Despite a chip shortage and high lithium prices, CPCA’s secretary-general Cui Dongshu said China’s share of the world’s auto market has “reached a new high of 36 percent” in the first two months of the year.
All eyes will be on Tesla’s numbers in April, given that its Shanghai factory has reportedly suspended production since March 28 amid the city’s virus lockdowns.
Beijing’s zero-Covid policy to stamp out clusters has been increasingly strained as the country battles its worst wave of infections since the start of the pandemic.
Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio said Saturday it has suspended vehicle production due to hard lockdowns across the country, and warned of delays in making deliveries.