Waiting times have already been increasing for the Tesla Model 3, and a new production pause likely won’t help matters.

    The city of Shanghai has gone into a COVID-19 lockdown, and Bloomberg reports Tesla has been forced to temporarily halt production at its factory there.

    Originally, the suspension was supposed to be for a day but now production will be halted for four days per lockdown rules. Sources told Bloomberg it’s set to resume on April 1.

    The plant supplies Model 3s for markets including Australia, while the local-spec Model Y – expected to launch sometime in 2022 – will also be sourced from here.

    Waiting times for the Model 3 recently blew out to 6-9 months in Australia, with Tesla also increasing drive-away pricing by between $3-4000.

    MORE: 2022 Tesla Model 3 prices up as wait times are extended

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed late last year the Shanghai plant has overtaken its Fremont, California plant in volume, though production has recently commenced production at a new plant outside Berlin, Germany and will commence at its new Austin, Texas plant in April.

    With China reportedly the company’s second largest market, as well as the world’s largest car market, and demand growing for the Model 3 and Model Y, this lockdown comes at an inauspicious time.

    China has been dealing with its worst COVID outbreak since the Wuhan outbreak in 2020.

    The government has therefore enforced a phased lockdown in Shanghai, locking down half of the city for a mass testing blitz before doing the same with the other half. It’s using the Huangpu River as the dividing line.

    This latest production suspension follows a two-day pause earlier this month.

    “Tesla always insists on fulfilling the main-body responsibility of pandemic prevention and control, strictly implementing all related requirements, and arranging work according to the government’s policy at any time,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.

    The company hasn’t always adhered to government lockdown policies, however.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk defied Alameda County rules in the early days of the pandemic in May 2020 and resumed production at his company’s Fremont, California plant.

    “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he tweeted at the time.

    Musk later announced he was moving Tesla’s headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas, citing the dispute as one of the reasons for the move.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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