Tesla is once again shipping cars from China following a three-week closure of its Shanghai Gigafactory.

    Reuters reports the company shipped its first vehicles from China yesterday after reopening the plant on April 19.

    A shipment of 4767 cars was sent to Slovenia according to Chinese media, and a further 4100 cars will be shipped on Friday.

    Tesla reportedly aims to export 300,000 vehicles from Shanghai in 2022, and is aiming for a daily output of 2600 vehicles from May 16.

    A leaked memo seen by Reuters says it’ll initially manufacture fewer than 200 vehicles a day at the factory, below the 1200 daily units it had ramped up to prior to the lockdown.

    Sales of Tesla vehicles plummeted by 98 per cent in China in April, and the company didn’t export any vehicles from its Shanghai gigafactory as it grappled with COVID-19 lockdowns.

    Data from the China Passenger Car Association shared by CNN says Tesla sold only 1512 vehicles in mainland China in April, while production fell by 81 per cent to 10,757 vehicles.

    Tesla reportedly didn’t export any Shanghai-made vehicles in April. It exported 60 in March, a month when Tesla topped the EV sales charts in China.

    The Shanghai plant was closed on March 28, and only reopened on April 19.

    CEO Elon Musk said Tesla has been dealing with an imbalance between supply and demand for some time, and this has been exacerbated by the latest supply chain hurdles.

    “Demand is now exceeding production to a ridiculous degree,” said Musk at the Financial Times Future of Cars conference.

    “We are actually probably going to limit or just stop taking orders for anything beyond a certain period of time because some of the timing [for delivery of new orders] is more than a year away.”

    All Australian-market Model 3s are sourced from China, and the Model Y will also come from there.

    Model 3 waiting times have blown out to 9-12 months in Australia, while Tesla still hasn’t confirmed launch timing for the Model Y.

    The Model Y was certified for local sale by the Australian government in September 2021, and pricing was published by Chasing Cars last month.

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    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 one in Austin, Texas.

    It exported 484,130 cars in 2021 from China out of 936,000 global deliveries.

    Shanghai is in the sixth week of a COVID-19 lockdown, and Tesla has been reportedly operating a “closed-loop” system at its factory there with workers scheduled for 12-hour shifts and sleeping at the factory.

    But even with this system and support from the Chinese government, Tesla is still at the mercy of supply chain issues.

    Reuters is reporting production was temporarily suspended again on Monday, this time due to difficulties obtaining parts.

    Supply chain issues and Chinese COVID-19 lockdowns have affected not only Tesla, but also companies like Toyota and Ford.

    Toyota announced this week it has had to reduce its May production target again by another 50,000 units, while initial stock levels of the Ford Ranger have been reduced, with a leaked dealer bulletin naming COVID-19 lockdowns as the culprit.

    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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