The Chinese government has just registered the Tesla Model Y manufactured in Giga Shanghai, which means that its launch in the Asian country is imminent. In fact, the first units will most likely be delivered before the end of the year, following a similar schedule to the Model 3 in 2019, which began its commercial distribution in December.
The Model Y was the first Tesla model to embrace a new launch strategy: instead of being initially imported from Fremont, the SUV will be introduced in its main markets (China and Europe, in this case) when its local production begins (in Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin, respectively).
Over the last few months, Tesla has been working on expanding the production capacity of Giga Shanghai, which is currently in charge of manufacturing the Model 3 in its Standard Range Plus RWD versions (which, unlike the US model, uses batteries with LFP cells in instead of NCA) and Long Range RWD (currently exclusively manufactured, as Fremont discontinued this model last year).
Even though the Chinese government has registered the model, Tesla still needs a production permit, which probably won’t take too long. Currently, the Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in China; however, the Model Y is very likely to overtake it in the short term, as SUVs are becoming increasingly popular in the region.
Tesla estimates that, when it launches the most affordable variant of the Model Y could reach sales of about 30,000 units per month in China, which would multiply the current registrations of the Model 3 by three. All in all, production will most likely initially focus on the more expensive versions.
BREAKING: @Tealacn completed the filing of MIC Model Y & now it’s listed as registered with China Ministry of Industry & Information Technology. The photo below clearly shows it’s a Model Y made in 🇨🇳 cuz it carries the badge of 特斯拉 (Tesla in Chinese). Stay tuned for updates. pic.twitter.com/cXFUyJET0W— Ray4️⃣Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) November 5, 2020
The Tesla Model Y’s main rival in China will be the local version of the Volkswagen ID.4, which has just been presented. It is interesting to remember that Volkswagen has been the best-selling brand in the Chinese market for years, ahead of both local manufacturers and foreign rivals such as Nissan or Toyota, which also have a significant share of sales.