December was a pretty challenging month for Tesla in China, as the company sold less cars than a year ago, despite various efforts to boost sales.
We already reported about the overall wholesale vehicle shipments in China (local sales and export), which - according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA)'s data - amounted to 55,796 units (down 21 percent year-over-year), compared to over 100,000 in November.
* CPCA reports wholesale shipments, not registrations/customer deliveries.
But even more interesting are the results of local sales and export (more on that below).
So far this year, the total wholesale shipments of the Made-in-China (MIC) Tesla Model 3/Model Y reached 710,865 (up 50 percent year-over-year), including over 227,000 in Q4 (up 28 percent year-over-year).
The cumulative wholesale shipments from the Tesla Giga Shanghai plant are estimated at over 1.32 million units (since January 2020) and the current plant capacity might be above 1 million units per year.
Sales in China
According to the new data, last month the company's local sales in China amounted to 41,926, which is close to 41 percent less than a year ago.
This is actually a much bigger drop than we thought, considering the 21 percent decrease in the total sales (local and export). Now we understand why Tesla decided to lower the prices in early January.
Tesla MIC retail sales in China are usually the highest in the final month of a quarter (the first half of a quarter is usually focused on export).
In 2022, Tesla sold in China over 439,770 MIC electric cars (up 37 percent year-over-year). That's a very positive outcome in a difficult year, including lockdowns, production pauses and other issues.
According to the report, last month 13,870 Tesla MIC cars were exported. This seems to be a new record for export in the final month of a quarter and a massive increase from a very tiny export level a year ago (245).
Tesla usually exports the highest number of cars in the first month of a quarter, and then a substantial number of cars also in the second month of a quarter.
The CPCA says that over 271,000 Tesla MIC cars were exported in 2022 (up 78 percent year-over-year). Mostly to Europe, we guess.
Because Europe now has its own Tesla Gigafactory to produce the Tesla Model Y, we are wondering whether there is potential to increase exports in 2023.
Tesla produces in Shanghai two MIC models - Model 3 and Model Y (both in various versions). In December, the Tesla Model 3 wholesale (retail sales in China plus export) amounted to 20,046, while the Tesla Model Y amounted to 35,750.
We are still waiting for the data on local sales in China, which are currently available only through November (see the chart below).
Through November, Tesla sold in China over 112,000 Model 3 and over 286,000 Model Y so there is a very clear disproportion between the two. Consumers prefer crossovers/SUVs over hatchbacks/sedans it seems.