Case in point: the new China-built Model 3.
It wasn't that long ago when the Tesla Model 3 was experiencing major production issues. CEO Elon Musk described it as "production hell." Although that's all in the past, the Model 3 was and still remains a vital vehicle for the California EV automaker's bottom line. Failure was not an option. And it appears lessons learned from that production hell have been applied locally as well as in China.
Reuters reports Tesla has begun Model 3 production at its new Shanghai factory for the Chinese market less than a year since work got underway at the $2 billion plant. The plant got up and running in only 357 days, supposedly a new record for global automakers in the world's largest car market. Up until now, China imported all of its Teslas. Customer deliveries are now slated to get underway before January 25, the Lunar New Year.
The Chinese market Model 3 is supposedly identical to its overseas counterpart, but it does cost a bit more, beginning at 355,500 yuan, or about $50,000. The least expensive US market Model 3 is a little under $40,000. Another unique aspect of Tesla's new Shanghai factory is that it's the first wholly foreign-owned car plant in China.
But unlike in the US where Tesla does relatively little to no marketing (other than live demonstrations typically featuring Musk), Tesla's Chinese division is taking a different approach. It is offering things such as racing events and showroom parties. While Musk may not favor that type of publicity, he's making an all-out effort to get Chinese citizens to buy his vehicles.
Tesla is currently building service centers and charging stations throughout the country in order to assure buyers they'll be properly taken care of. In fact, Tesla plans to double the number of service centers and fast-charging stations next year. Its after-sales team of 600 members will also increase to 1,500.
While there have been past reports about a lack of service centers and certified technicians in the US and Europe, it's clear that won't be a problem in China. More than likely, the Chinese government is working directly with Tesla to make sure the infrastructure is ready. China's Communist Party has no political competition and can, therefore, take action when it so desires.