Tesla had their best ever sales month in China in September, handing over 52,045 Model 3 and Model Y cars to new owners in the 30-day period.
Showing off the manufacturing prowess, Giga Shanghai was able to produce another 3,853 for export, giving them a monthly wholesale total of 56,006 vehicles.
While the figures are impressive on paper, they really stand out when you compare them to the top 6 Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) automakers.
According to data from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), the next closest competitor was NIO, which amassed 10,423 registrations in the same time period.
XPeng Motors was close behind with 10,380 registrations.
Add in the registrations for Li Auto (7,343), HOZON Auto (7,032), Leapmotor (3,798), and WM Motor (3,159), and Tesla accumulated more registrations than all six automakers combined.
If you are expecting Tesla to report a similar domestic figure for October, they won’t.
During the company’s Q3 2021 earnings call Elon Musk explained Giga Shanghai’s production cycles. He said that production in the first month of each quarter is prioritized for export. Priority for the second month is for “faraway parts of China”, and the final month for “nearby parts” close to Giga Shanghai.
This cycle is perfectly visible if you look at Tesla China’s figures over the year. Each 3-month period starts lower, then rising in the second and third months, a cycle that is repeated each quarter.
This means we will likely see a similar wholesale figure for October as compared to September, but domestic sales will be down before rebounding in the second and third months of the quarter as seen in the graph above.