For Tesla Thailand, all bumpy roads lead to China

For newly-minted Tesla Thailand, there’s a bumpy road ahead, and it leads back to China.

Tesla began sales in Thailand, just over a week ago, offering its popular Model 3 and Model Y at prices that compete with rivals like BYD. The company staged a glitzy showcase of its plans at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon mall with vehicles to be delivered in the first quarter of next year. Around the same time, Toyota was staging a glitzy showcase of its own electric dreams.

Tesla deliveries in China this November were at an all-time high, but that has done nothing to stop a deluge of news that the company is in decline.

The alarm sounded when Tesla began “efforts to make its vehicles more attractive to potential buyers.” This is an old marketing ploy, once known as “price cuts.”

Tesla investing in US production capacities -
Earlier this month, news media outlets claimed that the Shanghai factory where Thailand’s Teslas are made would be reducing output this December.

Tesla was to deliver 20,000 Model Y in the last three weeks of this year, only half of what its production capacity can offer. Bloomberg also reported that Telsa is reducing capacity as demand in China didn’t meet expectations.

The gigafactory does not usually suspend production at year-end. Sources close to the matter said it is part of Tesla’s plan to cut production of Model Y by 30%. The sources also said Tesla is cutting the average hours from 11.5 hours a day to 9.5 hours, so the onboarding of some new hires has been delayed.

Citing another Tesla employee, Chinese media outlet IT Home noted that the reported halt in Model Y production was not accurate. The denial was notable…

“It’s not true. Why stop (vehicle) production? It’s a rumour.”

Tesla bears cited reports as proof that Tesla’s demand was drying up in China.

Tesla Launches in Thailand, Vying to Compete with China EVs – The Diplomat
Last month, Tesla China sold a record 100,000 cars made in Shanghai, a new high for the factory. Annual sales might reach 750,000.


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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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