No halt seen at Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai site
Published: May 13, 2021 08:03 PM
Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows the Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles at its gigafactory in Shanghai, east China. Photo: Xinhua

Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows the Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles at its gigafactory in Shanghai, east China. Photo: Xinhua

Work at Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory is going smoothly, with construction of a number of expansion projects making normal progress, despite media reports that the US-based electric carmaker may stop adding its production capacity in Shanghai.

Reuters earlier reported that Tesla decided to halt a plan to buy land to expand its Shanghai plant, and it refrained in March from bidding on a site across the road from the present plant.

Tesla never declared an intention to acquire the land, although buying the land would have enabled the company to lift capacity by another 200,000 to 300,000 cars, according to Reuters.

Tesla didn't reply to an inquiry from the Global Times about the status of land bidding as of press time. But a visit to the site showed another picture.

A Global Times reporter visited the site across the road from the Tesla factory and found workers there were busy grading the land and laying cement. 

According to a worker on the site, the land is expected to be completed in a month, possibly for parking new Tesla cars that come off the production line.

At around noon, the Global Times reporter went to the dormitory area near the main building of Tesla's Gigafactory and saw many workers returning from the construction site for lunch. 

A couple of workers confirmed to the Global Times that work for existing expansion plans is progressing as planned, with no signs of slowing down.

"Several expansion projects in the park are being carried out simultaneously, and the expansion project for the plant's phase two construction is at the stage of ceiling planking," an 18-year-old construction worker told the Global Times.

"The construction is approaching the end, and the workload has been reduced," said another worker who builds ventilation pipes for Tesla expansion projects.

The reported halt to land-buying comes as the US carmaker has faced a rocky few months in China, with a broadly publicized Tesla user protest at the Shanghai Auto Show and a decline in China sales in April.

Tesla's sales in the Chinese mainland dropped by more than 27 percent in April from March, according to data released by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) on Tuesday. 

The US-based electric carmaker sold 25,845 EVs in April, down 27.15 percent from March's 35,478 vehicles, but the figure was still higher than in January and February.

Analysts said that the overall development of Tesla in China is still on a normal track.

In its first-quarter financial results issued in April, Tesla said that its Shanghai factory would continue to increase quarterly output through the year. The current annual capacity is 450,000 vehicles, and exports to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region continue to progress as planned.

"As long as Tesla can really listen to the voice of consumers, effectively resolve product disputes, and fully respect the Chinese market, it is believed that the current month-on-month decline is only temporary," Feng Shiming, a car analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"The establishment of Tesla as a wholly owned auto factory in China has given Tesla amazing sales and profits under China's commitment to open up to foreign investment," Feng said. 

"However, looking at it objectively, in the process of Tesla's rapid development there have been many problems. It's up to Tesla to take the initiative to address them," he added.