A lot of Tesla Model 3 vehicles have been spotted coming out of Gigafactory 3 in China, but it doesn’t look like Tesla can officially sell them just yet.
During its earnings last October, the automaker confirmed that it has produced full vehicles at the new factory as part of its trial production:
We are already producing full vehicles on a trial basis, from body, to paint and to general assembly, at Gigafactory Shanghai. We have cleared initial milestones toward our manufacturing license and are working toward finalizing the license and meeting other governmental requirements before we begin ramping production and delivery of vehicles from Shanghai.
Last month, Chairman Robyn Denholm confirmed that Tesla is indeed still looking for a “manufacturing certification”:
We’re working with the local government to get our manufacturing certification, which we hope we will be able to get by the end of the year.
A week later, Tesla obtained its manufacturing license for Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai.
However, it looks like the company is still missing official sale approval for its made-in-China Model 3.
In the meantime, Tesla is accumulating some decent inventory at the factory.
The latest drone flyover video of Gigafactory shows over 200 Model 3 vehicles parked in a lot at the back of the factory:
Based on the visible Model 3 vehicles from the flyover, Tesla appears to have already produced over 200 Model 3 vehicles, and there was a steady stream of new cars coming out of the factory during the filming of the video:
CEO Elon Musk has been guiding a rapid production ramp-up in phases starting with 3,000 vehicles per week at the factory.
It is expected to happen in Q1 2020.
The first made-in-China Model 3 vehicles out of the factory are expected to be delivered to Tesla’s Chinese employees.
I am not sure what the hold up is at this point. The Chinese government has so far been strongly behind the project so I doubt it’s anything serious, but they are likely doing their due diligence with the car before approving it for sales in the country.
If anything, it is giving Tesla some time to try and ramp up production as well as build some inventory.
The problem is that Tesla doesn’t like sitting on inventory for too long because it negatively affects the company financially.
We will keep an eye on the situation to see if there’s any progress, because Gigafactory 3’s Q4 deliveries could have an important impact on the quarter.
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