China has deployed some serious COVID-19 measures over the last couple of months to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As growing cases were a major concern due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant, China imposed several strict lockdowns all across the country. This proved costly for the automotive industry as the strict lockdowns in Jilin province and Shanghai, where major automakers’ factories are located, were inaccessible. This not only disrupted logistics and put a halt to deliveries but plummeted the retail sales significantly.
The most notably hit were the EV factories, especially for the month of March. Even the global giant Tesla Inc suffered as they barely produced more cars than the previous month. February is generally a low-production month anyway, with the Lunar New Year celebrations.
“EV makers in China produced far fewer cars in total than expected in March, due to the pandemic measures”, said Cui Dongshu, Secretary-General, China Passenger Car Association.
Tesla produced a total of 55,462 units in March, which though is 16% more than February it is still significantly lower. The company had to sell from inventories to support the deliveries. The Tesla Shangai factory had to suspend production a couple of times in March to comply with COVID protocols.
Tesla exports, too, saw a steep decline in March. Tesla’s exports of cars made in China were just a meager 60 units. In normal times the Shanghai factory makes 6,000 Model 3 and 10,000 Model Y cars a week for Chinese, Japanese and German markets.