The Tesla Model Y may be new in China’s domestic auto market, and its production at Giga Shanghai may still be in the early stages. Still, the all-electric crossover is already making an impact in the country’s auto segment. In February’s premium SUV market alone, the Model Y managed to rank as China’s fifth-best-selling vehicle, closely tailing formidable competitors from Das Auto.
Based on recent sales data, Tesla was able to sell 4,630 units of the Made-in-China Model Y in February, ranking it just below the Volkswagen Teramont, which sold 4,633 units. The top three premium SUVs in China last month were the Mercedes-Benz GLC, which sold 8,557, the BMW X3, which sold 8,663, and the Audi Q5, which sold 10,529 units in February.
Interestingly, the Model Y closed in on its German SUV rivals in a 28-day month, which also happened to host seven days of the Chinese New Year. Because of this, Gigafactory Shanghai was able to operate for only about 21 days in February. The fact that the Model Y became the fifth-best-selling premium SUV despite these circumstances bodes well for the all-electric crossover.
Tesla China President Tom Zhu specifically noted during a previous interview that the Model Y ramp in Gigafactory Shanghai is following a pace that’s notably faster than that the already-impressive Model 3 last year. For context, the Made-in-China Model 3 started consumer deliveries in early January 2020, and by the end of the year, the vehicle was already being exported to European territories.
If the Tesla executive’s estimates prove accurate, it would not be surprising if the Model Y ends up taking the top spot in China’s premium SUV market in the next few months. The Model Y is a New Energy Vehicle (NEV), after all, and China is rolling out notable incentives for car buyers who adopt green vehicles instead of traditional, albeit luxury, gas-guzzlers.
Also notable was that the vehicles from Giga Shanghai, the Model 3 and the Model Y actually outsold GM’s HongGuang Wuling MINI EV by 5.8%. The Mini EV has proven extremely popular in China partly due to its price, which is only a fraction of the Model 3’s cost. The Mini EV is a fairly basic car for the city, however, with little power, short range, and no airbags.