In Elon Musk's original plans, the Model 3 and all the other future Teslas produced in the Shanghai Gigafactory should have been sold exclusively on the Chinese market.
Musk stated this several times, also explaining that the construction of that Gigafactory was necessary given the growing demand for Model 3 on the largest Asian market (and of the world, even if something is changing) and it wasn't a move dictated by other reasons, such as, for example, circumventing the economic policies of the US against Beijing.
Plans have changed
But now things have changed. This was demonstrated by the French site Green Drive, which in the delivery note of a Model 3 purchased in France found the clear indication of the origin of the car: “Made in China", precisely.
The move would appear to be dictated by one logistical necessity. Apparently, in fact, the Fremont Gigafactory is focusing more and more on the production of the Model Y (also to solve the often mentioned quality problems) and also for this reason the delivery time of Model 3 are getting longer.
Above all in Europe, where the Berlin factory is eagerly awaited. It should be noted that the recent arrival of the 2021 restyling of the sedan may have influenced this picture in some way.
The Chinese Model 3 is different
Nowadays the fact that a car is made in America or in China doesn't make a big difference anymore: the constructive quality it is absolutely no longer in question.
For the Tesla Model 3, however, the story is a bit different. Why the car is different. In China and America, Model 3s with their own characteristics are produced. And if some differences of assembly are particularly thin (moreover with judgments in favor of Made in China), one substantial remains: the battery. In China, in fact, it was decided to switch to cobalt-free cells, the cheaper LFPs from CATL. There are other differences as well, at least according to what Chinese journalist Yan Chang reported late last year.
- Coating: The Chinese Model 3 should benefit from a more modern paint shop and therefore have a more refined body finish.
- Soundproofing: the car has also been improved in terms of soundproofing, the occupants enjoy greater soundproofing.
- impermeability: on the "Made in China" sedan there are also various gaskets and devices that guarantee better containment of water infiltrations.
How will the market react?
It is certain that different batteries behave different performance (although not substantially different) and as we have seen a different production cost. So, it remains to be seen whether what happened can be considered the beginning of a new strategy global for Tesla, which could also require updates in terms of approval and different reasoning on pricing. We'll see.