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Hot Sales of Made-in-China Models Proves Tesla’s Popularity With Chinese Drivers

By Ding Yi / Jul 12, 2021 03:49 PM / Business & Tech

Two Shanghai-built Tesla models made the ranking of China’s three best-selling electric vehicles in June, again shining a light on the U.S. automaker’s popularity in the world’s largest auto market despite recent setbacks there like a regulatory probe into the safety of its autopilot system.

Last month, Tesla sold 16,515 Model 3s in China, representing a year-on-year increase of 10.4% and making the electric sedan the second best-selling new-energy vehicle model in June, according to statistics from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

Tesla’s Model Y claimed the title of the third best-selling new-energy model in the country, tallying up sales of 11,623 vehicles, compared with May, when the SUV was the second-most popular new-energy model with sales of 12,728 vehicles. It was Tesla’s best showing since the Model Y hit China’s showrooms in January.

The Model Y is the second Shanghai-assembled vehicle that Tesla sells in China, following the Model 3, which the company began delivering domestically in January.

Taking two of the three top spots in China’s best-selling new-energy car ranking indicates that Tesla has not been severely affected by a June decision to virtually recall more than 285,000 electric vehicles sold in China to update the autopilot systems in its vehicles. The move followed an investigation by the State Administration for Market Regulation, which said Tesla’s autopilot systems could be activated automatically, potentially leading to crashes from sudden acceleration.

In May, the Elon Musk-founded company announced the establishment of a new data center in Shanghai to store information collected about local users and their cars, a move seen as a response to Beijing’s stiffening rules on the use of data gathered from Chinese drivers. The announcement also came a month after Tesla was mired in a public relations crisis following a protest staged at April’s Shanghai Auto Show by a Tesla customer, who alleged that the company’s brakes had safety issues.

The Hongguang Mini, a low-cost, two-door micro-electric vehicle made by General Motors’ Chinese joint venture, maintained its status as China’s most popular new-energy vehicle model in June, with sales of 29,143 units, according to the CPCA.

Related: Elon Musk’s China Battery Partner Is Now Richer Than Jack Ma

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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