Tesla is set to resume production of its Giga Shanghai factory in China on February 10, following a multi-week-long shutdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Saturday, the Shanghai government said it would coordinate with the companies affected by the virus shutdown to bring production to usual levels as it tries to control the spread of the deadly virus that has already killed 700 in the country, Reuters reported.
“In view of the practical difficulties key manufacturing firms including Tesla have faced in resuming production, we will coordinate to make all efforts to help companies resume production as soon as possible,” said Xu Wei, a spokesperson for the municipal government of Shanghai.
The municipal government would also ask banks to extend loans and to give affected local small businesses and foreign companies preferential rates, and exempt those hit hard from value-added tax.
During its recent Q4 2019 earnings call, Tesla expressed worries that the production of the Model 3 in China will be delayed by 1 to 1.5 weeks as supply chains and communications were disrupted amid the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City, which is roughly 9 hours by land from Shanghai. The Chinese government has ordered Tesla’s Giga Shanghai shutdown until Feb. 9, way beyond the holiday period in the country that was supposed to end Jan. 30, over coronavirus fears. This prompted the electric carmaker to postpone MIC Model 3 deliveries scheduled for February or until the situation improves in the country. Other automotive manufacturers such as Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Daimler, among others were also affected by the order.
According to Tesla China’s VP for External Affairs Grace Tao Lin, delivery could be pushed back perhaps as far back as Q3 of 2020. Tesla’s finance chief Zach Kirkhorn explained that the Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker does not expect a big hit on its finances because the MIC Model 3 only represents a small fraction of Tesla’s quarterly profits.
During the temporary shutdown of Giga Shanghai, Tesla used China’s version of Tiktok to deliver customer support and push useful content to educate interested consumers about Tesla vehicles.
Tesla also offered customers free Supercharging amid the coronavirus public health scare to make it easier for drivers who want to travel away from affected areas.
The $2 billion Giga Shanghai car factory started producing the Model 3 electric sedans 10 months after its groundbreaking in January 2019. It has a current run rate of 3,000 units per week and has an expected production of 150,000 units per year. Aside from the mass production of the Model 3 sedan, Tesla has also launched the Model Y crossover program earlier in January.
Tesla’s battery supplier LG Chem also announced on Friday that it plans to partly resume output on Feb. 10 but its plan is subject to change.