Tom Zhu, Tesla’s head of China and global vice president, was reportedly given a new position on January 3. Going forward, he will be responsible for the US-based automaker’s global sales, delivery, after-sales and factory production, reporting directly to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, according to Chinese media outlet Jiemian News.
“There were some changes made to the internal organizational structure this morning, but Tom Zhu’s title hasn’t changed and there have been no official internal announcements,” one source said on January 3. Things could still change before Tesla’s board publicly announces the appointment. Previously, Electrek reported that Zhu had taken over Tesla’s sales, services and delivery in the North American market.
According to Jiemian News, Tom Zhu’s current role is reminiscent of Jonathan McNeill, the firm’s former global president who was responsible for international sales, services and delivery. However, Zhu has since surpassed McNeill in terms of responsibilities. “Zhu is also responsible for factories all over the world, which McNeill did not cover before,” said one source. “In addition, Tesla’s marketing department and public relations department will be under Zhu’s management. Zhu is responsible for the business segment with nearly 100,000 employees.”
Reuters reported previously that Tom Zhu has been brought in to troubleshoot production issues in the United States. He was often seen at Tesla factories in California and Texas, cooperating with headquarters to handle various global affairs.
Since then, Zhu has stepped down as the legal representative of Tesla’s used car affiliate, Roadster Automobile Sales and Service (Beijing) Co., Ltd., and Tesla (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., but he still serves as the chairman. Wang Hao, the general manager of Tesla China in charge of sales, has taken over as the legal representative. Sources believe that if Tom Zhu gets a new appointment, Wang Hao is likely to succeed Zhu and manage the firm’s Chinese division.
According to official company data, Tesla delivered 1.31 million vehicles worldwide in 2022, an increase of 40% from 2021, while 1.37 million vehicles were produced, up about 47% year-on-year. In the fourth quarter alone, about 440,000 vehicles were produced and 405,000 vehicles were delivered. In terms of specific models, 1.298 million Model 3s and Model Ys, two of Tesla’s hottest-selling vehicles, were produced in 2022.
Musk has stated before that Tesla aims to increase its sales by an average of 50% every year, and that production and sales will reach 20 million vehicles in 2030. During last year’s Q3 financial report meeting, Musk lowered his forecast, saying that in 2022, Tesla’s output could increase by 50%, while its sales volume may be slightly lower. In fact, Tesla’s production and sales did not reach growth forecasts in 2022.
According to data on Tesla’s 2022 business performance, the gap between production and delivery is close to 60,000 vehicles, while manufacturing is still expanding globally. Specifically, weekly production capacity for Model Ys at the Texas and Berlin factories has recently exceeded 3,000 vehicles.
Tesla is now attempting to achieve sales growth by lowering prices. Since September 2022, the automotive giant has carried out various price reduction measures in China, the United States, Canada, Europe and other markets. On January 1, Tesla launched a new plan in China, saying that customers who receive their ordered cars before the end of February will enjoy a limited-time subsidy of 6,000 yuan ($871). Moreover, if they choose recommended auto insurance options, they can enjoy an insurance subsidy of 4,000 yuan.
Regarding the matter, Huaxi Securities said that Tesla’s dynamic strategy adjustment can ensure short-term upward demand. On one hand, the automaker enjoys the industry’s highest gross profit level and has the technical ability to continuously reduce costs. On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific pure electric vehicle market is almost blank, and Tesla has begun to explore the Asia-Pacific region. According to Huaxi Securities, shipments by Tesla’s Shanghai factory are expected to reach 900,000 to 1.1 million vehicles in 2023, and the firm’s global delivery is expected to reach about 2 million vehicles in 2023.