When in China… you can fill in the rest. Tesla (as every multinational automaker) firmly understand where it’s future growth potential lies – China. China is fast becoming the largest overall car market in the known inhabited universe. So it’s no surprise that Tesla will pull out all the stops to solidify it’s footing in China. From it’s recent unveiling of the Tesla China factory which brought Tesla CEO Elon Musk so much joy that he began dancing on stage, to it’s now China focused designs, Tesla knows where it’s future bread will be buttered.
That’s why Tesla has set it’s sights on conquering the Chinese EV market because China is now the worlds largest EV market by sales volume and now home to Tesla’s only other factory outside of the United States. However Tesla is not stopping there. It’s also setting up a design center like the one in Hawthorne which gave us all the Tesla designs we have so far come to love. That is also where the recent unveiling events for the Model Y and the Cybertruck were held.
The design center has been in the works for about a week as far as we know because that’s when during his visit to Tesla’s Chinese Gigafactory to personally deliver the first Model 3’s to customers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about opening a design studio in China and hiring Chinese designers to build “Chinese-style cars.” Whether or not these sketches will make it out of the drawing board and onto Chinese roads is yet to be seen. Also it’s important to note that Tesla expects the Chinese Gigafactory to produce a 250,000+ vehicles a year and perhaps other China/Asia specific Tesla models in the future.
An announcement of the China specific City Car came yesterday in the form of a WeChat post made to Tesla’s official account including a reiteration of Elon Musks claims that plans for a Chinese design and research center are now in the process. It was a announcement and a job post all in one as the post also called for applications to help design “Chinese-style” vehicles and apply to other staff positions within the Tesla China organization. Also attached to the announcement/job posting was a solitary photo showing the above design sketch of what looks like a small or hatchback Model 3.
The proposed China-only model – perhaps a Model C, looks like a combination between the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y. Perhaps it might be the first ever Tesla hatchback model. Unlike the Cybetruck’s very aggressive lines, the Model C’s lines are more softer and natural just like the other models Tesla makes with the exception of the Cybertruck of course. Here’s another design that I found online that seemed to foreshadow Tesla’s City Car announcement.
Musk has a reputation for not just talking the talk but also walking the walk and taking his ideas from 0 – 100 in just a matter of weeks as he has shown time and time again with The Boring Company, Hyperloop, Tesla Tiquela, Flamethrower and most recently the Cybertruck T-Shirts. For Tesla, China represents a real opportunity for Tesla to double or even triple it’s annual sales. That’s why it makes perfect sense for Tesla to design and produce a China specific model that caters to the unique cultural sensibilities and pride of the region.
Every automaker worth it’s salt needs to have a hatchback in it’s lineup. As someone who has lived in Europe and Asia, hatchback vehicles are extremely popular in Europe and Asia, practically everywhere but the United States. So based on the sheer economic upside that having a hatchback in it’s lineup presents to Tesla, my guess is that it will be a hatchback.
Another important clue as to my hatchback prediction is the fact that the design sketch curiously omits any doors. Doors are not a detail that can be easily overlooked as they are as important to a vehicle’s utility and operation as wheels. So it is my belief that the omission of the doors was on purpose as to not giveaway it’s hatchback intentions. However if the City Car turns out to be a 4-door, I would be very curious to know why Tesla even bothered with a new design for China when the Model 3 and Y exists.
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