On Nov. 1 last year, Tesla invited executives from dozens of China-based automotive parts suppliers to the carmaker’s new Shanghai factory, where its first made-in-China Model 3 sedans were about to roll out. At the event, Roshan Thomas, Tesla’s senior executive in charge of managing suppliers, gave a speech explaining that Tesla needed to continually push down the price of its cars in order to hit big sales targets. He used a chart showing how price cuts had boosted sales in the U.S.
“Tesla needs your help,” Thomas said to the suppliers, according to an attendee.
The message was clear: For its cars assembled in Shanghai, Tesla wanted to have more components produced in China rather than imported.