A sudden but welcome tsunami in orders for the Tesla Model 3 all-electric sedan has caused the inventory system in some of Tesla's sales offices in China to crash.
Tesla said it will begin delivering the Model 3 to customers in March. All Tesla sedans sold in China are made in the United States.
Media reports say Chinese social media sites confirm the spike in orders for the Tesla Model 3 all-electric sedan. Social media posts also show strong consumer demand in the Model 3, whose starting price at the start of the year stood at RMB499,000 ($72,000).
In December 2018, Tesla slashed prices for its Model 3, the third cut since November. In November, Tesla cut the prices of its Model X and Model S sold in China by 12 percent to 26 percent.
It seems the frenzy to order Teslas is being driven by these vehicles' much lower prices. Tesla is also offering options to entice more buyers. Earlier this month, Tesla opted to include its Enhanced Autopilot, as standard for all Model 3 purchases in China. This add-on feature previously cost RMB46,300 yuan ($6,800).
Sources said during the past few days alone, some Tesla stores encountered system issues due to the surge in orders for the Model 3. One post said "At least 20 orders per store in a day (weekdays) $TSLA #Tesla #Model3 #TeslaChina."
Another post reported that "Tesla Model 3 sales went insane the last few days in different cities of China."
One Weibo user said her sales representative's mobile phone was receiving notifications for Model 3 orders every 6 to 10 minutes. "During the chat with the Tesla specialist, I observed that his cellphone popped three times with new Model 3 orders in about 20-30 mins. In other words, about 6-10 minutes, there is a Model 3 sold in that location."
The frenzy surrounding Tesla's all-electric sedans grew to such an extent some social media users posted info and photos about cargo ships loaded with the vehicles arriving in China. One post revealed that the Glovis Symphony, "a cargo ship loaded with China-bound Model 3, has arrived at the Tianjin Port.
"Other ships loaded with the sedan, such as the solar-hybrid car carrier, Emerald Ace, are expected to arrive in China within the next weeks as well, as noted in a report from local news outlet CCTV. With these factors in mind, it appears that Model 3 deliveries in China would likely begin very soon."
Despite all this welcome excitement (for Tesla), there is no guarantee Tesla's electric cars will sweep the Chinese market. This market, however, is moving solidly towards the acceptance of electric vehicles.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reported that sales of new energy vehicles such as electric cars soared 140 percent year-on-year in January to 95,700 vehicles sold.
This article was originally published by IBTimes US.