Two weeks after Tesla reopened its factory in Fremont, California, the electric vehicle (EV) maker halved the estimated delivery timeline for its Model Y to 4-8 weeks compared to 8-12 weeks just after reopening, leaving aficionados and analysts wondering why the sudden change.
One company-specific reason could be that the EV manufacturer has used the shutdown to smoothen Model Y production lines to a quicker-than-usual ramp-up.
Tesla started delivering Model Y in the United States in the middle of March—just about the time when the coronavirus pandemic hit major economies outside China, forcing lockdowns and crushing demand for new car sales.
Another, more obvious reason for a quicker Model Y delivery timeline could be the fact that demand for new cars, including EVs, stalled during the lockdowns across the United States and some customers may have paused or postponed decisions to buy a car, considering that nearly 41 million Americans have lost their jobs since March.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns have crashed passenger car sales around the world. New car sales in major European markets, for example, plunged by more than 90 percent in April.
In the United States, the picture in April was not as bleak as it was in Europe, although many automakers reported sales at their lowest levels in decades. Dealers and executives hope that prospective buyers will return once they emerge from the lockdowns.
In a sign that demand for Tesla’s vehicles has been weak these past months, Tesla last week cut the prices of its vehicles in North America to spur demand for electric cars now that the two-month-long lockdowns are starting to ease. Tesla cut the prices of Model S, Model X, and Model 3 in North America, but hasn’t changed the price for Model Y.