Tesla Cybertruck generates massive interest in China despite sales restrictions

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The Tesla Cybertruck embarked on a highly anticipated tour in China on Jan 28th, captivating crowds and creating long lines of more than 2 hours in at least one location as enthusiasts eagerly awaited a glimpse of the futuristic electric vehicle. Despite the positive reception, there’s a twist – according to industry reports from local media Autometric, the Cybertruck cannot be sold in China for certain technical reasons that are difficult to overcome. Furthermore, Tesla has not announced any plans to attempt to overcome any technical hurdles.

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The electric pickup truck, known for its unconventional design and distinct features, has become a sensation in China. Reports from various online bloggers and Chinese news outlets suggest that people are flocking to the tour locations just to see for themselves what all the Cybertruck fuss is about. The phenomenon has sparked curiosity and excitement among Chinese consumers.

Cybertruck displayed on Jan 28th in Nanjing: Credit: Baijiahao

However, amidst the enthusiasm, it’s worth noting that Tesla has no specific plans for the Cybertruck to be commercially available in China. Despite its potential to disrupt the market, the vehicle is not slated for official sale, leaving Chinese enthusiasts disappointed in their hopes of owning one. Elon Musk himself has stated on X (formerly Twitter) that getting approval for sales in China will be challenging.

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The reason behind this strategic move becomes clearer when considering China’s strict technical standards. In China, pickup trucks fall under the category of “multipurpose trucks”, which subject them to various restrictions, particularly in urban areas. Cities like Beijing have implemented stringent limitations on pickup trucks, including restricted access to certain zones and specific time frames for usage.

Cybertruck displayed in Shenzhen on Jan 28: Credit SZnews

The situation has raised questions among Chinese netizens regarding Tesla’s decision to showcase the Cybertruck without intending to sell it. The answer lies in the regulatory challenges associated with defining the Cybertruck as a pickup in accordance with China’s current vehicle management regulations.

However, all hope is not lost for seeing the Cybertruck in China. Tesla, in its promotional materials for the Chinese market, has referred to the Cybertruck as a “赛博越野旅行车” or “Cyber Off-Road Adventure Vehicle,” downplaying its pickup truck characteristics. Industry experts believe that Tesla might be exploring avenues to reclassify the Cybertruck as an off-road travel vehicle in the Chinese market, allowing it to circumvent pickup truck regulations.

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In this light, Tesla’s decision to conduct an extensive tour of the Cybertruck in China seems to be more about flexing its technological and brand muscles rather than immediate sales. The company’s move is more likely due to its efforts in endorsing its existing vehicle models in the Chinese market, notwithstanding the Cybertruck possibly undergoing a reclassification to fit China’s regulatory framework.

Sources: 600km, SZnews

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